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There’s no doubt that you—like me, like all women—have gone through times when your confidence levels were really low. We live in a world where expectations and demands are high, and our drive to “do it all” brings out the perfectionist side in us. So when things don’t go well, for whatever reason, it can chip away at our confidence and self-esteem.

I’ve had plenty of times in my life when this has happened. It happened when I was young and felt less confident because of my skin condition, and it’s happened in my career as well. After all, isn’t there a little voice inside all of us that questions us that whispers: “Am I doing this right?”

Confidence, of course, isn’t something that you develop overnight. And it’s not always easy to put your finger on why you may feel a certain way. But what I have come to learn is that confidence, like so many other things in life, can be addressed with strategy. So yes, while time, wisdom, and experience are all part of the confidence-boosting cocktail, I also think it’s something you can develop over time using tools and tactics.

When you use these tools for improving your mental state and self-esteem, you will see they can change the way you think and act, as well as your overall outlook on life. And that will do wonders for your home life, your work life, your social relationships and even for developing a stronger connection with yourself.

Here are five of my favorite tools that you can use to boost your confidence:

The 1-Second Boost: A Visual Cue

Make sure to keep a photo near you of something that makes you happy. Glance at it and feel what it does for your mental state. Having reminders about what makes you happy can go a long way in simply reinforcing those joyous and happy parts of your life.

Self-esteem, in general, is greatly tied to your overall mental health. If you feel good, you’re more likely to have a feeling of self-assurance. Having a positive disposition lends itself to being active and socializing and adapting to a healthier lifestyle. Here are other ways to give yourself jolts of positivity throughout the day:

 

  • Do one daily activity for yourself that makes you happy
  • Remind yourself what you have accomplished, not always what is yet to be tackled
  • Think ahead to activities and future plans that excite you
  • Give compliments, and accept them too

The 1-Minute Boost: Mindful Deep Breaths

Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. Think of nothing else except those breaths to firmly root yourself in the moment. Mindfulness, of course, is the act of being fully present and taking note of where you are, what your body wants, and how to address these needs.

Simply taking time to remove yourself from everyday stresses and compartmentalizing can help manage the swirling vortex of day-to-day tasks. Stress, of course, is one of life’s big confidence busters, as it leads to muddled thoughts, anxiety, and frustration. Stop for a minute. Take a break. Try to catch all negative or overwhelming thoughts and be present in the moment.

You can also expand on this idea and practice mindfulness in the form of meditation, which can bring mental clarity and emotional stability. This will help you relax, even if just for a minute. The best way to do this: Sit down, gently drop your gaze, and focus on your breathing. This helps promote mindfulness and can help build confidence.

The Do-It-For-You Boost: Self-care Starters

Draw a bath, eat a favorite meal, watch the show you want, or take a walk with a friend. Self-care often gets dropped to the bottom of your to-do list. But what I have found is that when you can carve out time for self-care, that brings out the best of you to accomplish everything else you want in your life. And that goes a long way in making you feel strong and confident.

Yes, it can be difficult to make time for yourself, but self-care must be an intentional exercise that you think about with purpose to ensure that you take part in activities that calm and refresh you for both your physical well-being and your mental strength. These self-care activities can include sleeping, exercising, and spending time with loved ones.

Looking at the association between self-care behavior and mental well-being, research has shown that the more we show compassion for ourselves, the greater our mental health improves. Regardless of the activity, taking time for yourself, and fostering self-care, can not only improve mental health, but it can also improve your relationship with others and lead to an increase in confidence.

The Beauty Boost: Look Better, Feel Better

How we look, how we care for ourselves, and how we feel can all play a major role in our perception of beauty. While true beauty comes from the inside, there’s no doubt that our physical appearance can greatly impact our confidence.

Americans spend billions of dollars on beauty products. In fact, during the recession a decade ago there was a phenomenon known as the “Lipstick Effect.” Women, no matter financial states, continued purchasing beauty products despite their financial troubles. While this shows the power that beauty has in our lives, it’s important to remember that beauty isn’t just about skin and hair products; it’s about developing an inner-to-outer glow that stems from good nutrition, exercise, and other ways that we take care of our bodies—all of which influence our perception of our own beauty.

While I can’t give you the perfect beauty formula that will make you feel good, I would encourage you to spend some time thinking about what really drives your sense of beauty—not just on the outside, but from the inside as well.

The 20-Minute Boost: Sweat It Out

Mental health and physical health go together like coffee and MCT oil—a perfect match. If your mental health is strong and you have a positive outlook, you are more likely to take better care of yourself physically. Additionally, if you have health problems, your mental health may suffer. That’s why a regular and consistent exercise routine is important. Not to mention, I love exercising because of how empowered I feel when I’m done.

I’ve found that just one session super-charges my confidence, and it doesn’t have to take that long to feel the effects. In fact, just the other day, I did a workout in which I really pushed myself in one particular exercise (these were deadlifts, by the way, which are great for your legs and glutes). I didn’t think I would be able to push through, but I did, and it felt amazing. The high I got after that small success, and the strength I felt after I was done, was just a wow moment for me. I felt good, I felt strong, and I felt confident.

Don’t underestimate the power that one small success can have on how you feel—and who you are.

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