17 Little Ways to Feel More Confident

Confidence is a funny thing.

If you have it, you can do just about anything, and oddly enough, you're much more likely to do it well. But without it, even the smallest tasks can seem overwhelming, and if your confidence level is really low, you might feel tempted to quit before you even try. (See also: 15 Ways to Gain More Self Confidence Today)

Suffice to say, confidence is a key component of a happy, fulfilled life.

The problem is, confidence isn't something you can buy. There's no magic pill, no secret formula that can just "poof" all your insecurities away. If confidence doesn't come naturally to you, then you'll have to work a little to get it.

But rest assured, it can be done. And it's a lot easier than you might think.

1. Smile

Sounds overly simple, I know, but there's actually quite a bit of science to back it up. Smiling releases neuropeptides that counteract stress, along with a host of neurotransmitters that lower your blood pressure, decrease pain, fight off depression, and give you that all-over good feeling. In fact, as mood therapy goes, smiling is an all-natural, zero-calorie, no negative side-effect solution that doesn't cost you a dime. So use those facial muscles and smile.

2. Laugh

Like smiling, laughing produces all sorts of wonderful changes in the body, benefiting both your emotional and physical well-being.

So, while you certainly don't want to start laughing inappropriately, you can use laughter to reduce stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and increase self-esteem. Tell a joke, share a funny story or, if all else fails, watch or listen to your favorite comedian and laugh all by yourself. The benefits of regular laughter are profound and cumulative.

3. Stay Informed

It's said that knowledge is power and when it comes to boosting your confidence, that couldn't be more true. When you know what you're talking about, you're much more likely to speak up, interact, and engage with others around you.

Over time, those small doses of positive interaction build up confidence and reinforce your self-esteem.

4. Learn Something New

While we're on the subject of "knowing your stuff," let's also talk about the stuff you don't know, but could. Expanding your horizons allows you to gain a broader and richer perspective of the world around you, which, of course, allows you to better adapt to all those surprises that life throws your way. And when you feel enlightened and prepared, you're much more likely to feel confident as well, something trainer author Wes Doss notes about in his book, Condition to Win: Dynamic Techniques for Performance Oriented Mental Conditioning. He writes, "...and we have found that the best way to develop confidence is through performance accomplishments; in other words, through success."

So, don't just think "smarter." Think wiser, more experienced, and more worldly, too.

5. Meditate

Meditation grounds you and keeps you balanced and focused. It reduces stress, puts fears and worries into perspective, and even allows you to mentally "plan" to succeed, as Oprah learned from the Dalai Lama himself. Plus, it's free and requires no special equipment to work. So what have you got to lose?

6. Exercise

Take a walk, go for a run, attend a yoga class or simply dance in your living room until you can't dance no more. Exercise eases anxiety, relieves stress, and slowly but surely will make you feel stronger and healthier. And if there's one easy way to boost confidence, it's the feeling of strength and stamina.

In fact, exercise offers a whole host of benefits, other than the obvious.

7. Get a Manicure

Or a pedicure, or a massage, or a facial. A nice, long soak in a bubble bath would be equally as good. Pampering makes you feel good because it's an act of self-love. You're essentially telling your subconscious that you're worth the extra effort. And that can do wonders for your confidence.

8. Wear Good Underwear

While others can't see what you're wearing underneath, you know what it looks like, and you'll get a delightful little boost of confidence when you're wearing your best.

So, don't just go for clean — go for nice. Sexy, silky, classic whatever floats your boat. If you feel good putting it on, you'll feel good all day.

9. Dress to the Nines

And speaking of what you're wearing, underwear isn't the only way your wardrobe can boost your confidence. Studies show that the color of your clothes has a direct effect on your mood.

Red is best known as the "power color" for example, while blue can have a calming effect.

Orange can inspire creativity, and yellow makes you feel cheerful.

In other words, if you need a quick pick-me-up, changing the color of your shirt can definitely do the trick.

But let's take that concept one step further. Try putting on the best thing you have.

If you're struggling with confidence, wearing sweats and a t-shirt (no matter the color), isn't going to give you the boost you need. Like wearing good underwear, dressing up makes you feel more attractive, according to a study at Northwestern University. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive or have a designer label. It just has to make you feel good when you wear it.

And when you feel good on the outside, it's easier to feel good on the inside.

10. Make a To-Do List

And then work on checking everything off as complete. Since we've already established that achieving goals breeds confidence, what better way to take advantage of that concept than by creating a to-do list that you know you can complete?

The key is to put items on your to-do list that you can easily complete. Making phone calls for example, taking clothes to the cleaners, paying bills and the like are all tasks that you should be able to do without a great deal of effort or time. And that's fine, because in this instance, it's not the actual doing that gives you the boost; it's seeing how much you accomplished throughout the day.

11. Pay It Forward

Several years ago, someone started the "Random Acts of Kindness" concept with the intention of making the world a better place. And while that's certainly a noble cause, there is a more personal reason to put this philosophy into practice: giving and helping others make you feel good, too.

The good news is, your random act of kindness doesn't have to be anything big or expensive. Sure, you can volunteer your time or money, but you could also hold the door open for someone as you walk into the grocery store, purposely hang back so someone can merge in front of you on the highway, or mow your neighbor's lawn because he's elderly and has difficulty doing it himself.

The truth is, there's no limit to the number of ways you can send kindness out into the world. And the more you give to others, the better you'll feel inside. In fact, generosity is essential to a happy and healthy life.

12. Save Five Dollars

Or 10, if you can spare it, and then relish watching your nest egg grow. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but it sure can make life a whole lot easier. The comfort you'll get from feeling financially secure is a confidence booster any way you slice it.

As American Psychotherapist Nathanial Branden puts it, "Money and self-esteem go hand in hand."

13. Splurge

Okay, yes, I know I just told you to save, but once in a while it doesn't hurt to splurge. Like pampering, buying yourself something nice sends a message to your subconscious — "I'm worth it" — that translates into a confidence boost.

Now, this is different from shopping out of boredom or depression, and of course, you need to be strategic about your purchases, or you'll just end up spending money on stuff you don't really want.

To keep the balance, plan your "love-me" purchases in advance. Pick something you want and then save for it. Make it something really nice, something you'd love to have but aren't likely to buy on a whim. When you've saved enough, you can treat yourself guilt-free.

14. Play to Your Strengths

Pick something you're good at. It can be anything — cooking, crossword puzzles or turning a cartwheel on your front lawn — and do that thing. Then feed and grow that confidence by trying some of the other tips in this list.

15. Visualize

Think of something that makes you nervous or insecure, something that you think you can't do. And then imagine yourself succeeding at whatever that thing is.

This visualization technique might sound silly but remember, your subconscious can't tell the difference between reality and things you've imagined. It only knows what it's been programmed to believe, so if you feed it a constant stream of "I can do this" kind of programming, your subconscious will start to think it's true and you'll feel more confident as a result.

In fact, that's why experts recommend making "imagery" or visualization part of a mental-training program for athletes. Seeing yourself successfully performing a task improves your chances of doing it for real.

16. Make Eye-Contact

One of the quickest ways to "appear" self-assured is to make eye-contact with whomever you're speaking to. This obviously, can be a little intimidating if you're not brimming with confidence, but there's an easy fix for that: Look at the bridge of their nose instead.

They won't be able to tell the difference, and it's much easier to maintain on your end, especially if you're feeling overly self-conscious. Since we've already established that your subconscious is easily fooled, the more you pretend to be confident, the more you'll start to believe that you are.

17. Live

Not just "do what has to be done" but live fully, openly, and with all the gusto you can muster. Try something new, take up a hobby, spend time with friends, and partake in all the abundance the universe has to offer.

Don't just sleep, for example, create a luxurious, soothing environment where you can retreat and slumber like a King (or Queen!). Don't just eat whatever happens to be fast or on sale. Instead, treat your meals as the spiritual experience they were meant to be by being conscious of what you're eating, how it was prepared, and all the fantastic flavors you enjoy when you eat it.

For the most part, we spend a good majority of our time doing things by rote, giving very little thought to the meaning or intention behind it. Change that, and you'll change your entire perspective.

Now, it's your turn… what do you do to feel more confident? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture

Stand up straight!

Kate Luther's picture

Yep, that's definitely a good one... and easy to do, too! :)

Guest's picture
Yingisani Maluleke

I agree with all that has been mentioned above but I think that one's level of confidence is mostly likely to be influenced by their mental state as well as their personality.I am introvert and I completely agree with the making a to-do-list to help me feel more confident.