Positive thinking is essential to self-confidence and overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking has been scientifically linked to longer lives, lower rates of depression, increased immunity, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. We have been conditioned to think negatively, compare ourselves to others, and get stuck in self-deprecating cycles of worry. It’s all around us, in the news, on your Facebook feed, even in your home.
So how do you make the shift to feeling more positive and confident? Start small, with positive and intentional actions every day. The more you practice positive thoughts and behaviors, the more confident and self-assured you will feel.
10 Positive Habits to Practice
- Make a decision. Don’t consult with a friend about what to order at dinner or call your spouse when shopping for groceries. Make a decision based on what your gut is telling you. It will make you feel stronger and allows you to practice trusting your inner voice.
- Try something new. Confidence doesn’t come from perfection, it comes from effort.
- Gently exercise. Exercise is the most important treatment for anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Just moving your body will break up negative thoughts and boost serotonin. Move your body every day, just be mindful of your energy and never overdo it. A seven minute workout or yoga in your living room will all work.
- Clean up your news feed. Social media that is full of triggers, images, and updates can push you into a bad mood. Start following inspirational or “happy” accounts. HealthyPlace on Facebook or my Guidance Girl page always inspires. Happsters on Instagram, and MindBodyGreen for healthy living tips are also good choices. The more positive images you view the better you will feel.
- Think back over the past week and write down every nice thing others said to you. Review the complements or comments when you’re feeling insecure.
- Make a happy playlist. Music can physiologically changes your brain and body. It can make you breathe faster, increase your pulse, and make you smile. Songs with a quick tempo and uplifting lyrics have been shown to be more effective at bringing out happy emotions. One of my favorites is ‘Happy’ by Pharrell. What are a few on your playlist?
- Say no. Don’t say yes when you want to say no. You’re letting yourself down if you do favors you don’t want to do. Next time someone asks for something that will make you feel funky, and you feel the urge to say “yes,” remind yourself they are asking, not ordering. You will respect yourself more later on.
- Practice posture. Hunching over at your desk can make you less confident and more insecure according to research from Ohio State University. Pull your belly button in towards your spine and pull your shoulders back when sitting or standing.
- Give yourself credit for small, daily accomplishments, even if you are not done. Did you work on cleaning up your closet but still have stacks of clothes to fold? Great, take a moment to focus on what you have done, don’t just wait until a project is finished.
- Get grateful. Write a thank-you note, or call someone to say thanks for meeting with you for lunch last week. People who are mindful of the positives in their life, create more positive energy. Comment on a post you like, email a friend, or even write down what you are grateful for in the moment (try and think of 5 new ones each time).
Remember, small shifts can produce remarkable results. The intention of building more positive thoughts and experiences will undoubtedly increase your self-confidence and self-esteem. One of my favorite affirmations that may help is:
“I am perfectly imperfect. I strive for better while loving all that I am today. In loving myself today, I am better equipped to improve myself tomorrow.”
Share your tips below and take good care.
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.