After years of struggling with anxiety and intrusive thoughts, I have finally found my confidence (somewhat). Since starting college, my level of confidence has skyrocketed, and although I still have my weak moments, the improvement is more than I ever could have imagined. I'm not wimpy. I'm not cocky. But I've found a middle ground that makes me feel comfortable in my own skin in any situation.
By practicing these 5 simple steps, your own self-confidence is closer than you think.
1. Take deep breaths
Before going out in public anywhere, it's important that you mentally prepare yourself. Anxiety is no joke and it can take over when overwhelmed in a crowd. Remember to take deep breaths and even listen to a calming song (mine is "Bridges" by Broods) before you go somewhere.
Try to mentally map out of the night even, and try to plan ahead for certain situations that might trigger your anxiety. In order to avoid an incident, being prepared for them is the key. Deep breaths and meditation before going out will not only make you more ready for what is coming your way, but it will also make you look more prepared, and confident, in the process.
2. Practice walking
Now this one might sound silly, but trust me, it's an important one. Let's say you have to walk in front of your 500 person lecture or past a group of hot guys at the bar, you're going to be nervous as it is, so you might as well be prepared. Being confident in your walk or even just developing a "confident" walk that makes you feel comfortable in front of other people is essential to decreasing the severity of anxiety in public.
Try practicing your walk in your room or walking to the beat of your favorite song. I've been doing this for years, and my walk has turned into a strut (lol). When I walk in a room, I'm comfortable with how I'm presenting myself and that is the trick to exuding confidence—even if it's just a facade.
3. Know your angles
When it comes to taking pictures, knowing your angles is EVERYTHING. But knowing your angles is also good for public situations, too. Let's say there's a cute guy in the bar, and your left side is your better side. You best believe that you'll be coming up next to him on the right so that all he sees is the entirety of your left face.
Yes, it might seem silly. But again, if you know you look good, you feel a lot more confident in any situation that comes your way. Practice making faces in the mirror and see what angles and facial expressions look best on you. Having 2 or 3 go-to "faces" or angles down to muscle memory will make any social situation a lot easier. If you know you look good, you look confident—and that's exactly what we're going for.
4. Practice talking to guys on Tinder (trust me, it works)
Okay. I know what you're thinking... Why?! After my boyfriend broke up with me a couple of years ago, my friend told me to download Tinder to boost my confidence. She said that getting messages and compliments from guys, or even just having the satisfaction of matching with an attractive guy, is the ultimate confidence boost—and she couldn't have been more right. The most helpful tool on Tinder is honestly messaging guys.
Practicing what to say behind a screen and receiving feedback on what works and wasn't doesn't really helps you when you're in a real-life situation. Having that practice on what to say will not only prepare you for conversations to come but will also make you appear more confident in yourself and in your responses.
5. Try not to be hard on yourself
Despite all of these tips and tricks, anxiety will always find its way in eventually. So the most important tip on this list is to not be hard on yourself. Quite frankly what I say to people is "have no self-respect", but that can be taken the wrong way. What I really mean is that you should approach every situation in the sense that this is your one and only shot at this moment in life, take a chance, say something crazy, and if it backfires?
That's okay, we all make mistakes. But you need to learn to not be so hung up on them. I will admit it's definitely a process. Intrusive thoughts are the worst. But even starting off small by allowing yourself to stress over something for a week, and then a day, and then an hour is an easy way to get past those kinds of things. But being hung up on something in the moment can totally throw off your game. And if you want to look confident? We can't have that happen. So remember to love yourself and learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes.
That is the ultimate key to confidence.