Ways to Feel More Confident

© Provided by Mental Floss
© Provided by Mental Floss

One way to make a good first impression is to go into a situation with your chin up, head held high, exuding confidence. New research says we judge how confident others are in just .2 seconds, and if you’re feeling weak or insecure, your voice will give you away almost immediately. Here, a few scientifically proven ways to boost your self-esteem.

1. Get bigger
In nature, one way to assert dominance is by becoming physically larger than an opponent. Alpha personalities stand up, stretch out, make themselves big to scare off others, and according to Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, this rings true for humans. Her research suggests that, even if you’re not naturally aggressive or confident, by assuming a “power pose”—like stretching your arms out or standing with your hands on your hips—for just two minutes, you can trick yourself into feeling more confident. “Power poses” boost your testosterone and reduce cortisol (“the stress hormone”), she claims. Recent research disputes Cuddy’s findings regarding hormones, but supports her theory that power poses influence how confident we feel. “Before you go into the next stressful evaluative situation, for two minutes, try doing this, in the elevator, in a bathroom stall, at your desk behind closed doors,” Cuddy says. “That’s what you want to do.”

2. Wear cologne or perfume
You might want to consider spritzing on some fragrance the next time you want to impress. In one study, researchers gave two groups of men identical aerosol cans, some filled with odorless substances, others filled with fragrance and “antimicrobial agents,” the same stuff that targets odor-causing bacteria in some deodorants. The cologne-covered men showed improved confidence, and as a result, were rated as more attractive by women who viewed them in video clips. “This effect highlights the flexible nature of self-esteem to respond to rapid changes in one’s own physical traits through the use of artificial cosmetic products,” the study says. “An individual’s personal odour and the perfume product chosen may thus influence both self-perception and impressions formed by others.”

3. Work out
As if you needed another reason to get to the gym. Research suggests exercise, even a little bit of it, can convince you that you look better. “This is an important study because it shows that doing virtually any type of exercise, on a regular basis, can help people feel better about their bodies,” said Kathleen Martin Ginis, a kinesiology professor at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

4. Meditate
“Meditation … means ‘silence of mind’ which brings positive cognitive and affective changes in the personality,” write the authors of a 2008 study that examined how meditation impacted the self-esteem of a group of student-teachers. At the outset, the researchers expected meditation would have no impact at all, but their findings turned that hypothesis on its head. Meditation improves “psychological functioning like self-esteem, concentration, decision making power, intelligence, memory,” they write. “It helps to remove negative emotions, anxiety, complexes (inferiority or superiority) as it makes the mind silent. This change helps to increase trust in the abilities and good qualities of the self, i.e. self confidence.”

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SOURCE: Mental Floss
Jessica Hullinger

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