Are you stuck on autopilot? When you’re living on autopilot, or worse, trapped in survival mode, life can feel pretty mundane and repetitive. You may feel like a passenger in your life, craving more direction and purpose. And I know from experience that feeling this way is a confidence killer.
When I found mindfulness, I didn’t realize I was discovering the key to confidence. But years of practice-led me there. Mindfulness is the idea of living in the moment and remaining fully engaged in whatever activity you are doing.
Mindfulness involves the following 3 principles:
Intention: The dedication to cultivating awareness in your day-to-day.
Attention: Noticing and paying attention to what is happening in the present moment by observing thoughts, feelings, and sensations while keeping focus.
Attitude: Maintain a kind approach that is non-judgmental, curious, and kind to new ideas, thoughts, and mindfulness.
When you’re practising mindfulness, you’re not engaging in the usual self-criticism, worry, and numbing out. Can you imagine the impact that can have on your confidence?
What Are The Benefits Of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness has been studied extensively for its benefits on our mental and physical health. Researchers believe that the practice works by helping people to accept their life’s realities—including painful and challenging experiences and emotions—rather than avoid them.
Recent Western science only adds more evidence toward mindfulness practices that Eastern medicines & spiritual seekers have known for millennia.
It’s a fact: mindfulness works.
What can mindfulness do for you?
Mindfulness improves well-being: Being mindful makes it easier to savour the moment & be fully present. By reminding yourself that there is only right now, you are less likely to get stuck dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. Basically, less stress and more opportunities to create deep connections with others! Speaking of stress…
Mindfulness improves physical health: Mindfulness can help relieve stress, improve heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and even improve digestive difficulties. It’s true – mindfulness can even help you poop better.
Mindfulness improves mental health: Mindfulness studies have highlighted the importance of mindfulness in supporting people who live with mental health conditions such as depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Mindfulness improves memory & increases adaptability: As you’re more aware of your day when using mindfulness, you can improve your memory, even during more stressful periods. You’ll find yourself better able to adapt and learn in new situations too!
Can Mindfulness Boost Your Confidence?
“Self-compassion also entails mindfulness. To have self-compassion, we have to be willing to turn toward and acknowledge our suffering. Typically, we don’t want to do that. We want to avoid it, we don’t want to think about it, and want to go straight into problem-solving.” —Dr Kristin Neff.
If your mind is caught up in your thoughts, you may struggle with focus and anxiety. You feel more stressed and the negative self-doubt may begin to creep in. You might hear your inner critic say you’re not good enough, you’re boring, you suck at this, you’re too fat, you’re too ugly, all things meant to keep us small and hopeless.
When we let our inner critic run wild, our confidence takes a huge hit. That’s where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness lets us notice when we’re being consumed by the inner critic so we can pause, observe, and change our thinking. I suggest also reading my blog on How To Improve Your Body Image, too.
Mindfulness also allows us to connect with ourselves and understand our needs. When we slow down and give ourselves to process our thoughts, feelings, and experiences, we have more clarity to make better decisions. Can you imagine how much more confidence you will feel in a decision when you’re certain it’s the right choice for you?
How do I practice mindfulness?
There are multiple ways to practice mindfulness, including ways to increase confidence.
Mindfulness is not a “one size fits all” practice. When you know various practices and determine which one supports you best, mindfulness can be a tool that brings you back to the moment.
Here are some accessible ways to get started:
- Stop multitasking. Rather, do one activity at a time and focus all your attention on the experience, from doing laundry to going for a walk.
- Complete morning pages or another type of stream of consciousness journaling. Morning Pages invite you to write a few pages the first thing in the morning, about whatever is on your mind. There are no set rules, it’s just getting thoughts and emotions on the page. This helps eliminate inner chatter in your head and helps clear your mind. I have been doing this for 6 months now and highly recommend it!
- Do a body scan. This is a great way to release physical tension while becoming more mindful of your body. Focus on parts of your body in a gradual sequence from feet to head. Take two or more deep belly breaths at each body part. Body scans are great to do first thing in the morning or right before bed (that’s when I do mine).
- Practice daily mediation. There are specific meditations such as this one that are only 5 minutes and focused on increasing self-confidence.
- Challenge your inner critic. Being more mindful helps you notice when your thoughts are going into a negative or dark place. If you begin to question yourself or feel not good enough, challenge your thoughts and replace them with more realistic and helpful thoughts such as “I can improve and work on that skill,” “Actually, I’ve done (insert activity) plenty of times and I’ve done it well,” “I know I can do this,” or “I trust myself and will get through this.” Never judge yourself for feeling however you feel, but ALWAYS offer a loving & compassionate alternative to the inner critic’s poison.
- Try a power pose. Much like posing in your boudoir photo shoot gives you a sense of power, power poses can help you to feel supported, strong, and confident. Body language can help mimic and support feelings of confidence. You can start by standing taller, rolling your shoulders back and putting your chin up. You can also do the ‘super woman’ power pose, where you stand with your hands on your hips and chest up. Try in front of a mirror!
- Use music. On a walk or while commuting listen to music and focus solely on one aspect of it for the entire song. This focus is either on one instrument or one voice. Notice how this makes you feel.
To reap the positive effects related to mindfulness, practice every day. The more you do, the more effect it has! When you create more space for mindfulness, it can transform your thoughts & life, increasing confidence, positivity, and overall well-being.
Which mindful practice will you try first?