There are countless books dedicated to confidence-building, but what about our other options? From boxing to wearing yellow, we explore some lesser-known ways to give yourself a boost
Being able to truly trust in our abilities and recognise our worth is something we all aspire to. This confidence has the power to push us out of our comfort zones and take chances. And who knows what we might achieve then?
Linked to our self-esteem, how confident we feel has a huge impact on our lives. When we lack confidence, we can struggle to pursue our passions and, over time, this can feed anxiety, depression, self-harm, and eating disorders. The question is, how can we go about improving it?
Perhaps you’ve tried saying affirmations in the mirror, but it’s not worked. We’re all unique, and different techniques help different people, so don’t despair!
Reaching out for more unconventional suggestions, our readers sent a host of unique ideas to help increase your resilience, become more mindful and raise your vibration. Let’s dive in.
Fight self-doubt with boxing
Boxing has long been hailed as a sport that not only hones you physically, but mentally too. It’s strategic, requires mental resilience, and is a powerful stress-reliever. Even Prince Harry has spoken about the power of boxing, saying it helped him after the death of his mother, Princess Diana: “During those years I took up boxing, because everyone was saying boxing is good for you and it’s a really good way of letting out aggression. And that really saved me, because I was on the verge of punching someone; so being able to punch someone who had pads was certainly easier.”
For 17-year-old Katie Woods, learning how to box changed her life. Seeing rising stars of female boxing inspired her to take her first step into the ring and when she did, coaches instilled a positive mental attitude.
She says the lessons she learns in the sport apply outside the ring too. “Resilience and perseverance are important skills in boxing.”
“Developing these allowed me to battle the depression I was experiencing,” says Katie.
“If it wasn’t for boxing, providing a place to let my anger out and developing a more positive mental attitude, I don’t know if I would be in the place I am right now.”
Katie hopes to become a sports psychologist, and is working with the charity Fixers on a campaign to promote self-confidence in young people.
Stand tall with posture training
Anyone who saw Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on body language will know what a ‘power pose’ is – imagine Wonder Woman, standing with legs wide apart, hands on hips – and the science that says it affects our self-belief.
But what about our everyday posture? Can that affect our confidence? Abi Wright, owner of Inspiring Margot, a company teaching women the power of physicality, believes it does.
By relaxing, breathing, and owning our space, we can bring ourselves to a state where confidence can grow
“Bad posture can cause us to have more physical tension, feel more fatigued, and struggle to breathe fully. With physical tension comes higher stress and anxiety levels, and it’s difficult to feel confident when stressed.
“We also struggle to feel confident when fatigued and overwhelmed. Not being able to breathe fully has the biggest impact on our confidence, as it means we cannot be in a calm and present place.”
Breathing has a profound effect on our stress levels and, as Abi explains, not breathing deeply enough can lead to panic.
“Bad posture and shallow breathing can trigger our fight or flight response. By relaxing, breathing, and owning our space, we can bring ourselves to a state where confidence can flourish.”
Quick posture tips from Abi
1. Look up
If you walk into a room looking up, and can see everyone, they can see you.
When you enter a room, or start a presentation, begin by simply pausing for a moment to breathe. It will have a huge impact not only on how you feel, but how others view you.
3. Think about your feet
If you plant both your feet on the floor, weight evenly spread, you will naturally have better posture, and feel more grounded and present. From that, your confidence will grow, as will the confidence of those around you.
Shine bright with colour psychology
A suggestion that came up more than once was to wear yellow. So what does colour have to do with confidence? We spoke to colour therapist Lien Potgieter.
“Colour is all around: It’s in our homes, our food, our clothes, in nature, and even our language,” says Lien. “Have you ever been green with envy, or tickled pink? However, we take its healing, communicative, and positive effects for granted.”
Lien explains how she believes it impacts our mood: “Every colour has a frequency, and our body is a complete energy system. So, everything that vibrates affects everything else that vibrates. Research shows blue calms us, and red gives us energy. Consciously or not, everything around us affects us, including colour.”
When we understand the effect colour can have on us, we can harness this. So what colours can help boost our confidence? According to Lien, we should start with noticing what colours we’re naturally drawn to.
“The best colours for boosting your confidence are those you feel good in! Be aware of how different colours make you feel, and wear those – whether as nail polish, clothes or accessories – when you need to feel a certain way.”
In colour ‘language’, yellow and orange are good go-tos. “Yellow radiates happiness, warmth and self-assurance. If you want to feel more outgoing, try orange. People will perceive you as outgoing, and that, in return, will give you the specific energy you need.”
Cracking the confidence code
The most important thing to know about confidence is that it’s something we can grow. We are not born with a certain ‘level’ of confidence, doomed to always feel the same way about ourselves.
Yes, we may have certain personality traits that edge us towards one end of the confidence spectrum, and our upbringing will likely have a part to play. But, nothing is set in stone.
We all have the ability to improve our confidence, and there are lots of tools at our disposal; finding what works for you is key. And if you’re struggling to find the right one, maybe it’s time to think outside the tool box.