How To Cultivate The Confidence To Do That Big Thing That Scares You In The New Year
Today, we're running an excerpt from author and founder of The Numinous, Ruby Warrington, whose new book Sober Curious covers how reframing her relationships with alcohol ultimately brought her closer to her innate sense of inner knowing and spirituality. It covers Ruby's top tips on finding self-confidence from within—because who couldn't use some more of that in 2019?
Create an image in your mind of a more self-possessed version of you doing all the things you're afraid of, confidently. For example, every time I have a public speaking gig looming, I take some time during the days leading up to it to picture it going well in my mind's eye. You can amplify the effect by attempting to recreate the positive feelings associated with this.
Repeat positive and uplifting statements about your life daily, ideally out loud. This can sound and feel very silly, but it is essentially a way to reprogram your negativity bias, so it's worth sticking with! Try saying them to your pet or to your reflection in the mirror to make it feel less awkward. Plus, pro tip: Phrase the affirmations as questions for maximum effect since our brains love to go on the hunt for answers. For example, "Why am I so great at public speaking?"
Stand up tall, shoulders back, head up. Like Wonder Woman. Research by social psychologist Amy Cuddy has shown that adopting a confident stance can release testosterone, making you feel braver and more confident. "We convince by our presence, and to convince others, we need to convince ourselves," she writes in Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges.
Choose a "confidence icon" (somebody whose confidence you admire) to channel when doing things that scare you. The accompanying affirmation might go, "Why am I as good at public speaking as Oprah Winfrey?"
Volunteering, mentoring, or practically assisting somebody in need automatically shifts your perspective outward from "self-pity" to "compassion" while also helping you feel thankful for what you have.
Feeling the fear and doing the scary thing anyway
But the ultimate trick to building confidence? Feel the fear and do the scary thing anyway—and in doing so, with all due respect, prove the fears wrong. Which, by the way, is not the same as holding your breath, closing your eyes, saying a prayer, and diving headfirst off the sheer cliff face. After all, fear and anxiety (the emotions that stop us from diving headfirst into what we perceive as being dangerous situations) exist to keep us alert and to sharpen our senses. They exist to help us gather information about the nature of the danger we're facing, and then choose whatever action will protect us. My mildly tense outlook? It's also what keeps me alert and focused, helping me walk life's tightrope with grace and without having a meltdown every five minutes. These days, thanks to my Sober Curiosity, my meditation practice, and the resulting emotional intelligence I've developed, it's often little more than "background noise."
Action (the doing it anyway part of the above equation) is the key piece when it comes to resolving feelings of fear and consequently proving to ourselves that "I got this"—thus cultivating the confidence, or self-belief, that I also got this the next time I am faced with said "dangerous" situation.
Excerpted from Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol. Copyright © 2018 by Ruby Warrington. Reprinted with permission by HarperOne, a division of HarperCollinsPublishers.
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