Self-belief is like a shadow in the midday sun. Just as we think we’ve caught it, it can recede surprisingly quickly. Our self-confidence is having to deflect blows on an hourly basis. “With social media, for example, it’s impossible to escape negative comparisons,” says Dr Gary Wood, author of Confidence Karma: How To Become Confident And Help Others Feel Great Too. “It’s an orgy of not keeping up with the Joneses, but of wilfully crushing the Joneses underfoot at every given opportunity.”

Below is a road map to improve your self-confidence, designed by the coaches, trainers and psychologists who boost self-esteem for a living.

01.

Lift others

“We boost our own confidence as we build confidence in others,” Dr Gary Wood says. “Giving others an uplift with a compliment will give you and them a physiological and psychological boost, and they will perceive you as more confident and treat you as such, so you get a further boost. It becomes a positive-feedback loop.”

02.

Power up

“Practise a power pose, with arms raised, chin up and chest out,” says Mr David Waters, a therapist and coach. “Emulating the posture of winners triggers a positive hormonal shift, reduces anxiety-producing cortisol and boosts confidence-enhancing testosterone.”

It helps to focus on connecting with people rather than the performance

Simon

03.

Find the right fit

“Nothing boosts self-confidence quite like wearing clothes that fit you perfectly,” says Mr Nick Hems, a men’s personal stylist. “If you truly want to feel comfortable and confident, get the pair of trousers or a shirt you buy off the rack altered to fit you just right.”

04.

Redefine yourself

“One of the challenges that a lot of people face is that they intertwine their identity with their work,” says Mr Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why. Men tend to introduce themselves by their job title because they attach such status to it that when they lose that job or retire or change career, it can send confidence crashing. “I define myself by who I am – an optimist – not by what I do,” Sinek says.

05.

Connect to impress

“We often get the idea that confidence is about holding court, whereas it’s more to do with putting people at ease,” Wood says. “It helps to focus on connecting with people rather than focusing on the performance.” During an interview, for example, you should direct your energy towards establishing a connection with your interviewer instead of merely aiming to impress them.

06.

Take a breath

“Lengthening your out-breath relative to your in-breath counteracts the fight-or-flight response,” Waters says. “This promotes calmness, quickly soothes racing thoughts and instils confidence.”

07.

Stop chronic worrying

“Recognise that chronic worry, although a defence mechanism against feeling helpless and out of control, leads to excessive anxiety and stress that lower your self-confidence,” says Dr Nick Wignall, a clinical psychologist. “Learn to tolerate the discomfort of feeling helpless and accept that there are things you can’t control. This will free your mind and allow self-confidence to grow.”

08.

Stop scrolling

“If we are doing better than others, we’re happy,” Wood says, talking about social media and self-esteem. “But if the comparisons are less fortunate, we’re not happy. Confidence needs to start with feeling comfortable in our own skin. This must come from inner attitudes. It will never come from outer social pressures.”

09.

Learn to say enough

“Curb negative internal dialogues using a powerful trigger word, such as stop or enough,” Waters says. This cognitive behavioural therapy tip can immediately interrupt self-defeating thoughts and refocus the mind. “Saying these words out loud intensifies the effect, opens up new, more optimistic thought patterns and consequently enhances confidence.”

10.

Don’t dwell on mistakes

“Instead, learn to accept feelings of guilt, regret and disappointment and stop using rumination as an escape,” Wignall says. “By building a healthier relationship with these difficult emotions, you can stop them from undermining your self-confidence.”

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5 Comments
  • Guest
    Sunday, January 15, 2023

    With fashion month upon us, there’s no shortage of street style to envy. Whether you crave the fresh London look or favor an understated Parisian aesthetic, there are style lessons to learn from modern, chic women all over the world. Here, we tap into the casual-luxe style secrets from five of the best dressed women in fashion and shop out their effortless looks.

  • Anna
    Thursday, August 31, 2023

    Last night at Adam Selman, the clothes took inspiration from a nudist colony in Hawaii, featuring punchy tropical prints, but the nails, designed by manicurist Madeline Poole, are naked in their own way. Bare save for a random blob of deep blue polish (Poole used Complete Salon Manicure in Dark Hue-Mor) on each nail, the look is, “something a girl could do DIY sitting at her desk. Like drawing on your finger with Sharpie,” says Poole who created a makeshift circle stamp by pressing a carpenter’s nail into the end of a pencils eraser, but “you can use anything to make a dot,” Poole says.

  • Emma
    Wednesday, September 6, 2023

    “The best tip I can give is to not press hard. Have quite a lot of paint on the tip and lightly tap it so it doesn’t smoosh the color and bleed out.” As for the placement, “it’s random, but there is kind of a method to randomness so that it doesn’t look patterned. Each nail the dot is in a different place. Maybe there’s only one fully solid circle. but it looks more intentionally continuous that way. It’s intuitive.”

    • Amelia
      Wednesday, July 12, 2023

      There may be others champing at the bit, but Ralph Lauren’s spring collection proves that he remains the master of all-American fashion. From the blue-and-white striped top paired with a navy floral skirt and accented with a neck scarf, to the matching twinset—its cardigan tied at the waist of a pair of periwinkle pants—the effort was a welcome departure from the decadence we so often expect from a fashion show. (Well, at least most fashion shows.) Lauren also made a great case for the brown leather belt. It will certainly be at the top of many spring shopping lists

  • Claudia
    Friday, September 15, 2023

    From micro-ringlets and brushed out barrel waves, to feathered curls and a flat-ironed mullet, when it comes to fall texture, anything goes, but the holy grail is hair that defies gravity. Here, get lifted with 11 of the season’s most voluminous hair looks seen on Tina Turner, Chaka Khan, Diana, Princess of Wales, and more.