10 Ways to Have More Confident Body Language

Confident mature woman leaning on her desk in a modern office
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People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) often have trouble feeling confident in interactions with others. However, you can boost your confidence by making sure that your body language conveys a positive message about yourself.

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Boost Your Self-Esteem With Your Body Language

Even if you don't feel confident, practicing confident body language can increase your self-esteem and make you feel better about yourself. Below are ten tips to increase your confidence through body language.

  1. Make eye contact. Appear confident by maintaining eye contact in social interactions. Good eye contact shows others that you are interested and comfortable. Look the other person in the eye about 60% of the time. If direct eye contact feels too intimidating, start by looking at a spot close to the person's eyes.
  2. Lean forward. When you are in a conversation, leaning forward indicates interest and attention. While it can be tempting to maintain distance if you are socially anxious, doing so conveys the message that you are disinterested or aloof.
  3. Stand up straight. Don't slouch! Those with social anxiety tend to try and take up as little space as possible, which can mean sitting slumped over in a protective pose. Straighten your back, pull your shoulders away from your ears, and uncross your arms and legs.
  4. Keep your chin up. Do you look at the ground when you are walking? Is your head always down? Instead, walk with your head up and your eyes looking forward. It might feel unnatural at first, but eventually, you will become used to this more confident pose.
  5. Don't fidget. Fidgeting is an obvious sign of anxiety and nervousness. Appear more confident by keeping fidgeting to a minimum. Nervous movements draw attention away from what you are saying and make it hard for others to focus on your message.
  6. Avoid your pockets. Though it can be tempting to shove your hands in your pockets, particularly if you are worried about them shaking, doing so makes you look more anxious and less confident. Keep your hands out of your pockets to look more self-assured.
  7. Slow your movements. Fast movements make you appear more anxious. Everything from hand gestures to your walking stride can make a difference; slow down and notice how you feel more confident.
  8. Take larger steps. As you slow down, try to take longer strides when you walk. Confident people take larger steps and walk with authority. Doing so will make you feel less anxious.
  9. Watch your hands. Be careful about touching your face or your neck; both are indications that you feel anxious, nervous, or afraid. Confident people don't make these types of movements.
  10. Give a firm handshake. How is your handshake? A weak or limp handshake is an obvious sign of a lack of confidence, so work on making sure that you offer a firm hand when meeting others. After practice, it will come naturally.

Still not sure you can muster up the confidence to change your body language? Remember that you don't have to feel confident to change your behavior. Although it might feel strange at first, acting in a confident way will eventually feel more natural and might even boost your self-esteem.

If you really need convincing, have a look at yourself on video; your nervous habits and posture can be easily changed once you identify them.

At the same time, working to reduce your anxiety through other means will also have a natural effect on reducing nervous behaviors. If you have not already been diagnosed with SAD, visit a healthcare professional to learn about your options.

Crippling anxiety that impairs your ability to engage with others is not something that you have to live with. Both cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication have been proven effective in the treatment of social anxiety disorder.

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