By Arianna Davis and Emma Haak
Simple rules for boosting self-esteem -- now achievable in one hour or less.
If you have... 1 second:
Sit up straight. Research suggests that people with good posture have more confidence in their thoughts than slouchers.
Practice Good Scents. One study found that women felt more confident in social, business and romantic situations when wearing perfume.
Knock Wood. Psychologists have shown that embracing superstitions and carrying good luck charms can help you perform tasks better.
Nod Along. When you nod your head while listening to someone, research has shown that your belief in what you're thinking is heightened.
Flirt. Social psychologist Laura Kray, PhD, has demonstrated that smiling, laughing and engaging in slight physical contact when negotiating can help you win the day.
Get pumped. For a quick shot in the arm, life and business strategist Tony Robbins practices a unique ritual--and, crazy as it sounds, it works. Shake out your body, clench your hands like claws, and rock back and forth, breathing in and out quickly. Stop moving, then shake out your body again. Now clap, shout the word "Yes!" five times--and head out there to face the world.
Strike a Pose. Standing for two minutes in a "power pose"--think of Wonder Woman, with her feet flat on the ground, shoulders square, and hands on her hips--can help you feel 40 percent more powerful than sitting with your arms crossed.
Focus on your breathing. Those who regularly practice Buddhist mindfulness meditation report increased self-acceptance.
Grab a cup of joe. One more reason to love your latte: 100 milligrams of caffeine has been shown to increase alertness, energy and confidence.
Break a sweat. Science long ago proved that exercise enhances your mood--but did you know that a 20-minute workout can sharpen your state of mind for a whopping 12 hours?
<strong>Assemble a confidence toolbox.</strong> Carol Dweck, PhD -- professor of psychology at Stanford University and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success -- says that a well-chosen array of objects can give you a major morale boost. (Provided you keep them hidden away "in a drawer or on a bookshelf," says Dweck, "so that when you come upon them or seek them out, their associations are still potent.") Here's what to include in your collection: <em>Proof that you can be bold.</em> Did you keep the phone number your now husband gave you--after you asked him out? Or the party hat you wore when you started a conga line at a friend's birthday bash? "Letting loose makes you feel assertive," says Dweck, so hang on to evidence that you know how to bust out of your shell. <em>A photo of those closest to you.</em> "Feeling loved is a source of strength," says Dweck -- in part because it provides a social safety net: You're more likely to take a leap when you know there are people who will catch you if you fall. A symbol of a new endeavor, like a French-to-English dictionary if you're learning a language, or a snapshot if you're taking up photography. "You can derive confidence from the fact that you're pushing yourself," Dweck says. <em>A token of improvement.</em> Were you once hopeless at finishing crosswords, but now you're acing the Sunday edition? Or maybe you couldn't run a block six months ago but you just completed a 5K. If so, don't pitch that puzzle or your number from the race. Quantifiable achievements provide an instant jolt of self-esteem because they make it easy to measure progress. <em>A biography or magazine profile of your idol</em>. Dweck has her students research personal heroes to learn how they became successful. "The students get inspired because they see that everyone has setbacks," she says. <em>An invitation to an upcoming social event. </em> Reminders of future get-togethers bring to mind relationships with loved ones. And, says Dweck, "looking forward to something keeps you focused on good things to come." <em>A token from a time you were there for someone ...</em> say, a thank-you note from a friend. "Contributing to another person's life boosts self-esteem, especially when it helps them make progress toward their own goals," says Dweck.