4 min read

Confidence Boosters for Every Sticky Situation

Golden advice you haven’t heard before. Too often in the face of a difficult situation, we listen to that worrisome inner voice that questions our abilities, and despite our smarts, gut instincts, and overall awesomeness, we give in to those doubts. This is a problem. Learning how to be confident is a necessary skill that reassures yourself (and everyone else) you’re ready to get the job done. So how do we channel confidence to say ‘I’ve got this’? Here are 12 confidence boosters you haven’t heard before.

Sit up straight

Not only is slouching bad for your back, but it’s also bad for your self-esteem. Researchers at Ohio State University saw that students who were assigned to sit up straight rated themselves better than students who were assigned to slouch. So fix your posture to improve both your physical and mental health.

Create a ritual

Got a lucky charm or a trusty pre-game warmup? Chances are your warm-up rituals are key to boosting self-esteem before a big event. Harvard researchers Michael Norton and Francesca Gino discovered that if you perform a ritual before a high-anxiety task, by the end of the ritual you are calmer and more confident, resulting in a better performance.  

Assume a power pose

According to a Harvard study, standing in a ‘power pose’ reduces reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, and increases testosterone, the hormone that increases assertiveness. So if you’re gearing up for a nerve-racking event, strike a power pose (such as standing in an open position with your arms uncrossed) for a quick boost of confidence.  


Who knew that those pricey barre classes and zen-filled yoga sessions were confidence boosters? Working out is both great for your physical health and your mental well-being. Studies show that teenagers reported feeling significantly more confident after completing ten weeks of exercise versus teenagers who played ten weeks of video games. Exercise also boosts endorphins, those helpful happiness hormones that put a spring in your step.  

Build your expertise

Increasing your knowledge in your field helps build your confidence, so the next time a hiccup comes along or someone challenges your authority, you can feel secure in your decisions. Learning more in your field will also give you increased self-esteem, which is just another reason to pick up a book or enroll in a free online course.

See your mistakes for what they are

Cornell psychologist David Dunning observed the reactions of men and women when they got low grades in a difficult math course. Dunning noted that the male students credited getting low grades to the class being challenging. The female students on the other hand often blamed themselves, attributing their poor grades to a lack of ability. This is a problem called the “confidence gap,” a possible explanation for why women, despite excelling at higher education, still make less than men and are underrepresented in executive positions. So let’s fix this confidence gap and take this tip to heart: To be confident, you’ll need to learn to take failure in stride. If you make a mistake, see it as a result of the situation rather than as an indication that you are lacking in something internally.

Change the way you talk to yourself

The next time you hear your inner voice doubting yourself, stop and think: What would you say to a friend who said the same thing? Chances are you would comfort them. So say whatever you’d say in response to your friend, to yourself. Silence that nasty, self-doubting voice and respond with something reassuring. The more you do this, the more you’ll begin to believe it.  

Stop rehashing mistakes

Have you ever gone over a mistake, thinking about what you might have done differently and how you wish you’d fixed it? You might not have realized this, but constantly rehashing your failures can hurt your self-esteem. Next time your mind is drawn to an unpleasant moment, take a deep breath, find some peace of mind, and focus on what is happening in the present

Dress for success

Studies done by Northwestern University indicate that the old advice ‘dress for success’ still holds true. Students who dressed up for their evaluations in white doctor’s coats performed better than students who dressed down for the occasion, proving that wearing professional clothes can help boost self-esteem and performance—as if we needed another reason to go shopping.

Look at your LinkedIn messages

This one’s a bit oddball, but the next time you get rejected from a date or receive bad news take a peek at your LinkedIn messages. All those emails from recruiters that you ignored earlier serve a purpose: they remind you that you’re a valuable and sought-after employee. If you don’t have LinkedIn, take a peek at other times you’ve achieved a success, like an award or a work achievement. Reliving your past successes helps you remember that you’re truly special.

Listen to songs with bass

There’s a reason why athletes have power playlists to pump themselves up before a game. Studies show that people who listen to music with a heavy bass felt more confident and energetic after listening than those who listened to lower-powered music. So if you’re anxious about a big game coming up play some Beyoncé and dance away your nerves.

Swipe on your favorite lipstick

Fake it ‘til you make it. Put your best foot forward by wearing things that make you feel good. Your favorite lipstick and eyeshadow are great self-esteem boosters, so swipe on your favorite shades. Eventually, your confidence will stop feeling forced and start being real.

Boosting Your  Confidence: A Cheat Sheet

  1. Open your arms and lift your head up
  2. Stand or sit up straight
  3. Create a warm-up ritual for stressful situations
  4. Go for a run
  5. Learn more
  6. Attribute mistakes to the situation
  7. Be nicer to yourself
  8. Stop reliving mistakes
  9. Remember your successes
  10. Dress up
  11. Jam out
  12. Get your glam on

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