Recently I had a relatively perfect day. My work flowed, my health was good, my loved ones were happy and safe. Then boom. The small voice inside my head started screaming. Do you think you are the right person for this? What are you thinking? You are not cut off from what lies ahead. These ego thoughts, all based on scarcity and fear, poured in. It was as if everything I had done to build confidence came crashing down with my spinning thoughts.
What I have learned in my more than 40 years is the wild voice of negativity and self-doubt just happens, I believe in all of us. It can come in like a tornado – and there is often no clear way to predict it. But at the same time, self-confidence can always shine back. The key is to cultivate and nurture it. When we do this, we push back against the self-sabotaging energy and negative societal conditioning and reclaim a power that is all ours.
Featured Image by Michelle Nash.
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5 Game-Changing Tips to Build Confidence
Over the years I have gathered everything I can to help me through these bouts of low confidence and honor my power. These following five tricks – you can call them life hacks, simple supportive practiceor self-care exercises – are the tactics that always help me build confidence. They’re free, instant, and easy—and I promise they’ll help you pull yourself out the next time you find yourself in negative self-talk.
1. Practice Power Pose
This exercise, which is a Camille’s favorite, does the job – every single time. And all thanks to the brilliant social psychologist Amy Cuddy. The power pose theory is simple but revolutionary: You position yourself in a way where your arms are high, your chest is lifted, and your legs are spread out and firmly on the ground to make yourself bigger.
Cuddy claims that our body language and the way we carry our physical bodies has a huge impact on how we see ourselves (and how others see us). You could say Cuddy started a revolution with her position of power after her 2010 Ted Talk, which has more than 22 million views. In the talk, Cuddy explains how her research findings revealed that a physiological change occurred after people did this pose, including a drop in the stress hormone cortisol.
Cuddy’s research has had a huge impact on me. I do the power post at least once a week. Before a meeting or an interview, I step into my bathroom, look in the mirror and hold my arms up. But where it most comes into the fold is when I feel low. A quick pose and my confidence surges back.
2. Go on a Hot Girl Walk
For the past two years or so, TikTok has been abuzz with the fitness trend, hot girl walks—or as Mia Lind officially coined it, the Hot Girl Walk™—and for good reason. Just as the name suggests, a hot girl walk encourages a positive, self-affirming, loving state of mind while doing one of the most beneficial forms of exercise. You go for a walk and think wonderful things about yourself: I am beautiful. I’m sexy. I love my body.
Lind started this trend in 2020 when she started walking for her mental and physical health. When she put a positive and structured spin on what she would allow herself to think as she walked, she found that she always came out of a funk and into a place of empowerment. Her concept took off. This exercise has easily become one of the most accessible and effective ways to tap into my inner confidence. No matter where I am, I will take five to ten minutes, put on a positive song and walk on the sidewalk.
3. Do a mental declutter
When negative thoughts enter my mind, I have learned to see them as physical objects. This helps me imagine physical pushing these thoughts out of my mind to make room for confidence to fill the void. It’s a unique practice I’ve come to lean on after finding inspiration from the author and the therapist Peggy Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons is an expert on what she calls “mental clutter,” and believes that our ego mind, which fuels negative self-talk and suppresses confidence, can keep us in a trance.
In short: When we start to think “you’re not good enough”, we really believe it and live it. On the other hand, when we take the time to observe our thoughts, we find room for choice – i.e. we realize that we don’t have to let that thought overtake us. So when a wave of negativity takes over, Fitzsimmons says we need to observe what we’re thinking. If our thoughts don’t serve us or make us feel good, push them away and choose to think about something positive instead.
I love this practice. I used to believe that if a self-sabotaging thought entered my mind, I was its hostage. Not anymore. When this happens, I witness it for a moment and then push the thought out of my mind. Then I choose a happier picture. Almost instantly, my confidence swells.
4. Talk to yourself like a friend
We are always there to say nice things to a friend, especially if they are in a bad mood. But how often do we talk to ourselves this way? Psychologist Dr. Kirsten Neff doesn’t believe often enough – and she’s out to change this. Dr. Neff feels we need more self-compassion. This means we treat ourselves with concern, warmth and support just as we would a loved one. Basically, it’s about how we treat ourselves during tough times, and it’s a key to boosting self-confidence. One practice is literally speaking to yourself as you would to a friend. You can look in the mirror and say things like, “You’re amazing.” “You’ve been through such hard times, you can get through this.” “You are a brilliant, kind, unique soul.”
I have used Dr. Neff’s practice, and it has always helped me climb out of a funk and into the confidence light. In truth, sometimes I’ve laughed at myself while doing this. But it helps me realize that if I’m feeling positive self-talk, it’s kind of silly (albeit healthy), negative self hatred is a direct waste of time.
5. Immerse yourself in nature
We all know it: Nature is the ultimate confidence booster and stress buster. Study after study shows the physical and mental benefits of walk in the forest, touch a tree or simply look out into a field. The research spans centuries and countries, starts as far back as the origins of Ayurveda, and has recently received the Western attention it deserves: We are one with our environments, and thus nature can help lift our spirits.
The surrounding earth reminds me that my time here is fleeting, so I must try to lean into it with gratitude and positivity as much as I can.
When I lack confidence, I put down whatever I’m doing at the moment, put on a coat, step outside and walk anywhere there are trees. Ideally, I immerse myself in a forest. But if I’m in a city, I’ll look for greenery wherever it is and make sure to look up at the trees and touch the leaves. I will instantly feel a release of tension and a swell with positivity. I will also feel humbled. The surrounding earth reminds me that my time here is fleeting, so I must try to lean into it with gratitude and positivity as much as I can.