8 ways to trick yourself into feeling confident, even when you're not

evie lovesick
Feeling good about yourself starts from within.

Self-confidence is widely considered one of the most attractive qualities anyone can have. Studies claim that self-confidence can improve your chances of getting a job, help score you more dates than simply being attractive can, and even result in higher grades. Unfortunately, feeling confident in yourself is usually much easier said than done. Few people are blessed with the ability to feel good about themselves almost all the time, and even for them, it can sometimes take work. The good news is that it’s certainly not impossible, and the way to get there might just be to fake it ’til you make it. There are certain ways to trick yourself into feeling more confident, and we talked to a body confidence coach to learn them all.

INSIDER spoke with body confidence coach Michelle Elman. Michelle uses social media to share advice with her followers on how to feel more confident every day. Her Instagram page (@scarrednotscared) is full of inspiring quotes that aren’t cheesy, along with real photos of herself that promote body acceptance and positivity.

We asked Elman for her best tips for feeling confident and body positive. 

Think about the days you did feel confident

Woman Thinking
Channel that good energy.
Bruce Dixon/Unsplash

Just like we all have moments where we feel down on ourselves, we also all have moments where we look in the mirror and think, "Dang, I look good." On the days you're not feeling super confident, try to remember that one time you did.

Think about how you felt and channel that energy. Michelle told INSIDER, "Ask yourself one simple question: 'How would I be acting right now if I was feeling great?' What would you be doing, how would you be standing, how would you be breathing?"

Try to get yourself into that mindset again, or at least pretend you're there.

Adjust your posture

Sit up straight.
Lindsay Mack

Amy Cuddy's wildly popular Ted Talk from 2012 explained the way your posture affects how you feel, using "power poses" as a tip to increase self-confidence. Slumping can make you feel more sad, while sitting up straight and holding your head high can make you feel instantly more powerful.

Michelle told INSIDER something similar: "Changing how you are positioning your body tricks your mind into holding the emotion that you would hold in a more upright posture." The next time you're feeling particularly down, try correcting your posture.

Repeat a positive affirmation

thumbs up positive thinking
Have some words of wisdom handy.
Unsplash.com/Nghia Le

Keeping a positive affirmation tucked away in your mind is always a good idea — pulling it out when you need it can help you feel good about yourself. Think of something that works for you. You can look for ideas online or just think up something on your own.

The phrase definitely doesn't need to be complicated or long. Michelle told INSIDER, "When I feel scared, I say, 'You've got this.'"

Simple as that. Repeat it in your head until you actually feel it.

Refuse to talk negatively about yourself

Woman laughing face makeup smile
Cancel that negative talk.
Unsplash/Kim Carpenter

The main reason many of us don't feel confident is that we don't really let ourselves. We are, after all, our own worst critics. There are tons of things we say to ourselves that we would never even think of saying to anyone else (except maybe our worst enemies).

When you feel those thoughts coming on, actively push them away. Michelle told INSIDER, "I don't actually believe in 'faking confidence' in that if you are acting and behaving confident, then you are confident. While me not talking negatively about myself led to this portal of confidence, and I, in a way, 'faked' it, it also wasn't faking it because when you don't vocalize those thoughts, those thoughts actually [decreased], so I actually was more confident."

Every time you think something bad about yourself, immediately think of something good to counteract it.

Learn how to accept criticism

women hugging
It's never going to feel good but you can't let it ruin you.
Christopher Furlong / Getty

Although most confidence issues come from within, sometimes a particularly bad self-esteem day can come from the way others treat you. You can't let them bring you down all the time. In order to get past this, accept that criticism sucks and learn how to move past it.

Michelle told INSIDER, "It's okay to accept that it made you sad, acknowledge the feeling, and let yourself feel it." Pushing away those feelings is only a band-aid on a larger problem.

Practice different breathing patterns

meditation breathing relaxed nature
Focus on breath.
Unsplash/Kosal Ley

Just like adjusting your posture can change your attitude, so can specific breathing techniques. When you're feeling anxious, you're often told to breathe deeply and slowly to calm yourself down. Something similar can make you feel a little bit more confident at times, especially in nerve-wracking moments.

Michelle told INSIDER, "There is no specific breathing technique here. The question to ask yourself is, 'how would I be breathing right now if I was at my most confident?'"

Think about it, then go from there.

Wear something that makes you feel good

Rock your favorite outfit.
Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

You probably have one thing in mind that you know makes you feel more confident. Maybe it's a dress you think you look great in, or maybe it's a certain lipstick that gives you a power boost.

Michelle told INSIDER, "I warn away from suggesting clothing items or beauty products to improve your body image, but if there is something you can wear that will make you feel more positive, go for it!"

You shouldn't always be dependent on certain items to feel confident, but if they can help get you there in the long run, work it.

Let yourself have bad days sometimes

couple hugging
It's OK to not be OK.
Unsplash/Pablo Heimplatz

Again, it's important to remember that confidence is a lifelong journey. It won't always be easy, even if you work really hard at it — and that's okay.

If you're having a day where you feel terrible, sometimes you just need to let them happen and move on, pretending they didn't mean anything - and eventually, they won't. Michelle told INSIDER, "Just because I think something doesn't mean I believe it. I have gotten to a point where I don't fight my thoughts and I let them exist. In doing that, they go as quickly as they came."

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