Self-confidence is even sexier than a push-up bra. Clothes, jewels, cars, and cash are great, but self-confidence is the ultimate accessory. People are drawn to those who project confidence, and most of us fall somewhere in between social divas and wallflowers. Even the most self-assured need occasional boosts to their self-esteem. It doesn't take much to make a big difference.
According to a University of California study, women who spend more time on their appearance than on other things are less confident and less happy. The more tweaks we make from the inside out, the better we become at anything, confidence included.
1. Stop looking in every mirror you pass. The way to build self-confidence is from the inside out. To get the best picture of ourselves, we learn more by looking within than by looking in a mirror.
2. Don't apologize. Unless you've done something really bad, try NOT saying "I'm sorry" for 24 hours. People who say it with regularity usually convey insecurity.
3. Make a decision and go with it. Over-analyzing every potential choice or outcome can paralyze you. The first step is usually the hardest.
4. Imagine success. Experts say that being able to picture ourselves completing a task successfully makes us more likely to actually do it.
5. Straighten up. According to a recent study at Ohio University, hunching over makes us less likely to think positive thoughts about ourselves.
6. Get dressed. Looking your best everyday says a lot about how you feel about yourself. Even if you aren't lunching with the Queen, don't leave the house looking like you just finished cleaning out the garage.
7. Don't overreact to mistakes. We are our own worst critics. Our gaffes are far worse in our minds than in anyone else's. Besides, people can be surprisingly forgiving.
8. Assume people like you. Most of them probably do anyway, and it makes it easier to socialize.
9. Talk to strangers wherever you go. It'll make you feel good about yourself, and it's a great way to hone your social skills.
10. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. It's a downer. We don't need to be the most beautiful, the richest or the best dressed. We just need to be our sparkling selves.
11. Take a compliment. When someone offers praise accept it graciously. No arguing and no false humility.
12. Stop eating junk. The instant gratification provided by M & M's, cupcakes, and cocktails is over all too quickly. Occasional indulgences aside, sugary high-fat treats can instantly become mood wreckers, diet busters, and hangovers. None of which makes us feel good.
13. Think young. A Purdue University study found that people who maintained a sense of youthfulness were more likely to have greater confidence about their abilities years later.
14. Own the room. Some people behave as if they have no right to the space they occupy. Put a little strut into your walk. Move like you have a purpose.
15. Watch your hands. Keeping your hands apart and palms open makes you appear open and honest. Bringing your hands closer together draws emphasis to what you're saying. Gesturing like a drum major (if you're not one), makes you appear nervous and unstable.
16. Be grateful. Remind yourself what's important, appreciate what you have, and remember to thank others.
17. Make eye contact. It's a habit of confident people.
Mary Marino is the editor of flashionista.com.
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