Just be confident! We’ve all heard that advice more than once in our lives. And though we may understand the general idea behind those two simple words, the process of making them a reality often escape us.
Even if we’ve achieved some semblance of confidence in certain aspects of our life—work, for example—we may not be able to extend that confidence to the unexpected and challenging situations life can throw at us.
How do you stay confident when you run into an ex who started dating someone younger? Can you stay confident around the woman at the gym who is always showing off her perfect abs? What about staying confident when your family is dealing with money issues? Sometimes it’s tough, but I like to keep my game face on, just like the gorgeous and timeless Jennifer Lopez does in this photo (captured by Mario Testino for V Magazine).
Here are five tips I used to keep my confidence high throughout the day.
1. Power pose your confidence into high gear
Never underestimate the power of body language: an easy trick to boost confidence in any situation is to power pose. By posing in a strong, open position and pretending to be powerful, you can actually “self-talk” your body and mind into feeling confident.
In a recent TED talk, social psychologist Amy Cuddy explained how to use power poses just a few minutes before you need a confidence boost: standing with both hands in the air and feet spread wide. The goal is to take up as much space as possible. Pump your fists up and down and visualize yourself succeeding for two minutes. You’ll be amazed at the confidence you can achieve with this simple exercise. Try it before a date, an interview, or a challenging conversation with your mother-in-law.
2. Trust what you’ve learned
“Trust what you’ve learned” is incredibly important and well worth putting faith in. The simple fact is: experience matters. It matters because it gives you the ability to see what’s around the next corner even before you’ve turned it. No, you can’t see the future, but you’ve been down similar roads and turned similar corners many times in the past. All it takes is a bit of confidence in the knowledge you’ve gained along the way.
Instead of questioning what you know, trust your instincts. Reaffirm your skills by taking a few minutes each day and saying to yourself, “I value my experience and, because of it, I can tackle any situation.” Never forget that your experience is worth its weight in gold.
3. Boost your confidence with endorphins
The inimitable Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” Simplicity aside, there is a grain of truth hidden under all that comedy.
Yes, exercise makes us look better on the outside, but it can also have a profound effect on our mood and behavior. Even a quick twenty-minute exercise can boost your mood, improve your body image, and leave you feeling accomplished.
According to the Daily Mail, women believe they look healthier after working out, even if that workout didn’t actually make them more fit. The bottom line? When you feel good about yourself, when you feel confident—even if it’s just in your mind—that confidence shows in everything you do.
4. Wear your confidence on your sleeve
Style is a work in progress that, like everything else, changes over time. Case in point: that miniskirt you wore when you were twenty isn’t the statement you want to make when going to dinner at a five star restaurant. Your style has changed.
As you age and experience more of life’s wonderful situations—business meetings, expensive lunches, first dates, last dates, holidays with the in-laws—your style should adapt to the situation at hand. When you’ve matched the right outfit to the right situation, you’ll feel great—and confident—no matter what you’re doing.
But before you run out and spend a month’s salary on a new wardrobe, understand that you don’t need to spend big to look good. Yes, you can splurge on a few timeless pieces that are true to your style (and that you love to wear), but, for the most part, dressing the part can be achieved just as easily by purchasing something that matches your personality and body type.
5. Face it, skin care matters
Your face down to your décolletage frames the triangle of what people see when they first meet you. Because of this, the health of your skin can, and will, affect your confidence. What’s more, as we age, we start to see crepey skin and then wrinkles in places where only smooth skin was before.
Fortunately, skin care products have advanced significantly in recent years and there are now more options than ever before. From moisturizers and hydrators to anti-inflammatories and brighteners, the right product with the right ingredients can make you look and feel healthier.
Couple that with healthy practices like eating the right foods, meditation, sleeping on your back, and sleeping with silk sheets or a silk eyemask, and you’ve got an excellent recipe for looking great and feeling confident in any situation.
Bonus tip: Confidence comes from within. You already know this, but we so often forget it.
The above five suggestions are a great place to begin boosting your confidence. But at the heart of each and every one is the idea that confidence comes from within. It’s an attitude. Yes, it’s often easier to focus on your wardrobe or your nails or those last few pounds, but the real work has to be done in your head.
Sometimes all it takes is a little place of our own to boost your mood: here’s how to build one.
Plus—it’s all about the mind-body connection when it comes to aging. Seriously.
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