Did you know that up to 90% of woman dislike the size and shape of their body?1 That stat may surprise you, but to be honest it doesn’t surprise me. Everywhere from locker room at the gym to the lineup at my local coffee shop, I hear woman (and men) talking about how dislike this body part or that, or how they should eat less and exercise more. I say we change these conversations and start talking about how awesome we are.
Better is different for everyone and we could all use a boost of self-confidence. Feeling self-confident and having a positive body image may not come naturally to you and that’s totally fine! Body image as a mental picture you have of your body. It can be based on your surroundings, the people in your life and even the media but it isn’t necessarily based on how you really look. The good news is that since it’s a mental picture it can absolutely be improved. Confidence, especially surrounding body image, grows from action and even one small step towards self-love can change everything.
A genuine smile will instantly brighten your mood and you make you feel confident. Take that smile one step further—make eye contact with someone and smile at them. You’ll be surprised how much of a confidence boost you’ll get from sharing a smile with a stranger.
Channel your inner superhero
Even if it’s just for two minutes. Research done by Amy Cuddy at Harvard University showed that standing for two minutes in a “power pose” (think Wonder Woman or Superman—stand tall, open and relaxed with a strong foundation and your hands on your hips) can help boost your confidence. For more information watch her Ted Talk here.
Love what you do. Movement isn’t about punishment, it’s about enjoyment. As an avid activity explorer I’ve tried everything from circus school to color fun runs to indoor cycling. I love to get moving because it makes me feel strong and vibrant. Once you find a type of movement that brings you joy you will instantly boost your self-confidence because you are doing what you love. Maybe you’ve been running but what you really want to do is take up yoga. I say go for it. Embrace what you love and self-confidence will follow.
Nourish your body
Eat foods that are pleasurable. Throw out the food rules! Who says you can’t have breakfast for dinner?
Whatever you choose to eat, choose to be present with every bite (also known as mindful eating). This allows you to take in the experience without judgment. The more you eat without judgment, the more you will be able to decrease judgment with other experiences in your day. Living each moment instead of judging it can boost your self-confidence.
Choose your words wisely
Would you tell a small child or your best friend that they are fat and ugly? No way. You would tell them they are kind, smart and absolutely adorable, right? Let’s stop the fat talk and body bashing and start treating ourselves like we would someone we love.
Focus on your breathing. Take a few deep breaths and remember you are awesome. Believe it. Own it.