Confidence is undoubtedly a huge ingredient to success. When you have it, you think you’ll never lose it, and when you lose it, you think you’ll never find it.
An Ohio State University Study found that an individual’s career path is directly attributed to both their own levels of self-confidence, and secondly to the amount of social validation they receive along the way.
This study, published in the journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology pointed to a concept of “upward self-revision” as a key ingredient as to your own view of yourself.
Basically, if you can imagine your future-self succeeding at a goal, becoming an architect, or a dentist, for example, there’s a much higher chance you will actually become one.
And although most self-confidence is a result of your own doings, your own external environment and social interactions can have a tremendous effect as well.
Think about the last time someone gave you a genuine complement. I.E. “You have such a knack for making people like you! It’s like people walk in the room and gravitate to you because your energy is so magnetic!”
Now, imagine an opposite scenario where you accidentally overhear a conversation between two other’s talking about you saying something like,
“Oh my gosh! Did you see the way John was just sitting over in the corner last night not saying a word. What’s wrong with him (referring to you)? I went and talked to him and it was so awkward!
This would be a devastating blow to your own confidence!
In an article written by Jason Demers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBloom he expands on 5 Surprising Research Backed Ways to Expand Your Self Confidence!
In his article, he states that anyone can try to think positively and surround themselves with strong emotional support, but a few more subtle strategies can go a long way and can be put into practice relatively easily.
1. Wear Cologne or Perfume
Research supports that taking into account how you look, and in this case how you smell, can have an instant boost to your confidence.
The Journal of Cosmetic Sciences found that men that use cologne exhibit an increase in both confidence and their own opinion of their attractiveness.
The study says, "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. An individual's personal odor and the perfume product chosen may thus influence both self-perception and impressions formed by others."
The takeaway seems to be that not only do people notice you taking the effort to smell good, but possibly more important is the sense they get from the increased confidence you get from actually smelling good.
2. Exercise--Preferably Outside
Talk to any marathon runner or triathlete and most will tell you the same thing. The positive effect exercise has on mood and self-esteem is one of the main reasons they log all those miles. When you take care of your health, you have more energy. That feeling of being fit and trim has a tremendous effect on your own perception of yourself.
Additionally recent studies have found that exercising outside in a pleasant setting can actually increase confidence drastically. While exercise alone can decrease blood pressure, increased self-esteem is found to have a positive effect on 4 out of 6 mood measures. Exercising in a pleasant environment outdoors can result in significantly increased self-esteem measures.
In other words, treadmills and excercise equimpment are fabulous ways to get in shape, particularly when the weather is less than perfect, or you use specific machines. But if you want an instant mood boost, take your excercise routine outside next time!
3. Assume the 'Power Pose'
Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and professor at Harvard Business School, noticed that students who were most actively involved in the classroom tended to display 'power poses'. Typically this is an open position, with your arms out and your head up...a more dominant position.
Quieter students tend to sit in more closed positions, heads down, hands folded, etc.
Cuddy and her researchers went on to see if a conscious shift to a more dominant pose could actually change internal confidence indicators? What they found was quite impressive. By having research participants assume these power poses for just 2 minutes, they saw a drastic increase in testosterone, a decrease in cortisol and an increase in risk-taking behaviors.
So before your next important meeting take a few minutes to assume a power pose, and let your self-confidence soar!
4. Smile and make eye contact
As reported in Time Magazine, a confident smile can be more attractive than good looks, according to research out of Webster University. Dr. Monica Moore studied flirting techniques in bars and malls to see which ones worked best.
What she found was quite different than common perception. It wasn't necessarily the most physically-attractive people who were getting approached the most, but the ones that made eye contact and smiled with confidence.
Your non-verbal cues make all the difference, and smiling and making eye contact is believed to signal confidence and availability.
5. Wear heroic clothing
In her book, Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion, Professor Karen J. Pine shares the results of a study conducted asking students to wear Superhero clothing when spending time with their friends.
The study concluded that wearing such clothing might impact the thoughts and moods of the wearer, leading to increased confidence. Not only did this prove to be true, but the wearers also reported perceiving themselves to be physically stronger, more likable and even superior to other students.
She also found that other types of clothing impacted their self-confidence. For instance, those who were asked to wear a white coat demonstrated increased mental agility.
It's certainly true that the 'clothes don't make the man', but new research certainly seems to highlight how we look often plays into how feel. And how we feel certainly plays a huge part in how we internalize our own view of ourselves.
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