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Personal Growth: How to build confidence in your everyday life.

No one is born with an endless supply of self-esteem. From the time we are born, our environment has determined the patterns we fall into, including how we view ourselves today. Your upbringing, not just your genetics, has a significant impact on forming your personality. Your self-confidence is based on something that is not as permanent as your genes, and how you see yourself fluctuates over time. There are small changes we can make to improve our way of thinking.

Confidence comes into play everyday in our lives yet so many of us struggle with our self-image.  You deserve to feel good about yourself and to channel the energy being taken up by anxiety and fear into more positive outcomes. Focus on the confidence within you and watch how much happier and healthier life becomes!

Do Good to Feel Good

Great thinkers like Winston Churchill and Leo Tolstoy, have often commented that happiness is found in helping others. Studies have shown that giving leads to lasting happiness and growth and actually stimulates the same parts of the brain as food and sex.

No matter what form your generosity takes, whether it is with your time, money, effort, it's essential to think about the why behind it. If you are generous out of guilt, you can end up feeling depleted or possibly even feel like you have been used. Focus on how much love you put into giving instead of how much you give. Genuine caring and compassion about when helping a person, organization, or cause makes the experience much more rewarding.

Show Confidence Through Your Physical Presence

Correcting your posture can have a direct impact on your self-esteem. Standing or sitting up straight is body language that projects confidence and openness to those around you. When you appear confident on the outside, you start to feel it more on the inside. Maintaining good posture also puts less strain on your muscles and opens up your airways, which helps with proper breathing. Making direct eye contact with others also communicates that you are honest.

Studies have found that through proper posture, testosterone levels increase, and cortisol (the stress hormone) levels decrease. Subjects felt increased self-confidence after making these physical adjustments.

How you dress also sets the mood and attitude for your day. What you wear on your body shows the world your authentic self and gives people a sneak peek into your personality without saying a single word. Knowing your style and dressing in clothes that provide you with joy fortifies your sense of self-worth.

Know Your Worth

Do you find yourself apologizing for asking a question or when someone moves into your personal space? Unnecessary apologies can take a toll on your mood, especially when you were entirely right to ask the question or standing your ground. Apologies are an essential part of mending wrongdoings, but apologizing unnecessarily puts the responsibility of what happened on you and opens up doubt about your abilities. Before defaulting to an "I'm sorry," examine the situation and see if an apology is appropriate. You have the right to own your space. Don't give it up so easily!

Minimize Negative Self-Talk

It's so easy to focus on our weaknesses instead of our strengths and accomplishments. Sometimes, we find ourselves in a situation that intimidates us, and our first reaction is to go through all the ways we can fail. These thoughts are counterproductive and don't recognize the opportunity for growth. Nobody is prepared for everything. All we can do is our best!

Self-confidence is self-love. Take time to admire your accomplishments and share them with others! With the risk of sounding egotistical, many of us downplay ourselves and what we have to offer the world. Not only does this make you appear less to those around you, but it also makes you feel less than what you are. Start accepting the compliments you receive at face value, without doubting or diminishing them! Some easy ways to remind yourself of your achievements are:

 - Write sticky notes with positive affirmations and placing them around your house
 - Make a “have-done” list instead of a “to-do” list and write all of the things that you are proud to have done recently
 - Think of a short, meaningful statement to serve as your mantra and repeat it to yourself in situations where you need a little reminder of how strong and resilient you are

Embrace Who You Are

Many people try to blend in instead of trying to stand out. It can be hard to accept your differences but re-route your thought process! Your quirks and habits make you unique and stand out in your relationships, career, and the world. We are so afraid of being judged and criticized that we become embarrassed by what we naturally like to do. The reality is that everyone is in their own head, thinking about themselves more than they are spending their time and energy on judging us. Embrace yourself and everything that comes with you.

The struggle with confidence seems like a never-ending journey. As many of us know, it isn’t something that shows up overnight. Remember that you are resilient and can tackle anything that comes your way. Try applying some of the tips we talked about and watch your mood shift and your confidence grow.

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