1. Straighten up. A recent Ohio State University study found that the simple act of sitting up straight and adjusting your posture can significantly boost your confidence.
2. Note the positives. Look in a full-size mirror and pick five things that you feel good about, recommends Leslie Sokol, PhD, coauthor of Think Confident, Be Confident. Make note of both your physical attributes (eyes, lips, hair, nails, legs, feet, toes, smile) and your style (hairdo, clothing, stance, makeup, shoes, jewelry).
3. Break a sweat (or not). Go for a quick stroll around the block when you're feeling down. The simple act of exercise (doesn't matter how long, how intense or how often) gives you an instant body image boost, according to University of Florida research.
4. Get a haircut. Although it may seem trite, a new 'do is a quick way to feel better, says , PhD, author of Complete Confidence. Changing your look or just indulging in a little "me" time can up your self-esteem in a big way.
5. Schedule a girls' night. In a recent Tupperware survey for their Chain of Confidence campaign, 85 percent of respondents, age 18 and older, said that a supportive network of female friends is more likely to make them feel confident in the long run compared to looking attractive.
6. Lend a hand. If you want to build your confidence in a big way, volunteer for an organization or group that needs help, says , PhD, author of The Book of No. The gratitude you receive will reinforce your self-worth immediately. Check out or to find an opportunity in your area.
7. Look on the bright side. Think back to the most recent experience where you think you fell short or messed up, and force yourself to name a few things that went right, suggests Marci Fox, PhD, coauthor of Think Confident, Be Confident. Burned that batch of cookies? Maybe, but did you get to spend some quality time with your kids and finish a knitting project while waiting for the treats to bake?
8. Make a list. Avoiding things that are stressing you out increases anxiety and cuts down confidence, says Dr. Hankin. Write down anything that may fall into this category, such as calling people back or paying bills. Start with just three things and do them today.
9. Set a (small) goal. One of the most effective ways to build self-confidence is to break down large goals into small, doable action steps, says Sharon Fountain, president of the . For example, if you're trying to shape up and lose weight, make it a goal to eat at least three servings of veggies today.
10. Try something new. Tackling something you're scared to do or something that seems difficult increases your sense of well-being, explains Dr. Newman. A few suggestions to get started: Learn a new language, try flower arranging, take a tango class or register for a night class at a local community college in a subject that interests you.