6 Easy Actions You Can Take Today To Feel Confident

6 Easy Actions You Can Take Today To Feel Confident

Because sometimes, affirmations just aren't cutting it.
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Being a college applicant is stressful enough on its own, but throwing in low self-esteem makes an already-difficult thing a whole lot tougher. I know, because the college application process has definitely caused my mental health to suffer, and I have often felt on-edge, anxious, and even sometimes, self-pitying. Why would they even want me at their college? I think. I’m stupid, I’m unworthy, I’m — and it goes on and on. At least, until I do something to challenge it, and make things easier on myself.

College applications are stressful, but they don’t have to be insufferable. In my therapy program, we have a saying: Pain is a part of life; you have to feel pain sometimes, but you don’t have to suffer. This distinction between pain and suffering is really important. It is absolutely natural to have moments where you feel anxious, on-edge, and unconfident, but you don’t have to stay in that headspace. In fact, there are a lot of things you can do to get out of that headspace, and I’m about to name a few, tried-and-approved things I’ve done that have worked for me. Hopefully, they’ll work for you, too.

Method 1: Get a piece of paper. Write down three things that you’re good at. Go do one of them.

Pro-tip: Don’t skip the physical action of writing all three things down. This will help you cement in your mind that, in fact, you are a worthy, talented, intelligent being that brings positive things to the world. And the act of doing something you know that you are good at will further cement that idea. Go bake a cake, go running, write some poetry, or sing!

Method 2: Think of something that you’re bad at. Take one step, right now, to becoming better at it.

Pro-tip: The step doesn’t have to be huge. If you wish you exercised more but you’ve never gone running a day in your life, don’t go out and run five miles. But, maybe consider signing up for that neighborhood 5K in three months. Or take a short, 15-minute walk.

Method 3: Evaluate one of your negative thoughts. Do something right now that contradicts it.

Pro-tip: Sometimes I worry that I’m not kind enough to the people that love me. For me, this method can be as simple as giving my friend a meaningful compliment or expressing my gratitude to someone who’s taken care of me in a time of need. If one of your thoughts is that you are stupid, think of something that interests you and do some online research on it. Discover something new! Or better yet, take a drive to the library and do some reading!

Method 4: Think of someone in your life who knows you very well. Write down on a piece of paper three adjectives you think they would use to describe you to someone else who doesn’t know you at all.

Pro-tip: Imagine that your friend is writing you a dating profile. How would they succinctly summarize the kind of person you are to the world? Be honest; the friend I’m thinking of would definitely describe me as sensitive and softhearted. But, she would also describe me as loving and intelligent. This method might help you realize that the people in your life are in your life specifically because they see something valuable in the kind of person that you are. Let them be your mirror until you get on your feet again.

Method 5: Use a “half-smile.” Imagine that the corners of your mouth are being tugged upwards by an invisible string. Smile like this for a few minutes.

Pro-tip: This method works best when you believe that it will help. There is a biological, psychological response your body has to the sensation of smiling and smiling softly like this will allow you to maintain that response in a way that gets you feeling better. I’ve tried this one many times; it really works!

Method 6: Do the “Superman pose.” Stand with your feet spread apart, your hands on your hips, and lift your head so you are looking above the horizon line. Breathe deeply. Hold for as little as 1 minute and as many as 10.

Pro-tip: Do this in a quiet space, free of distractions, where it is unlikely if even possible that someone will see. Not that you should be ashamed (you’ll look pretty bad-ass), but just so you don’t have to think about it. And make sure to hold the pose steadily, and with confidence. This has helped me many times before a stressful presentation or a standardized test.

I hope that you find this article helpful. And remember: self-doubt is only as strong as you allow it to be. And while pain is a natural part of life, suffering is unnecessary. Don’t choose to make yourself feel worse; go try one of these methods (or all six of them!), and take one good step towards feeling better.

Cover Image Credit: Sebastian Voortman

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I Ghosted My Old Self For 5 Months In An Effort To Reevaluate My Life

My life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

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BREAKING (not fake) NEWS: It's true, you have to hit your lowest before hitting your highest.

I want to share my lowest with you, and I'm almost ashamed to say it had nothing to do with the loss of both of my parents. I like to think I handled that like a warrior.

Turns out I didn't, and the hurt I've been burying from that hit me all at once, the same moment my life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

My life flipped upside down overnight back in August. I had my heart broken shattered, lost two very important friendships that I thought were with me until the end, lost my 9-5 job, my health took a hit stronger than a boulder, and I was absolutely lost. For the first time, ever, I let go of the reigns on my own life. I had no idea how to handle myself, how to make anyone around me happy, how to get out of bed or how to even begin the process of trying to process what the f*ck just happened. I was terrified.

Coming from the girl who never encountered a dilemma she couldn't fix instantaneously, on her own, with no emotional burden. I was checked out from making my life better. So I didn't try. I didn't even think about thinking about trying.

The only relatively understandable way I could think to deal with anything was to not deal with anything. And that's exactly what I did. And it was f*cking amazing.

I went into hiding for a week, then went on a week getaway with my family, regained that feeling of being loved unconditionally, and realized that's all I need. They are all I need. Friends? Nah. Family. Only. Always.

On that vacation, I got a call from the school district that they wanted me in for an interview the day I come home. It was for a position that entailed every single class, combined, that I took in my college career. It was a career that I had just gotten my degree for three months before.

I came home and saw my doctor and got a health plan in order. I was immediately thrown into the month-long hiring process for work. I made it a point to make sunset every single night, alone, to make sure I was mentally caught up and in-check at the same exact speed that my life was turning. I was not about to lose my control again. Not ever.

Since August, I have spent more time with family than ever. I've read over 10 new books, I've discovered so much new music, I went on some of my best, the worst and funniest first dates, I made true, loyal friends that cause me zero stress while completely drowning me in overwhelming amounts of love and support, I got back into yoga, and I started that job and damn near fell more in love with it than I ever was for the guy I lost over the summer.

But most importantly, I changed my mindset. I promised myself to not say a single sentence that has a negative tone to it. I promised myself to think three times before engaging in any type of personal conversation. I promised myself to wake up in a good mood every damn day because I'm alive and that is the only factor I should need to be happy.

Take it from a girl who knew her words were weapons and used them frequently before deciding to turn every aspect of her life into positivity — even in the midst of losing one of my closest family members. I have been told multiple times, by people so dear to me that I'm "glowing." You know what I said back? F*ck yes I am, and I deserve to.

I am so happy with myself and it has nothing to do with the things around me. It's so much deeper than that, and I'm beaming with pride. Of myself. For myself.

I want to leave you with these thoughts that those people who have hurt me, left me, and loved me through these last couple of months have taught me

Growth is sometimes a lonely process.
Some things go too deep to ever be forgotten.
You need to give yourself the permission to be happy right now.
You outgrow people you thought you couldn't live without, and you're not the one to blame for that. You're growing.
Sometimes it takes your break down to reach your breakthrough.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

My god, it's so f*cking good.

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7 Simple Activities You Can Do To Calm Your Mind

Find your inner zen during a busy school semester.

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We all have weeks that are more intense than others. Sometimes our body craves an outlet where we can release the built-up stress. Now, I know it is still the beginning of the semester and you may not have too much on your plate at the moment however one thing you do know is that once school picks up, it really picks up.

As I said before, these next couple of activities are great for keeping your brain sane. If you start making the time for them when you're schedule isn't as jam-packed as it will be later on in the semester, you will create a habit and eventually will make the effort to find the time to partake in these activities once it does. I have personally found that the ones that require creative energy are the most therapeutic. Something to keep in mind is that you don't need to be artistically talented to be creative, it's all about the thought!

Try out these next couple of activities when you feel you need to get away.

1. Paint on canvas.

Wether it's painting a portrait or just splattering on paint and different patterns, the calming state of mind that painting on canvas brings you is absolutely amazing.

2. Reading a book outside.

Just think about it. In your hands is a book, a magazine, even a newspaper and the cool, spring wind is blowing in your hair, you are filling your body with fresh air instead of the air in your tiny apartment bedroom. It's a relaxing time. You are enjoying yourself.

3. Hit the gym.

Put on your favorite playlist and hop on to a spin bike, the elliptical, absolutely any cardio machine in the gym and just listen to your entire playlist while getting your daily dose of exercise in. For those who dread the gym, if you have good music blasting in your ear, you'll completely forget about the fact that you're working out.

4. Journal.

I am an avid fan of journaling. It allows for you to dissect into your own thoughts and expand on your mentality. It's great mental exercise.

5. Doodle with a sharpie.

I know this sounds basic and you're probably wondering why I emphasized doodling with a sharpie, but the way a sharpie goes on to the paper is very relaxing. I'm laughing as I type this, but believe me, it's fun.

6. Do some yoga.

You don't have to be an expert in yoga in order to enjoy it. Start with some breathing exercises and then move your way up the yoga ladder.

7. Organize your room.

Chances are, half of your stress comes from the fact that your room is a mess. Turn on some music, and get organizing. I promise, once your room is in great shape, your mind will be a lot more calm.

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