The New York Times

Practical Ways to Improve Your Confidence (and Why You Should)

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Self-confidence is a bit like the running water in your house. You may not know every detail about how it works or where it comes from, but it’s painfully obvious when it’s not there. Like when your water is shut off, a dearth of self-confidence has a huge negative impact on your health and lifestyle. Fortunately, there are things you can do to shore it up.

What is confidence?

In everyday conversation, self-confidence is often confused with self-esteem, and it overlaps with the less well-known term “self-efficacy.” However, psychology gives each of these terms a specific definition. It’s helpful to distinguish among the three:

■ : This term, as defined by , refers to your belief in your ability to accomplish specific tasks. If you believe you’re capable of cooking dinner or completing a project, this is reflective of high self-efficacy. People with low self-efficacy often put less effort into a

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