10 ways to Boost Confidence

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Don’t you want to bump up your confidence? Check out these ways, right from the experts’ desks, to make you feel great about yourself.

1. SMILE

Yes! I know this sounds so cliché!

“There’s lots of research that suggests if you smile, even in a fake way, it will indirectly lift your mood,” which makes you feel safe and relaxed, says Nancy Etcoff, clinical instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and author of Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty.

2. STOP WAFFLING

“When people have low self-confidence, they tend to overanalyze everything,” says Marshall Goldsmith, an executive coach and author of Mojo (Hyperion). Should I do this, should I do that…it gets paralyzing. “Making a big decision will make you feel stronger and more capable,” he says.

3. MEDITATE

People who meditated at least five days a week improved their self-acceptance in a study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Here’s how it worked: They sat quietly, paid attention to their breathing, and thought compassionately about themselves or someone else.

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4. STOP APOLOGIZING

Spend one 24-hour period without unnecessarily saying, “I’m sorry.” “People often say they’re sorry when they’re feeling insecure,” says Judith S. Beck, director of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research.

5. STEP AWAY FROM THE MIRROR

When women spend more time on their appearance than on other things, they’re less happy, according to a study at the University of California, Berkeley. We’re not saying you can’t care about your looks—just that going overboard can distract you from other facets of your life.

6. REWARD YOURSELF

“Give yourself credit for small, daily accomplishments,” says Beck. “Don’t wait until a project is finished.” One way: Make a list of what you have done (not what you have left to do).

7. RECOVER FROM FAILURE

Defeat is inevitable, so accept that it will happen occasionally. “Know that you will make bad decisions and you won’t succeed at everything,” says Goldsmith. The fastest way to get over it? Focus on the next challenge.

8. WORK OUT

“Even just one trip to the gym increases positive feelings about your body,” says psychiatrist Laura Berman, author of The Book of Love (DK Publishing). When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

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9. DON’T FREAK OUT ABOUT YOUR MISTAKES

Don’t be hard on yourself. “People are much more forgiving than we imagine them to be,” says Mark Leary, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and author of The Curse of the Self (Oxford University Press). “People may not stand up and cheer in the aisles when you give a speech, but no one else will notice if you flub a line or lose your place. It’s going to be far worse in your mind than in anyone else’s.”

10. ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE

Believe in yourself. “Don’t allow yourself to think that you’re not good at a certain activity,” says Goldsmith. Instead, tell yourself that you really want to learn and overcome all difficulties —it will make the whole thing much more enjoyable.

There are numerous other ways! Share your tips!

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