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.

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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40 Little Things That Make Life Worth Living

For the days when it feels like there aren't any.

This is for when you fail that test. For when you oversleep again and miss the test altogether. For when you don't get the job you wanted, even though you thought the interview went well. For when you spill coffee on your impeccably-ironed white blouse before the most important interview of your life. For when the person you love breaks your heart. For when you break your own.

Here are 40 little things that make life worth living, for the days when it feels like there aren't any.

1. Hugging your loved one so tight neither one of you can breathe.

2. Seeing couples reunite at the airport.

3. Taking the long route home just to listen to your favorite playlist for a little longer.

4. The smile someone gives you when you accidentally meet their gaze.

5. Black and white photos of your parents.

6. Lying in bed during a thunderstorm. Listening to the rain crash down on the windows. Feeling peace in the violent renewal.

7. Autumn leaves the color of Merlot, and sunlight, and your favorite dark lipstick.

8. First kisses. The lingering glances. The simmering curiosity. The delicate innocence of it all.

9. Laughing so hard your sides hurt.

10. The realization that you’re falling in love again.

11. The restoration of the belief that it’s possible to fall in love again.

12. The jolt in your chest when you think about them.

13. Fresh sheets.

14. Peonies in the spring.

15. The garden scene in Notting Hill.

16. Bonfires at the end of summer.

17. Sunsets.

18. Sunrises.

19. Cities that are so beautiful and beyond anything you ever imagined you feel the strange and sudden urge to cry.

20. Looking around at a concert and realizing that 80,000 strangers have felt the way you’ve felt.

21. Friendships that are bursts of positivity in your life.

22. Dancing until you’re sweating and your feet are aching and you’re feeling more alive than ever.

23. Going out to get breakfast in the middle of the night.

24. Coffee on a Saturday morning. The unhurried walk into the kitchen. The smell of French roast suffusing the room. The caffeine coursing through your veins.

25. Cozying up in front of the fireplace with a blanket, fuzzy socks, and a mug of hot chocolate (with extra marshmallows, always).

26. Burning a new candle.

27. Watching the clouds of your first winter breath hang in the air.

28. Laundry that’s still warm from the dryer.

29. Boys that smell like fresh laundry.

30. Boys whose laughs could cure all the heartache in the world.

31. People who laugh. A lot. Even when their heart aches.

32. Watching your favorite show while taking a bath and noticing how all the words adopt an otherworldly echo.

33. Opening up a new bottle of shampoo and letting the scent of sandalwood and vanilla permeate the space.

34. Opening up a bottle of your favorite wine.

35. Watching a scene in your favorite TV show that brings you so much joy you can’t contain yourself.

36. Watching a scene in your favorite TV show that shatters your heart.

37. Hearing a song that you feel with every fiber of your being.

38. The crispness of the air on the nights where you can see all the stars.

39. Text messages from unexpected people.

40. The kindness of strangers.

Simply wanting to live can be the most impossible goal sometimes. But we have to remember that even on the days when nothing seems to be going our way, there are always things in life that are beautiful. There are always things to anticipate and appreciate. There are always things to live for.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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15 Things You Can Do To Make A Bad Day A Little Better

Everyone has bad days now and then.

Bad days can begin immediately after you open your eyes in the morning or halfway through the afternoon. Either way, they're not fun. They're stressful and overwhelming and sometimes just sad. Most bad days are not easily fixable. But maybe, with the help of these tips, you can go to bed feeling just a little bit better.

1. Stay off of social media.

2. Drink some water.

3. Read your favorite book.

4. Open a window to let in fresh air and natural light.

5. Eat something you like.

6. Wash your bed sheets.

7. Make your bed.

8. Exercise. Go on a run, stretch in your room, or meditate.

9. Make some tea or hot chocolate.

10. Clean your room.

11. Go on a walk.

12. Listen to your favorite music.

13. Take a shower or a bath.

14. Wash your face or try a face mask.

15. Journal. Try doodling, writing poetry, or listing your gratitudes.

Cover Image Credit: pexels.com

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