How to Get Your Confidence Back in 5 Minutes or Less

Try these scientifically-proven practices to shift your mindset and conquer self-doubt.
February 18, 2016

There’s never a dull moment in business and life—not with the triumphant wins and the inevitable lows that come with them. The ups and downs can feel like a (crazy) emotional roller coaster ride. While common sense advice says to “think more positively” or see setbacks as just “bumps in the road,” failure is not an option for the time-crunched. Sometimes you just need an extra boost of confidence.

So how can you deal with self-doubt when the show must go on? Daily grounding practices can help turn things around—and quickly. These three mindset hacks take less than five minutes a day:

Related: Fake It and 5 Other Ways to Conquer Self-Doubt

1. Hold a high power pose for two minutes.

In her famous 2012 TED Talk, which now has over 30 million views, social psychologist Amy Cuddy shares the science of body language and confidence. The associate Harvard professor conducted a study of those who held high power poses versus low power poses for two minutes before entering a job interview. Those who did the high power poses fared better than those who did the low power poses. The study showed that those who power posed had higher levels of testosterone and lower cortisol (the hormone responsible for stress). Their physiology affected the way they felt and allowed them to take more risks.

In Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, Cuddy writes, “You want to take up as much space as you comfortably can.” So before a challenge, such as pitching potential investors or speaking to a large audience, practice power posing. This can be done in the morning when you first wake up, or if in public, you could also do this in an elevator or bathroom stall.

Try this superhero pose: Stand up straight, shoulders back, chin up with hands placed on your waist and legs hip-width apart. Feel yourself powerful and hold that pose for two minutes while taking deep breaths. You can also try a starfish-like pose where you raise your hands up in the air into a “V” shape and imagine yourself the victor at an Olympic event.

2. See the big picture of your life via your future self.

While it may seem arbitrary, having a long-term vision of yourself, even in your mind’s eye, can potentially put things into perspective. In the event of saving for retirement, for instance, before we’re likely to invest in ourselves, we have to like and respect our future selves. It helps to have a clear picture of who that would be.

Cuddy discusses a 2014 neuroimaging study done by UCLA professor Hal Hershfield in which he had people imagine themselves 10 years into the future. When he showed subjects age advanced photos of themselves and gave them an opportunity to invest, they were twice as likely to put money into the account than when not shown photos.

Cuddy further suggests, “You want to decrease the perceived gap between the self in the present and future.” Try it now. Imagine yourself in the future looking back on this challenge to gain perspective. Use print age processed images of your future self from this online tool if you feel so inclined.

3. Practice gratitude now and in the future.

It’s another way to gain perspective after a setback. Jenn Scalia faced challenges when she first started her business as a visibility and confidence coach. After dealing with a layoff, divorce and debt, the single mother knew she had to make some changes in her life if she wanted to see improvement. She not only invested in herself through online business and coaching courses, but also did daily practices, which helped her turn things around from $0 to half a million in revenue.

She says, “One of the first practices I committed to was doing daily gratitude. It's really simple and it's a great starting point for anyone who wants to start attracting more abundance in their lives. Every night, I would reflect on all of the amazing things that I experienced in my life. From running water to a compliment from a friend to getting a new client. Gratitude allows you to focus on the positive things in life—a lot of things we take for granted—and put you in a positive, high vibe.”

She continues, “Once daily gratitude became a consistent habit, I started incorporating gratitude for the future. In other words, gratitude for the things I wanted (but didn't have yet). For example, I would give thanks for booking two new clients who paid me in full—even if it didn't happen yet. This is really effective because the mind doesn't know what's true and what's not true. So when you affirm what you want in the present tense, you actually start to believe it.”

So, replace a statement like “I want two new clients this month” with "I am so happy and grateful for two new amazing, paid-in-full clients.” This specific phrasing pulls what you want toward you.

To recap, try grounding practices such as power posing, envisioning your future self in the context of overall life and practicing gratitude. These simple practices will help you get back in the game with more gusto.

Related: 3 Tips to Carry Yourself With Confidence

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