7 Ways to Boost Your Confidence
Having confidence is so important for our general well-being. Self-confidence can impact all areas of life from work to sex to relationships with others and yourself. Here are some ways to boost your confidence and start living your best life.
1. To compare is to despair!
Stop measuring your success with someone else's data. We can all get envious or jealous of someone else's successes or strengths, but that doesn't mean we have to discount our own. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. Remember, most people aren't including their worst of anything on social media. That's their highlight reel. Everyone has a story we don't know or a struggle we'd be surprised about if they told us. We are humans having a human experience and doing the best we can each day.
You only need to measure your progress by your experiences. Let others inspire you, but don't let them bring you down.
Gratitude lists or journals are a really effective way to get out of this habit. If you need help coming up with ideas, let me know. One day, I just listed all the things about my body's abilities I could think of: from teeth that could still chew steak, to legs that still carry me, to the hair on my head. Another day, I appreciated the sunset, someone letting me into traffic, a smile from a stranger at the store. Think hard. Pay attention. There's a lot more positives in a day than we realize.
2. Surround yourself with positive people
Years ago, when I realized I needed to expand my social circle, I decided to think about my values and where people with similar values hang out. I decided that compassion, kindness and openness may best be found in a Buddhist community. So I found one. Being part of an accepting community made me feel I belonged, and being greeted warmly boosted my confidence quite a bit. Who are the people you look up to, and how can you take on more of their traits and find others with similar traits?
3. Take Care of your body
I can hear you groaning already. This is an area I've struggled with too. But, finding ways to improve your sleep, nutrition, and physical movement is integral to how we feel about ourselves. When we are fit, well-rested, and properly fed; we are inclined to show up for ourselves and others with more consistency and generosity.
Hydrate. Exercise. Get out in nature. Eat unprocessed foods. Sleep 7-8 hours. Rest when it's needed. Get massages. Stretch. Take your medicine. Get regular medical care.
4. Take care of your mind
As much as we overlook our bodies, we can also overlook our minds. They get cluttered and filled with minutiae, and that can lower our confidence too. And sometimes we fill our minds up with toxic thoughts or imagery from the internet and movies. Taking time to clear our minds through meditation, prayer, mind dumping (or Morning Pages as it's referred to in The Artist's Way by Julie Cameron) are good ways to clear out the gunk. We want to fire neural pathways that contain happy memories, pleasurable moments and time we felt really good.
Meditate. Journal. Mind dump. Breathe. Listen to guided meditations. Connect with loved ones, send someone a thoughtful card or note, volunteer.
My clients often really struggle with this. We can be so hard on ourselves. When I ask them, "Would you say those things to your best friend?" they always respond with surprise and, "Of course not!" I'm not sure where it was written that we need to beat ourselves up harder than anyone else would, but it happens to many of us. When you make a mistake or something doesn't go as we hoped, it's ok to offer yourself some kindness. Again, I try to think of what I would say to a friend or a child. Would I say, "Well you really messed that up, you're a pretty awful person and you know what, you deserved it!" OMG no!! How would it feel if instead you said to yourself, "Look, I know you wanted that to turn out better, but I got you, Boo. It's ok. We can try again. We can figure it out." I can feel the tension melt with the latter. Tension and criticism doesn't motivate people, especially women.
6. Positive self-talk
This is part of what goes into self-compassion as illustrated above. When we notice our inner critic getting loud, try reframing those thoughts with something more positive. "I can handle this" or even "I'd prefer to have done better, but I can handle it" is much more confidence boosting than "I suck at this" or "I'm awful.."
7. Face some fears
Try challenging yourself outside of your comfort zone. Yes, It can feel very scary but once you do it and survive it, you'll feel 1000 times more confident. Start with smaller things like taking a new route to work or driving more than hour to visit an old friend, or picking a place you can explore on your own like a bookstore or an antique shop you have always wanted to visit. Maybe try going to movie alone or dining alone. Start with breakfast at a diner counter if that feels less intimidating. The first time I travelled alone, I cried all the way there. By the end of my week, I was sad it was over. I did so many things that trip to challenge myself-restaurants, beaches, a local concert, and a whale watch. I felt so brave and proud of myself and have travelled alone since because why wait for someone else in order to do the things I really want to do? You'll learn you are far more capable too with the right challenge and the right mindset.
If you need more coaching on building your confidence, visit me at www.strongwomengetstronger.com