Think you're too old to learn new tricks? If you do, read no further.
“Focusing on yourself all the time, on your problems, your worries, is dis-empowering,” says Scottsdale, Ariz. retired therapist Sharon Cotter.
“Take a moment each day to think about what you’ve done to make others feel better, even if it’s something as simple as sending a text of encouragement to a friend.”
If you focus on strengthening your relationships, she says, you feel better about yourself and more connected to the world.
Imagine what someone you admire would do
Dr. Simon Rego, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, says you can use your imagination to boost confidence. “Think of someone you admire for his or her self-confidence and imagine being that person in situations in which you want to be more self-confident,” he says, “Over time and practice, you may not need to imagine anymore.” You’ll have picked up the patterns and habits of this person’s confident manner and claim them for yourself automatically.
Learning martial arts - although the #1 piece of advice instructor Mary Clare Bland would offer believing it to be the “single best system” for self-empowerment - may seem daunting to many, so she suggests her next best system: making a to-do list every day, or at the beginning of every week. Completing the tasks on the list is the same as achieving a new goal, she says. “Done repeatedly, this will build confidence and self-esteem,” notes Bland.
Put more faith, and time, into your natural talents
As a confidence-building strategy, holistic health coach Georgianne Holland encourages recognizing your inherent talents and taking advantage of those natural skills or the things at which you’ve always been good, things that have garnered you compliments, such as organizing, singing or cooking. “Adults are notorious for playing down their natural strengths, rather than using them to the fullest [in a new career],” she says.
If something is easy for us, notes Holland, we think it has less value when, in fact, it’s the opposite. We can use our natural talents not only to forge a new career, but perhaps help a nonprofit (sing at a benefit), or a bereaved friend in need (cook a hot meal). “When we flex our natural strengths, we can feel empowered on a dragging day, as well as support others…This exchange of energy is uplifting for everyone,” she says.
Try this easy strategy, recommended by personal fitness trainer Kusha Karvandi: change your computer passwords to a motivational mantra. For example, Better3veryD@y. “The repetition of typing this password in for various things throughout the day will influence your subconscious mind to take more positive action,” Karvandi says. I've already done this one...love it...
Borrow from the healing practice of India, Ayurveda, and take 10 minutes every day to give yourself a body massage, suggests Merel Martens, a yoga instructor from India. Massage your head, face, shoulders, arms, body, legs and feet. “So often we want to change something about ourselves: gain or lose weight, have longer or shorter legs. By giving yourself a massage, you are giving attention to yourself and your body, learning to appreciate it as it is…Loving yourself is highly empowering,” she says. If you prefer, find a place near you that offers short chair massages, then avail yourself of one when you need it.
Finally, the age-old wisdom of exercise
Take a daily walk or bike ride. Exercise, says Dr. Jennifer Burns of the Bienetre Center in Phoenix, Ariz., “helps raise the good endorphins naturally.” Pick something you enjoy so you will want to do it regularly and clearly see progress from your efforts. “When you know that you can do something well, this also helps boost confidence,” she says. Remember this does not have to be overly time-consuming: 15-30 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week is all it takes.
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