8 Psychological Tricks That Can Make You More Socially Confident Almost Instantly

Loosen up and let go of unhelpful thoughts.

Socially confident man, engaging with a group of others Nicolas Menijes | Canva Pro

Lasting freedom from unnecessary anxieties and social fears lies in developing a practice of letting go of unhelpful thoughts. That’s foundational. Sometimes, however, it helps to have more superficial hacks in the toolbox, which we can use to loosen up as needed.

The eight psychological tricks that can instantly make you more socially confident:

1. Imagine other people as hairless chimps

Or some variation on other people as less than frightening. It’s a funny vision and one that’s not far from the truth. How we see things has an immediate impact on our experience of others. If we view people as dangerous sources of stress and judgment, we’ll feel the reality of those thoughts. If we see that people are fairly harmless — as worried and flawed as you are — there’s a lot less to be concerned about.


Hairless chimp Tony Campbell / Shutterstock

2. Try laughter yoga

Even forced laughter can lift our spirits and release positive endorphins. It also functions to shake out physical tension. In India, where laughter yoga is practiced more widely, groups of people get together to laugh to de-stress, connect, and feel more confident. Get yourself in front of some comedy before doing something that makes you nervous. Or just let loose and laugh like a clown, even if you have to do it in the bathroom in private. Tell me this doesn’t make you feel better.


RELATED: 5 Reasons Why Laughing Every Day Makes You Way Healthier

3. Walk fractionally taller

Small shifts can go a long way. Our self-perception takes cues from our physical movements and stances. It’s a loop. Walk and move as though you’re calm and happy. Have fun with this. Be a little ridiculous. Turn the confidence meter up and down and see how it makes you feel. You can hijack your thinking and kickstart more positive thoughts without effort. It starts with your physical demeanor. Lean in. Be the confident version of yourself without thinking about it, and that’s who you’ll be.

4. Stop trying to be confident

The sheer act of ‘trying’ anything — trying to be someone you’re not — only emphasizes the reality that you are not there yet. Trying to do something ensures you will do it self-consciously. Self-consciousness diminishes your performance instantly, which makes you less confident. Take advice on how to be confident with a pinch of salt. Absorb the ideas and understand what confidence looks and feels like but then drop it all. Relax into not needing to do anything, and you will find your confidence flowing out.

RELATED: Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid To Just Be Yourself


5. Slow down everything

One of the best pieces of advice I got about social anxiety was to slow down my talking. Nervousness can spark us into speeding things up to compensate for our feeling out of control. Slowing down our speech, breath, and movements brings you into the present. Take three long slow breaths, for example. It makes life easier because we do not have to process so much. When we move slowly, our thoughts slow too, which is vital because fast thoughts are at the heart of anxiety.

6. Find one thing you like about someone

Many of us get socially anxious because we’re thinking obsessively about how we come across. "Do I look weird?" "Can they see my sweat?" "I just said something dumb — I knew it!" Of course, you’ll be nervous when the spotlight is directly pointed at you, and you’re frying in the heat like a bug. Change it around. Ask the question, "What do I like about people/this person?" This instantly gets you curious, with your attention elsewhere. When attention is on something else, anxiety drops.

7. Breathe in and out from your belly

Many of our tension and worries are trapped in the belly and hips. We know this because it’s a normal human response to lock our stomachs when we feel scared as a safety mechanism to protect our guts from punches. So we can create unnecessary tension when afraid. This is the last thing you want because to be relaxed and creative and enjoy yourself requires looseness.


Find a moment to stand up, lean back, and breathe in and out of your belly. You’ll find it begins to shake as you breathe out. Try different positions. Shake your arms out. Dance. Thrust your hips. Watch your tension release and your joy return.

RELATED: 14 Super-Simple Ways To Relieve Stress In 5 Minutes Or Less

8. Flex your social muscle

If we move through our day acting as though we’re trying to avoid human interaction like a frightened bunny rabbit, what does that do to our self-perception? That’s right. It reinforces the reality that you’re not social. None of us is not social. It’s in your head. You need to start flexing that social muscle and shifting the image you have of being disconnected. 

My nervousness around people growing up — I’ve since learned — is the direct result of my taking connections seriously. I wanted to connect. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be social. We all do. So start taking small steps to become more social, like reaching out to people, starting conversations, complimenting people, and asking questions. Take steps slowly if you need to. Re-ignite the interest and sense of connection you have for others. They’re not so bad. Watch your confidence return. It was there all along.


RELATED: 10 Scientific Ways To Massively Boost Your Confidence

Alex Mathers is a writer and coach who helps you build a money-making personal brand with your knowledge and skills while staying mentally resilient.