19 Tips To Boost Confidence Right Now — Because You're Awesome

Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
By Alexandra Duron
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Like finding the perfect pair of jeans or getting to inbox zero, confidence is a pretty elusive thing. But, without it, it's all too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of self-doubt and negativity. This not only hurts us on a personal level (anxiety, depression, membership to the lonely heart's club), but it can also put a damper on our professional success. That's why we've made it our mission to find self-confidence shortcuts.
We searched high and low for the 19 best ways to power past insecurities and doubts, and we have to say: They're pretty darn awesome. Consider these tips your booster rockets to soar over the toughest situations — whether it's rocking a first date or acing an interview — with swagger.
1. Spritz On A Scent
Your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice. As it turns out, it can actually make you confident, too. One study suggests that not only can a fragrance inspire confidence in men, but the more a gent likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.
2. Straighten Up
Mom was right: The next time you find yourself slumping in your chair or slouching your shoulders, sit up straight! According to research, doing so can lead to more confidence in your own thoughts. Plus, sitting with good posture can keep both your self-esteem and mood lifted. Try it: Experts recommend opening up your chest and keeping your head level to look — and feel — assured and poised.
3. Give Me A "V"!
Though generally a part of a cheerleader's repertoire, throwing your hands up in the air is a pretty spectacular power pose. While you can't bust this move out anytime anywhere, just two minutes in a wide stance with your hands in the air will give you an instant confidence boost — you might even want to invent your own pep rally cheer.
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4. Nod Along
Nodding your head isn't just good for signaling "yes" or warming up in a group fitness class. Research suggests that the up-and-down movement may actually improve confidence in your thoughts, so feel free to nod away whenever you need an extra boost. Just think of this as a way of signaling, "yes, we can" to your brain.
5. Jam Out
Cranking up the tunes can do great things for your mind and body. (Count 'em! There are at least 20 health benefits associated with it.) And, now recent research suggests that listening to music may lead to feeling more powerful. To paraphrase pop star Meghan Trainor, it's all about that bass (no treble): listening to heavy-bass songs promotes more feelings of power than those with less bass.
6. Deal With Failure
The great Michael Jordan once said, "I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And, that is why I succeed." It's that kind of mentality — being able to live with failure and learn from it — that helps you build self-confidence, says executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, PhD., author of What You Got Here Won't Get You There.
Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
7. Be A Pal
Fact: Life would be way less fun without friends. Not only do besties provide impromptu dance parties, secret handshakes, and giggles galore, but they also improve both self-confidence and self-worth, according to the Mayo Clinic. (Check out these 16 tips on how to make new friends and keep the old.) And, the next time you need a boost, reach out to your inner circle for confirmation that you're having a good hair day.
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8. Snap A #Selfie
Though selfies get a bad rap for leaning toward the narcissistic end of the confidence spectrum, they may actually be a good thing. 65% of teen girls surveyed by TODAY/AOL said that seeing their faces on a social platform actually makes them feel more confident. Consider this the green light to snap, filter, and post — just keep in mind that the survey isn't super scientific. But, hey, a flattering pic never hurts!
Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
9. Embrace Your Superstitions
Go ahead and rock your lucky jersey or favorite charm bracelet. Science suggests that having these kinds of tokens leads to improved performance and setting loftier goals — all by boosting your self-confidence. And, the confidence link doesn't just exist with physical objects. Performing rituals, like rocking out to Led Zeppelin before hitting the race trail, for example, is also believed to increase confidence as well as decrease anxiety.
10. Break A Sweat
Nope, we'll never get tired of saying it: Exercise is good for you! Apart from the many, many physical benefits, it also does a mind good. Case in point: One study suggests working out regularly can lead to more confidence (and less stress). And, yet more research notes that exercise in general leads to a confidence boost (independent of how hard you worked out). Translation: What seems to matter — as far as confidence goes — is whether you break a sweat in general, not how strenuous your session is.
11. Play The Flirt
Bring your flirting A-game, guys and gals. Apart from being fun, flirting has surprising good-for-you results: Expert psychologists believe it can actually make us feel better about ourselves. And, women in particular may benefit from flirting: One study suggests that female flirtation is perceived as confidence.
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12. Visualize
Enlist your imagination to boost your confidence. Experts believe that having solid mental practices — like picturing yourself scoring the winning goal or even going through a tough workout — can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prep your brain for a successful outcome. Try setting a super-specific goal — be as detailed as possible (one study suggests that the more detailed your vision of future success, the more confident you'll feel) — and imagine that you've achieved it. Throw in a positive affirmation, and go through this practice right before or right after you hit the sheets for sleep, ideally while looking at yourself in the mirror (e.g. putting on makeup or brushing your teeth) so that you can literally tell yourself what you’ll accomplish and why you rock.
13. Be Your Own Cheerleader
We mentioned that affirmations may help with visualizing successful outcomes, but they may also be powerful confidence-boosting tools on their own, especially during times of stress or struggle. When you use self-affirmations, you're less likely to focus on failures from your past and are perhaps more likely to learn from your mistakes. Not only that, but the positive outcome that results from self-affirmations could trigger a cycle of positivity — more self-confidence leads to higher expectations that, when met, bring about even more self-confidence. To harness this particular power of positive thinking, focus on the good stuff that makes you who you are (e.g. if you're super witty or a truly spectacular cook, own it!).
14. Practice, Practice, Practice
Even if you're blessed with oodles of natural talent, the ability to succeed and feel confident doesn't rely on that alone. In fact, experts suggest that practicing for a task or responsibility is more important than simply relying on your gifts. Prepping for the task at-hand (whether it's a going through a presentation, practicing public speaking, etc.) will boost your confidence and improve the quality of your work. Bottom line: Dress rehearsals aren't just for drama troupes.
15. Learn To Play An Instrument
While it's certainly an investment in time and energy, learning to play an instrument may lead to a confidence boost. One study found that learning to play the piano in particular could lead to greater self-esteem. (And, it'll earn you unlimited coolness points in our book.) Bonus: It's also been shown to sharpen the mind. Brains and talent in one package? Believe it.
16. Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
The time for risk-taking is NOW. Basically, we have control over how big our comfort zone is, according to Becky Blalock, a former Fortune 500 exec. When you take risks regularly, your comfort zone expands, she says. "Even doing something seemingly small every day will lead you to something bigger," says Nancie Vito, a transformational coach. "You will grow and will begin to feel unstoppable." Perfect example: For a recent study, researchers asked participants to talk to strangers on their commute to see whether it would be a positive experience. The outcome? This simple (yet admittedly courageous) act made their commute more positive.
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Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
17. Just Say F*** It!
You can now use "confidence-building" as an excuse for all your salty language. Experts believe that swearing may make us feel empowered, and thus boost our confidence and self-esteem. Just be sure to be selective with the timing of your expletives — dropping F-bombs at work, around conservative family members, or in other proper or professional settings won't do anyone any good.
18. Cherish Compliments
While research shows that overpraise may make you feel worse about yourself, there's still something to be said for receiving a genuine, heartfelt, and deserved compliment. In fact, experts believe that hearing words of praise leads to a boost in self-esteem and self-confidence. So, save those sincere birthday cards, performance reviews, and even emails from mom and read them back to yourself when you need a shot of confidence.
19. Crack A Smile
If there's one instant way to boost your confidence, it's cracking a smile. Flashing those pearly whites will make you appear both confident and composed, according to Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University. But, the effect isn't just external: Science suggests that smiling can help nix feelings of stress, which may pave the way for happier and more relaxed feelings. And, hey, while you're smiling, go ahead and flirt with the cute guy or gal you see during your morning commute to triple your confidence score — and maybe land a date in the process.