It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to believe in yourself.
Posted in , Jun 2, 2017
Self-confidence is a lifelong pursuit for many of us. Traveling through our days, we may encounter self-doubt, fear of failure or other obstacles to the positive outlook we are trying to cultivate. There is no reason to feel stuck in a self-deprecating rut, though. Social science research has identified a number of simple behavioral changes that can have a significant impact on how others see us, and more importantly, how we see ourselves.
1. Sit Up Straight
Posture and mood are intimately connected, as a 2009 Ohio State University study found. The study found that sitting up straight in a chair boosts self-confidence. Participants were college students who were more likely to agree with written statements about their qualifications for a job if they were sitting up straight. “If you sit up straight, you end up convincing yourself by the posture you’re in,” said psychology professor, Richard Petty, who was the study’s co-author.
2. Nod Your Head
Nodding is a positive listening behavior that can make someone feel heard and valued. But research shows that the person nodding gets a self-esteem boost as well. In research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Petty and his colleagues found that people who nodded affirmatively while listening to messages had more confidence in their thoughts about what they were hearing than those who nodded in a side-to-side “no” direction. “If we are nodding our heads up and down, we gain confidence in what we are thinking. But when we shake our heads from side to side, we lose confidence in our own thoughts,” he said.
3. Dress the Part
“Dress for success” is certainly a cliche, but there is a body of research that shows a connection between business attire and a person’s feelings of confidence and power. Michael W. Kraus, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, found in a 2014 study that negotiators who were dressed in formal, professional clothing were more confident and successful than those dressed in sweatpants or “neutral” clothing. Dressing in clothing that fits your lifestyle and embodies your goals can help you be more productive and confident every day.
The journey toward confidence might be a long one, but it is certainly worthwhile. As the poet E. E. Cummings put it, “Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader