look and feel confident
Credit: jnormanpost.com

Confidence is not necessarily an inborn trait that only some people possess as some would think. It’s one of those things that just come with time and experience. Fortunately there are very simple ways to speed up this process without requiring a massive transformation or taking classes. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, you can look and feel confident almost instantaneously with these simple changes.

1. Stand Up Straight

The simplest way to look and feel confident immediately is to stand up straight. A straight posture where your back is straight, chest slightly puffed out (I repeat slightly puffed out), shoulders pulled down and back, and head looking straight will instantly make you look and feel confident. They key is to adapt this type of posture naturally without making yourself look stiff.

2. Use Open Body Language

By opening up your body language you immediately look confident. Think about it this way, people that are insecure tend to be defensive and close themselves off to the world. Confident people on the other hand look confident because they are open and unafraid to embrace uncertainty.

Use open gestures such as open palms (upward facing) when talking, arms open instead of crossed, chest slightly puffed out etc. and watch people start to gravitate towards you.

3. Wear High Heels

This goes for both men and women! People with taller statures are considered more powerful and confident. Seriously, as soon as you put on some heels you instantly feel more confident. Now when I say high heels for men I mean shoes with an elevated heel not stilettos lads. Every inch counts so opt for shoes that give that lift in confidence. Just don’t go overboard to the point you are struggling to walk (ladies).

4. Take Larger Strides

The way you walk can tell a lot about your approach to life. Someone that takes tentative small steps may be seen as timid and insecure. Similarly, someone that takes large steps at a relaxed pace may be seen as confident and powerful.

5. Duchenne Smile

Named after the French neurologist Guillaume-Benjamin Duchenne, this is one true indication of a genuine smile where the involuntary muscles around the eyes are engaged. This is harder to 'fake' as opposed to smiling with our mouths.

Confident people tend to smile genuinely more often. A genuine smile is welcoming and puts people at ease almost instantaneously. Besides this it makes you look and feel more confident around people. The easiest way to achieve a Duchenne smile is to find amusing reasons to smile/laugh instead of reasons to feel defensive.

Whether you are walking to work or having a conversation with a stranger, the power of a Duchenne smile will unlock the invisible doors of your world.

6. Wear Clothes That Fit

There is nothing sharper for a man than a finely tailored suit. Similarly an immaculate dress that hugs a woman’s body comfortably can completely change the way people perceive them. The rule is simple – wear clothes that make you look damn good. If you look good you will feel good and that unquestionably translates to confidence.

7. Slow Down

Insecure people can be frantic and all over the place. Confident people are almost always calm, cool and relaxed. When you physically slow down your breathing, movements and speech, your thoughts slow down allowing you to think clearly and take control of a situation.  

8. Breathe Deep

Taking a slow and deep breath using your diaphragm can dramatically alter your emotional and physiological state. Think about hysterical people and you will know that their breathing is quick and shallow. The opposite is true. Learning to breathe through your diaphragm (where your belly rises rather than your chest) will instantly make you feel relaxed and confident.

9. Make Comfortable Eye Contact

Avoiding eye-contact can be extremely off-putting let alone annoying, similarly too much eye-contact can make you seem like a serial killer. So what is the ideal amount to make you look confident? The rough estimate is about 70-30 (70% eye contact, 30% averted) however your job as a confident person is to gauge the level of comfort the other person has with you and adjust accordingly. It has to be natural otherwise you might come off creepy or too mechanical. Try making eye contact whenever the person is talking to you whilst when you talk take opportunities to avert your gaze by making references to things around you (i.e. showing photos on your phone, looking to the side as you recall something etc.)

It’s not only about how much eye contact you give, it’s also about what expression you have on your face. As a super tip, use what I call ‘smiley eyes’ (Duchenne smile). This is where you make eye contact whilst smiling with your eyes and possibly a bit of a closed lip smile. It immediately makes your eye contact warm and inviting giving the impression that you are confident and alluring.

10. Use a Deep Resonant Voice

Speaking using the lower register of your voice can instantly make you more confident and respectable. By lowering the pitch of your voice you create a deeper, more resonant voice that commands rather than questions.

11. Create Your Own Personal Haka

Anyone that has seen the traditional ancestral war cry of the Māori people in New Zealand can attest to its power and ground breaking fierceness.

Having your own personal haka is like having a shot of adrenaline on a lazy Sunday afternoon. You go from zero to hero in a matter of seconds. What’s important is to find your own unique ways of getting you supercharged, whether going absolutely nuts on air guitar whilst bringing the roof down, slapping yourself in the face for 10 minutes straight or screaming your lungs out at a teddy bear, the key is to do something that engages and revs up your confidence engine.

12. Have Victory Poses

There is a strong interchangeable link between your physical state and your emotional state. For instance, if you are feeling angry you might be physically tense with fists clenched (I use ‘might’ because everyone expresses anger differently). Similarly, if you physically clench your fist and tense your body you will feel anger. Now the question is which physical poses can make you feel confident?

Think about sporting champions after a victory and you will often see them raising their arms right above their head (in a ‘V’ sign), faced towards the sky and chest opened. Apart from victory poses there are many other physical poses you can use to instantly boost your feeling of confidence so find out what works for you.

As a simple example, stand up straight, raise your hands as if you won the lottery (victory pose), and scream out "Yeah!" - hold it for ten to fifteen seconds and repeat. Now see how you feel.

13. Surround Yourself With Empowering Friends

Having friends that empower you is a great boost of confidence if you’re feeling particularly insecure. The empowerment comes from the strong bond forged over time, the level of understanding and endless inside jokes and the amazing ability to make you do things you normally wouldn’t do by yourself.  The key word here is ‘empowering’ – you want friends that make you feel better about yourself rather than constantly trying to prove your worth.

14. Find a Loving and Support Partner (If Possible)

Alongside having empowering friends a loving and supportive partner can give you the confidence boost no one else can give. The deep emotional bond can make you discover sides of yourself you didn’t even know existed. It can bring out passion and conviction that overcomes any obstacle that may be in your way. Just make sure you know the reason why you do the things you do for them.

15. Get an Exercise High

We all know that exercise can make you look and feel confident by reshaping your self-perception of yourself however I’m talking about the ‘high’ you feel after exercises. Like a runner’s high you can achieve a ‘high’ from doing any type of exercise. The release of the feel good neuro-chemicals endorphins, serotonin, adrenaline and dopamine after exercise dramatically improves your mood. The rush of an exercise high makes you feel almost invincible making it a great reason to stay fit and feel confident all the time.

16. Tweak Your Diet

It’s simple, you are what you eat. If you eat crap you will feel like crap and you will look like crap (except for those lucky few that are immune to unhealthy food!). By simply tweaking your diet you can literally dictate the way you feel. Different foods have different nutritional qualities and that affects your mood and physical health. Aim for nutritious and wholesome diet that you can enjoy to get a positive confidence boost in your mood. Your body will thank you for it.

17. Be Prepared

According to the Pareto principle 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. By maximizing your effort prior to anything you do in life you can maximize your results. So how does this relate to boosting confidence?

Confident people are confident for one particular reason – they know what they are doing. Even if they don’t know what they are doing, they have a vision of what and how they want to achieve a particular result.  The more time you take to prepare for anything in life, whether it’s an event, task or embracing opportunities, the more confident you will be in maximizing results.

18. Accept Yourself

O.k this might not necessarily be an instant boost to confidence however if you manage to accept who you are as a person you will see the world in a totally different light. If you aren’t comfortable with your own identity do you think people would be comfortable being around you?

Learning to accept yourself is probably the most powerful way to feel and look comfortable ALL the time! When you accept yourself you don’t care what others think about you – they can choose to accept you or reject you either way it doesn’t matter to you. You start to flow with the world rather than against it. Everything just becomes easier because you aren’t trapped in an abyss of obscured self-identity. You stop trying so damn hard to fit in, appease people and prove your worth simply because you are what you are.

Every single molecule of your existence starts to radiate confidence and that is itself is true power.

Everything to Gain

In a world shrouded with uncertainty people flock to those who have clarity of vision about themselves and about the world. Your ability to influence and change your quality of life and others stems directly from your level of confidence.  

Being confident doesn’t mean you are changing who you as a person. In life you constantly grow and learn, a part of that process is becoming more comfortable with who you are and the world around you. Confidence is simply a refinement process of your character rather than a radical transformation of your core personality.

So why not give it a go and see how you feel and look? You’ve got nothing to lose except your insecurities.

How to Feel Confident: Simple Tools for Instant Confidence
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