Come out of your shell and learn how to believe in yourself with these simple hacks
Ever wished you were a bit braver, and had less self-doubt? A survey by Bach Original Flower Remedies (bachremedies.co.uk) revealed that 53 percent of us Brits lack confidence, and this can be a key factor in stopping us from going for what we want. While we can’t click our fingers and increase our boldness just like that, fortunately there are lots of ways to train our minds to have more faith in ourselves and our abilities. So, we called in the experts to reveal their top confidence-boosting tips that you can start today.
“Be clear about which element of your life you want to grow your confidence in,” says sports philosophy consultant Dr Josephine Perry (performanceinmind.co.uk). “Break it down into what it would take for you to feel confident – either completed actions, or skills you’d need to master. Write the most important ones down on a sheet of paper and draw an empty box next to each action or skill. Each time you’ve completed one, record the date in the box. Over time, you’ll create enough evidence to make you feel really confident and competent in that area.”
“We know this is easier said then done, but it’s one of the best ways to boost your self confidence,” says David Brudö, CEO and co-founder at personal development and mental wellbeing app Remente (remente.com). “Instead of fixating on one thing you don’t like about yourself, focus on the things that you do like.” Pick a feature or personal trait that you admire about yourself and embrace it.
“One of our key sources of confidence comes from how we perceive others see us,” Dr Josephine says. “Research in sport has shown that simple things such as how we stand can make us appear more fearless to others – so hold your head high, put your shoulders back and have a focused or neutral face. Additionally, studies have found that colours make a difference too. Even when randomly assigned, athletes wearing red, which is considered to be powerful and dominant win more than those dressed in blue, which has connotations of being logical and cool. One final clothing tip – black comes across as being threatening or intimidating, so think about what image you want to give off before picking your outfit!”
It’s easy to get caught up with anxious feelings about what our peers think of us, but it’s time to let it go. “A lot of selfconsciousness that we have comes from worrying about how other people perceive us,” David explains. “However, just as you won’t necessarily pay attention to everyone around you, others are very unlikely to notice that you didn’t do your make-up perfectly, or that you were a bit quiet in the office meeting. Once you stop concerning yourself with how other people see you, you’ll find that you obsess over your flaws less.”
“This is a short phrase or even just a word that reminds you of your goal or motivation and helps you achieve whatever you’ve set out to do,” Dr Josephine says. It works best if it’s personal to you and something that really matters. If it gives you a lump in your throat thinking it, then, as you repeat it, the thoughts it invokes will be strong enough to give you the confidence to stay focused on your goal.”
“It’s important that your definition of yourself isn’t rooted in others,” says David. “Instead, focus on finding a new hobby, or something that you’re good at – whether that’s succeeding at your job, being a great friend, or supporting your family – and let that be the thing that represents you.”
Don’t worry – this isn’t as intimidating as it sounds! “Every time you do something that you’re proud of or something that highlights a strength you have, write it down, either in your diary or on the notes section or your phone,” suggests Dr Josephine. “Personally, I like it to be in a physical form so I suggest using pieces of paper and placing them in a little jar. Whenever you need a boost, pull one out. This way, you’ll see, in your own writing and words, a really good reason to be confident in yourself.”
“Part of the reason behind self-consciousness is a lack of control,” David tells us. “Once you identify the source of what makes you feel self-conscious, you need to decide if it’s in your power to change it. If it is an inability to stick to deadlines, distractions should be minimised. If the issue is outside of your power, you should accept that you can’t change the situation, and instead concentrate on any positive action you can take.”
“It’s interesting that when we start obsessing over our appearance, we also neglect the very things that make us look and feel better, such as eating well and working out,” says David. “It’s important that you carry on eating properly and doing some exercise (in moderation, not excess), as that will boost your endorphins and improve your quality of sleep, among other things.”
“If there are certain things that leave you feeling unhappy, both mentally and physically, then limit your exposure to these things,” David recommends. “For example, if large meetings stress you out, try to book one-to-ones instead, and always come prepared. Sit down and take note of the situations that make you anxious, and make a plan on how to improve them – this is a great way to instantly feel better and more confident.”