Give a hug
Hugging, kissing, and other forms of physical touch release oxytocin, a hormone commonly known as "the cuddle hormone," which facilitates bonding and releases stress. A recent study done by UCLA found that the gene that controls oxytocin is also linked to self-confidence. Activating your oxytocin can help you feel more confident. And genetics aside, simply being reminded that you're loved in any way is an instant self-confidence booster. And don't forget the multitude of other health benefits of hugging.
Hatch a plan
Fear and feelings of inadequacy are a major source of low confidence. The antidote to the poison of fear? Coming up with a solid plan that acknowledges and addresses potential problems. For instance, parents with critically ill babies reported that rather than being scared, they felt much more confident after talking through "nightmare scenarios" with medical personnel, according to a study published in The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing. Don't miss the 50 secrets hospitals won't tell you.
Do a magic trick
Magic is, well, magical—and not just for those watching in awe as people seem to get sawed in half or tigers seem to vanish into thin air. Learning and performing a simple magic trick boosted the amateur magician's confidence in a British study. The trick (pun intended) is that doing a magic trick requires you to manifest a certain level of confidence in order to be convincing, so practicing the trick inherently increases your confidence. Then when you do it and people react positively to you, it just reinforces the self-esteem boost. Here are the secrets behind magic tricks, according to the pros.
Sleeping nude at night makes you inherently more confident during the daytime, says Travis Bradberry in Forbes. "As your comfort with your body increases, so does your self-esteem and confidence," he writes. Can't hurt to try! In the meantime, use these 13 secrets sleep doctors want you to know to make sure you're covering all the bases of good sleep.
Buy a new pen
A person who is feeling a little unsure can instantly boost their self-confidence by buying a new pen. It may sound silly at first, but the pen is a symbol of action and intelligence, and can restore your confidence and belief in yourself, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research. If you don't want to do a little retail therapy, holding an object that reminds you of your competence and skill―like a favorite book or a class ring—can have a similar effect.
Sign up for the word of the day
Sometimes all you need to feel confident is a little reminder that you have things to feel confident about. One way to do this is to make it a point to learn something new every day. Whether that's signing up for a "word of the day" email (and actually reading it) or reading an article on a science site, every new bit of knowledge will build up your confidence. Here are more free things on the Internet that you'll want to take advantage of.
Turn off the tube
The more TV you watch, the less confident you feel, according to a study published in Communication Research. Being exposed to idealized (and unrealistic) images and advertisements is a chronic reminder of all the ways you don't measure up. This was especially true for females and people of color, the researchers found. (Lack of confidence was just one of the health risks of watching television researchers found.) Plus, hours spent watching shows are hours not spent doing something proven to boost confidence, such as playing a sport, pursuing a favorite hobby, or going outside.
Sit up straight
Your mother was right: Sitting up straight is good for you! Not only is proper posture better for you physically, but it's also an instant self-confidence booster. Researchers from Ohio State found that people were more likely to believe they were qualified for a job simply by sitting up straight in their chair. Use these easy tricks to improve your posture.
Hide the credit cards
Buying something new may give you a quick rush of happiness, but that high quickly fades, as overspending can ultimately tank your confidence, according to a study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology. People often think that buying themselves a little something will boost their confidence but the researchers found real confidence comes from exercising self-control—not to mention the joy you'll feel when you see your lower credit card bill! (Make sure you know these common credit card tricks and traps.)
Pull out the crayons
There's something so meditative about getting out a newly sharpened box of colored pencils or fresh crayons and filling in an intricate picture. You're not just replicating your favorite kindergarten activity, you're teaching your brain on another level—as you color, you reinforce the message of the words and images. Use this to your advantage with the Coloring For Confidence adult coloring book, designed with affirmations built into the pictures. As a bonus, doodling can also make you smarter.