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5 secrets to showing confidence in small ways

I think we can all agree confidence is very helpful in achieving consistent success and happiness in our life. We need to have confidence in order to go for a promotion, have difficult conversations with the people we love, and try new things.

Yet so many people suffer from low self-esteem and self-worth which is no surprise in a society that has made it a sport to judge others -whether it is social media, the shows we watch, or other people in our lives. From a young age, we receive messages from our world about what has value and what doesn’t and these messages get lodged into our minds, becoming beliefs.

However what we don’t ever learn is how to take that power back, how to change those beliefs and increase our confidence. What I want to focus on in this article are the small changes you can make that will gradually make a big difference in your life.

Many people have struggled for so long with low confidence that changing your behaviour and thinking might be uncomfortable. Our brain is hotwired to avoid being uncomfortable, which is why leaving our comfort zones and BIG changes can feel more difficult than it needs to be. This article will give you five small wins that you can do to show yourself that it is possible and just stretch that comfort zone a little.

1. Smile at people when you walk past them.

Why: So our brains are amazing, they filled with little short cuts we can do to take control of our mood and build connections with other people. Our brains will actually release the chemicals (endorphins) are that make us happy and raise our self-esteem when we smile because it interprets that muscle activity automatically as if humour was happening. Not only that but Dr. Murray Grossan, an ENT-otolaryngologist in Los Angeles has also found that it can boost our immune system. So you are taking control of your mood and outwardly projecting positive vibes, and building your immune system.

What it can it turn into: Smiling at other people also makes them feel more confident and raises their self-esteem, helping you make connections with other people. You can begin to build on those connections to form friendships, relationships and a larger support network.

2.Ask for people’s names and use them!

Why: When we talk to people we rarely use their name in the conversation. However, when we do, we acknowledge their identity. We are able to recognise our name from across the room while we are mid-sentence. It is super powerful. Not only does grab their attention. Make them feel recognised but it also shows you care and attentive. It shows to yourself and others that you are comfortable being direct and present. This is about building a catalogue of examples that show those negative thoughts of self-doubt that you are absolutely capable of being confident.

What it can turn into: Using peoples names, creates a level of presence and influence that can easily turn into initiating more conversations, ‘holding court’ and speaking up for yourself. The ability to be direct with a person opens you up to being able to express your wants, needs and boundaries without worry. 

3. Roll your shoulders back

Why: Your posture is so important to the relationship you have with yourself. In a world of slouching, having straight shoulders shifts both your body and mind into a different mindset. According to Harvard University psychologist Amy Cuddy, body language influences how we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us. She did a study that found that so-called “power poses” increased the subjects’ testosterone levels and lowered their levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. Thus helping them feel more self-assured and confident about themselves.

What it can turn into: When you see yourself with great posture, your head held high your opinion of yourself increases. If you make feeling and looking confident a habit you will begin to see your self as a confident person.

4. Speaking slowly

Why: It is pretty well known that when you are anxious or nervous your speech may speed up. So if you make a conscious effort to slow down your speech allows you minimise that anxiety. You are able to breathe better, meaning your heart rate slows down enough to trick your brain believe you are ok. It also gives you more time to think about what you are saying. You can do this by focusing on the speed of your speech and breath, and make a conscious effort to slow down when needed.

What this can turn into: You will be able to put more time into being articulate and deliberate with your words. You can express yourself accurately and calmly, meaning you will be better understood. This alone is a skill that will allow you to feel more in control of your anxiety.

5. Dress to impress yourself

Why: Our clothing massively affects how we feel, PJ’s makes us feel safe and relaxed, a uniform can put us in a specific mindset and a power outfit can make us feel invincible. However, with the boom of fast fashion, society has lowered the standard of what we wear on a day today. It has become the standard to always dress in a ‘relaxed’ and ‘casual’ manner but this generates a low energy mood. It is rare that you will perform your best while in a t-shirt and sweats (unless you are at the gym). Your outfit doesn't need name brands for you to be confident, but it does need to be clean, probably ironed and well-fitting. What makes each person feel powerful and confident will differ but as a general standard lets aim for a look that generates a charismatic and unstoppable feeling in you.

What this can turn into: When you turn to be confident into a habit, what you wear will have less of an effect. You are likely to change your internal self-image into someone with confidence, which will trickle down into all areas of your life - thus creating long-lasting changes

I hope with these 5 steps, you can begin to change some habits, thus giving you a starting point to build long-lasting confidence.

Be patient with yourself as you do these exercises, it can be hard to do, to begin with, but have faith, you got this.