It's time for your year-end review and you know you deserve a raise, but you just can't bring yourself to approach the subject with your boss. Does this situation sound familiar? Maybe you've experienced the same feeling when trying to ask a guy out, or attempting to ask your sister if she'll host Christmas dinner for a change. If you can relate to the above scenarios, it's clear your lack of confidence has been standing in your way.
Here's the good news: With a little practice, you can boost your self-esteem and learn to carry yourself with confidence and poise in any situation – even when you're feeling a little nervous.
"Certain body language cues can send the message that you're either a strong, confident, and secure person, or self-conscious and insecure," says Kimberly Moffit, a Toronto-based psychotherapist. "If you're looking to appear more confident, start by standing with your shoulders back and your chest out. Breathe deeply. Give a firm handshake, look your colleagues and superiors straight in the eye and give your greatest smile. When you're speaking, be sure to use an expressive tone of voice that's not too soft or timid."
Moffit explains that though building confidence takes time and practice, it's more than possible. She shares the below three exercises, which will help you find the inner strength to take control of your life, leading to a happier, more fulfilled you.
3 exercises that will help boost your confidence
Visualize yourself succeeding at whatever task is making you nervous, recommends Moffit. If you're getting ready for a job interview, imagine every moment from walking in the door to leaving the interview going perfectly. "Picture yourself leaving the interview feeling successful, happy and confident," says Moffit. "Cognitive behavioural research has show that visualization prepares your brain for the actual event … it's important that you visualize things that are important to you."
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Write a list of 10 positive and inspiring statements about yourself to remind yourself that you succeed in many different areas. Post this list it in a place where you can look at it every day.
"This small daily reminder might seem trivial (and your brain might even battle the truth of the statements at first) but neuroscientific research has shown us that it takes up to 30 days for the brain to truly accept new ideas. Repetition is key!" says Moffit.
3. Keep track
Whenever you make any sort of progress in your daily life, whether it's as big as a new job or as small as socializing with a new person, record it in a notebook. And the end of the year you will be surprised and encouraged by the amount of successes you're responsible for. "Showing yourself that you're truly capable of completing your own goals is incredibly empowering, and will help you set even more bold and confident goals for next year," says Moffit.
Some key things to remember
"The most important thing to remember is that you are only part of the equation," counsels Moffit. If you're out socializing or in a job interview and things go wrong, it's important to remember that you are probably not the cause of this negative turn of events.
The truth is you can't be sure of what the other person is going through. They may be having an awful day and that’s a circumstance beyond your control.
"By taking some of the pressure off yourself, it becomes much easier to speak freely, behave naturally, and most importantly, be yourself!"
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