5 Small Practices for Big Confidence
Everyone recognizes that confidence is attractive. Subtle, genuine confidence projected outward in a healthy body is magnetic. We know we should feed our bodies nourishing food and take time to exercise and meditate each day. We do this not only to feel great but to look appealing as well. In order to be our best, we must commit to exuding self-confidence.
 
Confidence can be cultivated in a myriad of ways, and certainly there is no shortage of books written describing lengthy routines to build self-esteem and take over the world. But with just five simple habits and a little effort, you can empower yourself immediately in every situation. As a bonus, these five will also seriously improve your relationships as well. Excited about putting your best self out there? Try this today:
 
1. Make eye contact: Make and maintain eye contact throughout conversation, both when you are talking as well as listening. Too often, at least one side of the discussion appears distracted, which is frustrating for the other person. Eye contact says you are listening, you are engaged, and the other person is important and worth your time. Even if you are not feeling that in the moment, you will convey respect and you both will feel good about your interaction. This will create a confidence boost in you every time you communicate in person.
 
2. Listen actively: Similar to above, active listening creates a strong bond with the other person, and of course this benefits your relationship. Make eye contact, nod your head and repeat back what the other person says every so often to underscore your focus. This effort will ensure you won’t miss out on the important information, feelings, facts, names, dates or other information that we don’t hear when we are not engaged in the discourse. When you remain present in the moment and truly listen, others will gravitate towards you because you make them feel good about themselves. Active listening will not only make you appear smarter but well-liked as well. A big confidence booster!
 
3. Maintain good posture: Stand tall, with your shoulders down and back. Create a long spine and hold your head straight, eyes gazing forward. When you sit, sit tall rather than slumping, feel your sits bones making contact with the chair. This is especially important in a meeting or presentation when you may be nervous. Good posture can help you overcome nerves and allows you to breathe better. It conveys the message that you are awake and present, as well as interested in the subject matter. Good posture subtly states your confidence, even if you are not feeling it in that moment. If you look confident, others will believe it.
 
4. Breathe slowly and deeply: Yoga teaches us to be aware of our breath. Take this practice off the yoga mat and out into the world with you. Deep belly breathing, rather than breathing out of the chest, will calm your nerves, slow a racing mind and pulse, and allow you to focus in the moment. Others will notice your state of calm. Deep breathing coupled with good posture projects an incredible air of confidence. As you project it, your mind will begin to internalize it.
 
5. Smile: Does this one sound easy? It really is! Smiling triggers an automatic response in our brains to get happier. Don’t wait for a smile to happen by itself. Our days are hectic and busy. Sometimes we get overwhelmed, frustrated, or feel underappreciated by family and coworkers. A smile does not always spread across our lips naturally for hours at a time, which perpetuates our negative emotions. Allow yourself to smile widely and often throughout the day, even if you don’t feel like it. Try this: the next time you are alone and not feeling your most fantastic, make yourself smile, not just with your lips but all the way up to your eyes, as if you were looking at an adorable baby. Hold it for 5 seconds and feel what it does to you. Both your happiness and confidence levels will be immediately improved.
 
Make it manageable: Focus on one of these a day for the next week and see how you do. Post sticky notes on your bathroom mirror and computer screen to remind you. Text yourself or create a daily calendar reminder to practice. Make confidence building your priority and watch yourself soar! 

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About the Author
Dr. Colleen Carroll is a national educational leadership consultant specializing in working with children and adolescents in preparation for life's big events, such as college interviews, sports team tryouts and religious ceremonies. Youth she works with develop a sense of confidence and assertiveness, as well as skills such as communication, goal-setting and financial savvy. She is passionate about teaching children and adolescents to cultivate leadership skills at a young age, so that they can gain mastery early in life and get ahead as they prepare for advanced challenges upon high school graduation and beyond. She speaks on this subject at conferences and presents workshops upon request. She can be reached on Facebook here.
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