High self-esteem opens the doors to opportunity in our lives. How we perceive ourselves takes a toll on our work, relationships, and general well-being. When we feel good about ourselves, we thrive. Lack of confidence cripples us.

Try these 6 easy self-esteem boosters proven to improve your self-confidence.

Use Positive Affirmations

Affirmations are powerful statements meant to positively influence our thinking. These statements attract positive thoughts into our minds. Boosting self-confidence, managing stress, and realizing goals are all reasons that people use affirmations.

Self-affirmations are also supported by research. In a PLOS One article, researchers discussed the benefits of self-affirmations. Those under chronic stress used self-affirmations. They improved their problem-solving skills under pressure. The study also suggests that creativity and academic performance can be boosted by self-affirmations.

 

“Every action and feeling is preceded by a thought.”―James Allen

 

We need to be wise about how we use affirmations. We need to make sure that inner voice in our heads is our friend and not our enemy. If statements feel as though they are untrue, it can actually make our self-esteem worse. In order to properly make an affirmation, make them sound believable. For example, declaring “I am limitless and my success is assured” works for some people. However, if deep down you don’t believe it, the affirmation will have a negative impact. To make statements that work, choose affirmations that feel right. If the affirmation above doesn’t sit well, a person could revise it to “I have the energy and will to persevere.” The key is to choose an affirmation that works for you.

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Present Yourself with Confidence

We’ve all heard the saying “dress to impress.” Let’s forget about impressing other people with our clothes and start dressing to impress ourselves. Presentation matters both in how people perceive us, but more importantly how we perceive ourselves.

The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology calls this phenomena “enclothed cognition.” In other words, our mentality changes based on the clothes we’re wearing. These changes depend on the type of clothing and what the clothing symbolized. For example, individuals wearing a lab coat had increased concentration.

“Dressing up is like therapy; I feel better in myself when I’ve made an effort.” ―Paloma Faith

Wear flattering clothes to improve your self-esteem. The way we dress has an impact on how we feel. Clothing is symbolic. A suit looks powerful. Blue jeans look approachable. High heels are associated with attractiveness.  If you feel good about yourself, those feelings will carry over into your body language. Dress for the situation and for how you want to feel.

If you need a boost in confidence, try striking a power pose for two-minutes. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy also makes a good argument for using powerful body language to boost confidence. A study at Harvard University called “The Benefit of Power Posing Before a High-Stakes Social Evaluation” supports this claim. The study showed that after striking a power pose, people were more enthusiastic and confident when giving presentations. Poses made participants feel optimistic and in-control.

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Laugh Often and at Yourself

We have a choice. Either we can let things bother, irritate, and stress us out, or we can laugh it off. Laughing is the perfect way to lighten up. Smiling and laughter makes us feel good. Laughing releases tension and best of all, it’s fun.

“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” ―Mark Twain

Life can be stressful. We all make mistakes. Sometimes people laugh at you. It’s time you laughed at yourself. In fact, if you’ve ever watched a stand-up comedian, you probably noticed that they make a living off of not taking themselves too seriously. When people laugh at themselves, they exude confidence. Finding yourself funny, gives you permission not to be perfect. People all over the world are laughing at themselves and you should be, too.

Contribute to Others

Ultimately, only you can determine your self-worth. Self-confidence comes from feeling good about what you think, say, and do. Contributing to others, in ways that are important to us, can boost our self-esteem. Giving really is receiving. Not only does volunteering contribute to your self-confidence, the National Community Service tells us that there are health benefits, too. Volunteers suffer less from depression, have increased functional ability, and lower mortality rates.

“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” ―Tony Robbins

Use contribution to build on your skills and interests. Those who love animals can consider donating time or resources to a shelter. If you care about the environment, help clean up your neighborhood or a local park. Are you skilled in a particular skill? Try teaching someone else. Choose to contribute to others and reap the benefits of greater self-confidence.

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Surround Yourself with the Right People

The old saying “birds of a feather flock together” is a well-known cliche, but it holds truth. Surrounding yourself with people who share your values will lift you up. For the most part, people can either bring you up or bring you down. Choose to spend time with people who mostly bring you up, will be a boon to your self-esteem.

“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.”― Karl Marx

Keep people around that add value to your life. Good friends empower you. They support you when times are rough. Keep the right people around to bring out the best in yourself. A strong network of positive people will allow you to flourish.

According to research compiled by Web MD, friends are good for us in more than one way. Good friends may help us make better decisions about our health like discouraging smoking and drinking alcohol. Also, friends can help us avoid depression, cope with stress, and they boost our self-esteem.

Be Compassionate to Yourself and Others.

Accepting yourself as you are, provides fertile soil for developing good self-esteem.  Strengths and weaknesses exist in all of us.  Each of us is unique. Pretending to be something we’re not, or forcing a persona that doesn’t feel right, can hinder our self-esteem. The Society for Personality and Social Psychology found an additional benefit to self-compassion. The results show that those who exercise self-compassion are more motivated to improve themselves.

“Have the courage to love yourself like you always wished someone would.” ― Vironika Tugaleva

Compassion is a two-way street. One way to develop self-compassion is to be more compassionate towards others. If we treat others with kindness in our thoughts and in our actions, we improve our own well-being. We view ourselves in a more positive light, too.

Many people compare themselves to others, but comparing ourselves to others is futile. Embrace your differences and the differences of others. Look at yourself without labels or unrealistic expectations. Instead of using a label, such as “nerd” or “failure,” try to keep an open mind about yourself and others. View everyone without criticism and judgement not only feels better, it’s candy for your confidence.