Confidence boosters are quick ways to pull yourself out of a dip, whether you’re nervous about a first date, preparing for a job interview, or experiencing a bit of a knockback elsewhere in life.
Even the most outgoing people experience low points in how they feel, their view of themselves and their abilities, so these tips are not one-way tickets to being confident but if practiced consistently, they can be really useful tools in your arsenal.
So while these could certainly help if you want to learn how to be more confident in the longer term, you may need them more than once. From getting out and moving to utilizing the best body confidence quotes effectively, here two confidence coaches offer their best tips. Find the ones that work for you and have them up your sleeve ready to go whenever you experience a low.
Confidence boosters to try
1. Practice an affirmation
While boosting your self-esteem isn’t just as simple as telling yourself to be more confident, confidence affirmations can go a long way to not only improving your current situation but helping you through the next dip too.
“I am enough. Tell yourself this every day when you get up. Have it written on your mirror or put it in your phone. Remind yourself every day that you are enough,” suggests love coach and host of the Later Dater podcast (opens in new tab), Lucy Cavendish. “If you get into a routine of telling yourself this every day and every evening, you change the neural pathways in your brain to strengthen this positive message and override other, possibly negative, messages that dampen down your self-worth.”
It’s no secret that getting up and moving improves your mood. Largely this can be attributed to the fact that exercise increases endorphin levels, a hormone produced in the pituitary gland that’s famous for bringing on feelings of euphoria, happiness, and other positive moods during a surge.
But it’s not only the endorphins that work wonders on our brains when we work out. Research from the Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education (opens in new tab) in Warsaw suggests that the increase in body temperature, improved blood circulation in the brain and its impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis plays a very significant role since a combination of these also improves our stress response.
Not only are we able to know how to deal with stress more effectively in the moment, but the levels of cortisol in our bodies are reduced too, so we’re less likely to feel its nasty symptoms in the first place.
The review also found, interestingly, that certain types of exercise are more likely to bring on the effect than others. Swimming, jogging, cycling, and walking at either low or moderate-intensity are the top four to go for, and strength training exercises using large muscle groups could also be useful.
3. Turn up the music
We all have that one song that gets us up and dancing, whatever the time or place. Just as dancing itself can have a huge impact on our mood and make us feel better about ourselves, a study from Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (opens in new tab) says, as can the music itself.
It does so, the research explains, as music tends to bring people together, and elicit feelings of reward and empathetic emotions towards others, all of which work to albeit-momentarily increase our confidence and self-esteem.
“Find that tune,” says Lucy. “One that really lifts you up and put it on. Blast it out in your car, in your bedroom, or on your headphones. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as it makes you want to stand up tall and strut your stuff. Then do precisely that.”
4. Change your outfit
If you look good, you'll feel good. You may have heard of dopamine dressing before and its twin, confidence dressing is very similar. It works on the basis that you wear clothes that you think you look great in, you embody that emotion.
“Always wear something you feel fantastic in,” Lucy agrees. “If you like wearing jeans and a crisp white shirt, go for it, but always make the most of yourself. Get your hair done and paint your nails if that’s what you like.”
5. Look over feedback
If a knockback at work has got you feeling low, executive coach and confidence expert Kate Hill (opens in new tab) suggests that looking over responses from your employer, customers, and other people you work with could be a way to ignite your spark.
“This includes performance reviews, compliments from customers, feedback from line managers and colleagues,” she says. “Focus on the facts of how well you do your job rather than any negative self-talk.”
6. Log out of social media
The impact of social media and the constant encouragement to compare ourselves to others, even if their lives are nothing like ours, unsurprisingly doesn’t do wonders for our confidence.
A recent review from Western Sydney University (opens in new tab) collated many studies on the link between our social media use and self-esteem, finding that with more use of social media came higher reported levels of lacking confidence and low self-esteem.
Tellingly, image-orientated sites scored the worst in terms of wellbeing issues like reduced satisfaction with body image, resulting in lower confidence, and a higher need for participants to stay connected to the site. There were also links to more cases of depression, anxiety, and poor sleep.
So, if you’re finding that you’re low in confidence or feeling in any way negative about yourself, maybe take a break from scrolling for a bit.
7. Write down one thing you're proud of
When we're lacking in confidence, we often feel unsure of our abilities and our position in life. This tends to affect every area of our life, especially work, Kate says.
A lack of confidence manifests in a lack of action, she explains. "Not speaking up in meetings, not volunteering to take up interesting opportunities, lacking your usual level of enthusiasm and motivation, and delivering work late or of poorer quality than usual are all signs."
Just writing down one thing that you're proud of can work towards changing this though. “Whether it’s a project completed, a spelling mistake spotted before going to print, winning a piece of business, or making a great cup of tea, write down one thing you’re proud of whenever you’re feeling low in confidence," says Kate.
8. Be your own bestfriend
Sure, this sounds a little cheesy but it really works: think of how you would advise a friend of yours if they came to you with the same situation.
“Establish exactly what it is that you’re fearful of and think what advice you would give a friend who is worried or lacking confidence over the same thing,” suggests Kate. “Sometimes we speak to ourselves unkindly when we wouldn’t take to someone else in the same critical way.”
9. Step back from the situation
Often when we feel nervous, we forget to look outside ourselves. Stepping back and remembering that you’re one person experiencing one situation is a good way to bring yourself back to reality, Lucy says.
“Remember that everyone else is probably just as nervous and lacking in confidence as you are,” she says. “Often we feel everyone is judging us negatively but, the truth is, most people are so busy in their own lives and problems that they are actually not paying us that much attention at all.”
How to boost confidence for a first date
Getting in the groove for a first date, whether it's with someone from one of many dating sites or with someone you really like, is all about planning in advance. Have some ideas ready to go for both what you could do on the date, what you want to talk about, and you could plan what to wear on a first date in advance, coach Lucy says.
“Make sure you are doing something maybe a bit out of the ordinary. If you go for a dog walk, you can always talk about the dogs. Or go for a picnic, paddle boarding morning, or visit an art gallery, basically anything that takes the pressure off, sounds fun, and gives you and your date something to bond over,” she says.
Then think about what subjects you have in common, or could have in common. “Have a few conversation starters up your sleeve if it’s a date. Ask them about their interests or the top five most exciting things they’ve ever done, or if they were an animal, country, color etcetera, what would they be? Be interested in their response, have an interesting answer in return, and it will be a blast.”
While confidence issues are common when it comes to dating, always remember that people are drawn to confidence, Lucy adds. “They feel safe with you and want to be around you. If you radiate confidence, your date will radiate it back. So, the old adage ‘fake it ‘till you make it’ works really well when it comes to dating,” she says.
A digital health journalist with over five years experience writing and editing for UK publications, Grace has covered the world of health and wellbeing extensively for Cosmopolitan, The i Paper and more.
She started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness. Everything from the best protein powder to sleep technology, the latest health trend to nutrition essentials, Grace has a huge spectrum of interests in the wellness sphere. Having reported on the coronavirus pandemic since the very first swab, she now also counts public health among them.
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