5 strategies that will help you get through the day
One problem. Not only does this trick hardly ever actually help, it frequently manages to make you even more insecure than you were before, especially if you already have low self-esteem. Since, in fact, “telling someone to ‘not think about a blue tree,’ actually focuses their mind on a blue tree,” forcing your brain to focus on your biggest insecurities makes you very likely to accidentally reinforce your idea of your own insufficiency. Whoops.
So for those times when you really do need a quick confidence boost to get you through the day, here’s a handful of things that can actually help.
Amy Cuddy’s viral TED Talk explains how “standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident, can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain.” Standing up straight, with your chin up, and hands on your hips, for example, for only two minutes, leads to a significant reduction in your stress hormones, and a corresponding increase in testosterone, which is linked to confidence. Her talk is full of fascinating details about how and why this works.
According to “The Link Between Clothing Choices and Emotional States” 96 out of 100 women polled “believed that what they wear affects how confident they feel.” It’s hard to conduct a scientific study on this, since everybody’s clothing choices are so different, but it’s not surprising, and it definitely can’t hurt.
A nice big cup of coffee
Too much coffee can make you jittery, but in general, it’s been proven that “caffeine consumption [is] significantly associated with decreased risk of depression.” When sleep-deprived soldiers where given caffeine, they showed an immediate improvement in their anxiety and self-confidence levels. So don’t feel guilty about your coffee habit–it can help in the short term, and the long term as well.
I promise I’m not telling you to go take a half hour run, but doing some quick exercises, especially regularly, can improve your mood and help relieve stress. Even just getting your heart rate up (think, 10 jumping jacks) might be enough to make a difference.
Although this won’t have same-day results, it’s still worth doing. Writing for 20 minutes a day, for even three days, was found to be enough to show “marked improvement in [people’s] physical and mental well-being.” The researcher who discovered this used the method to recover from a painful divorce, and confirmed his findings with subsequent studies. Deliberately expressing your difficult emotions with words, it seems, can rob them of their destructive power, and improve your confidence.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?