Confidence: Highly coveted, yet often elusive. We dedicate time and energy to cultivating the feeling so we can tap into it when we need it most: at work, in business meetings, on dates, during tough conversations. Fortunately, there are a few science-backed tricks to get us there (even when we totally don't feel it).
If you're feeling less-than-stellar, these simple, actionable tips will help you fake it 'til you make it:
For starters, stand tall.
Tall, correct posture is the hallmark outer sign of confidence -- and research shows standing up straight will help you feel it on the inside, too. A study published in the journal Psychological Science showed that a tall, expansive posture helps you act and feel more powerful than more drawn-in stances. As social psychologist and body language researcher Amy Cuddy explains in her TED Talk, your posture can also increase confidence-boosting testosterone in the body and be a potential indicator of success.
Dig out that old rap album.
Getting ready to request a raise or ask someone out on a date? Just press "play." Researchers from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University found that listening to bass-heavy tunes may have the power to make you feel more confident.
Recall a time you were powerful.
Making everyone laugh in your best man speech, nailing that job interview, publishing a well-written piece -- whatever it is, those small moments of confidence can make an impact when you're not feeling your best. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, channeling a moment when you were genuinely captivating can make you feel (and as a result, act) more confidently. Reviewing your credentials and accomplishments by looking at your resume also may do the trick, TIME reported.
Indulge in your morning ritual.
Those first few seconds when you put yourself together in the morning aren't just crucial for starting your day -- they can bring a surge of self-confidence, too. And while the whole concept may seem more vain than valuable, there's still something to be said for that grooming ritual if you turn it into a mindfulness opportunity (find the simple way to do it here). More confidence and calming thought awareness? We'll take it.
In that same vein, choose your outfits wisely.
Chances are you've heard the old adage to "dress for success" -- and there's a reason these cliches have longevity. Studies suggest that what you're wearing can have a direct effect on how secure and powerful you feel. Researchers from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University found in an experiment that those who wore white doctor coats (in other words, a piece of clothing associated with a certain quality -- in this case, care and intelligence) performed better on the experiment's administered test than those who did not.
Channel your favorite celeb.
Often we think of Hollywood stars like George Clooney, Lupita Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence as people who make us feel inadequate (That hair! Those eyes! That smile!), but this exercise can actually help do the opposite. A study published in the journal Personal Relationships found that when people with waning self-esteem wrote down positive qualities they see in their favorite same-sex celebrities and themselves, they felt much more compelled to become their best self. Besides, it takes a special (and awesome) kind of person to have J. Law's sense of humor or George Clooney's collected demeanor.
Stretch those muscles.
Sometimes all it takes is a good, lengthening stretch to feel like your happiest self. Stretching your muscles can lead to good posture, better blood flow and ultimately more confidence, SELF magazine reported. Not to mention certain stretches can help calm you down. Time to lift those hands up in the air. Ahhh.
Brush up on your Spanish.
Learning a new language or sharpening other cognitive skills (re-learning algebra or taking up an art class, anyone?) can boost your life satisfaction in a similar way to a pay raise, according to a study published by the UK's Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. If you need us, we'll be over here practicing our conjugations.
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