Confidence is difficult to define and is all relative. For some it can come from getting their inbox to zero while for others it might be fitting back into old jeans. But one thing that is universal is that a lack of confidence can be a downward spiral.
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We’ve all had days when we’re not feeling 100 – filled with self-doubt, anxiety and negativity. While an off day is perfectly normal, if it’s a pattern, then it’s a dangerous cycle that can lead to mental disorders like depression or social anxiety.
Below are 5 simple and easy ways to boost your confidence. Some may seem trivial but even the smallest changes can make a huge difference!
Research has consistently proven that regular exercise is associated with a lower incidence of depression, thanks to the release of feel-good neurotransmitters. Heading to the park, the gym, or taking a group workout class gets you out of the house and interacting with others, which can ease isolation, which is integral to confidence. Not to mention the obvious confidence boost that comes from the physical benefits exercise has.
2. Keep a gratitude journal
Before you roll your eyes, there are a number of social, psychological and physical health benefits that can come from giving thanks regularly – and it just takes the simple act of writing down a couple of things you feel grateful for to get you there.
Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
Savour surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
Don’t overdo it. Writing occasionally (once or twice per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling.
3. Dry brushing
Not just for those with cellulite insecurities (but hey that’s a perk too!) – dry brushing helps speed up the body’s natural detoxification process. It helps encourages your lymph – the fluid that transports and drains pathogens such as bacteria from the tissues in your body – to circulate. This process helps stave off fluid retention, which unknowingly can make you feel lethargic and flat. Another reason to make dry brushing part of your morning routine is to stimulate blood flow throughout your system. On a granular level, it also speeds up the flow of oxygen. All of this healthy circulation has a much-praised result: an increase in the amount of energy you have! Woop!
4. Engage in positive self-talk
It’s true that most of us feel more likely to think negative thoughts about ourselves and our bodies than positive ones, but it’s time to take charge of those thoughts and flip the switch. If your first port of call when you put on your togs to go to the beach is to criticise what you see looking back at you in the mirror, then think about whether or not you’d offer those same thoughts to a friend standing in front of you in her bikini. Chances are, you wouldn’t.
So start supporting yourself in the same way you’d support a friend who was in need of a boost. It’s a hard habit to kick and it can feel really awkward at first (cue actual cringing) but you’ve got to start somewhere for this to all become second nature.
Another tip for switching up the self-talk is to focus on achievements and compliment yourself for those, rather than focusing only on the physical. “You worked really hard to pay for this awesome swimsuit,” or “I’m grateful that I’m fit and healthy and can make the most of the warm weather today” are both examples of expressing confidence in your achievements. They key is to think thoughts that feel genuine, true and most of all, positive.
5. Straighten up
Mum was right: stop slumping and sit up straight. According to research, good posture can foster more confidence, improved mood and positive self-esteem.
Try subtraction, not just addition. One effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, rather than just tallying up all those good things.