Recently in my Yoga + Self-Care group (link to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2218472125132090/) a member had the following special request:
“Can you give tips / techniques to increase ‘core confidence’ mentally and physically?”
I can sure try, amiga.
Really, the list of things you can do is a mile long. Whether all of those things will hold meaning for you, is an entirely different ball of wax. I’ve come up with a handful of ideas, and I hope if nothing here resonates with you, that it at least sparks something for you, opens a creative channel.
I believe at the end of the day, confidence comes from within. My confidence (my trust) in myself looks different than yours. My ways of cultivating my own core confidence won’t ever mirror yours… but maybe they can inform your own reflection, you know? So here are some things I came up with…
Physical ways to increase core confidence:
We all want that sexy six pack, and it doesn’t take much to conjure a mental image of a strong and capable body with well-defined muscles, proud chest and flat stomach. This person exudes confidence, of course. And it is important to physically strengthen your core. After all, there’s a lot going on in that area, and there has been a lot going on in that area for an eternity.
Our brains and our bellies are inextricably linked. Perhaps in life you’ve had a “gut feeling” about someone, or have had to “give yourself a gut check” when it was time to really get serious about something. Phrases like these suggest that there has long been a connection between our brain and what goes on in our gut, and in recent years science has really been proving that.
Turns out, your microbiome and the balance of it are huge factors in your confidence and mood, the health of your brain in general. What is a microbiome? It’s basically the colony of bacteria, fungi and even viruses that lives on and in your body. And it’s extremely important to your overall health. It lives on the things you feed your body, the quality of things you put on and in your body, and when your microbiome is out of whack you can bet your mental state is following suit.
For me this pondering of core confidence is coming back to a few key things… you need physical activity and an excellent diet full of variety and high quality ingredients. Isn’t that always the answer? I swear, it is always the answer.
But I think there’s a little more to it… more personal responsibility in it. Your body is unique, so your needs are unique. Right down to your bacterial makeup. A healthy microbiome, a healthy human in general, doesn’t have one particular look. So the exact diet and way of eating that works for me, might not work at all for you.
That leads me to Ayurveda, and the 3 doshas. What’s Ayurveda? What’s a dosha? Ayurveda is an ancient science, ancient medicine. It’s working with nature to achieve balance in yourself and your environment.
A dosha is an aspect of that balance. There are 3 doshas, and according to Ayurvedic medicine, every single thing in this world is comprised of a combo of these 3 doshas. The doshas are:
Pitta – Intense. Hot. Fiery. Maaaaaayybe a little power-trippy. Voracious appetite. Runs hot.
Vata – Cool. Always too cold, this is your friend in the sweater in 75 degrees. Likes to graze, a snacker. Slower to get going. “Cool heads prevail”.
Kapha – Heavy. Grounded. The advice-giver, the nurturer. The mama with the ample bosom and the best hugs. Eats all the cake, unless you want half.
There’s a good chance you recognize a bit of yourself in all 3 doshas, and that would be correct. Everything has at least a little of each, and the level of how much, changes too. Think of a leaf. In the springtime, when it’s new, and green and bright, it’s got a lot more Vata about it… it’s emerging, it’s growing, like springtime itself. As the leaf moves through summer, a season with intense Pitta energy of its own, the leaf loses a bit of that newness… the fire dries it out, changing its very nature, the doshic balance.
You’re just like that leaf. You are comprised of a balance, unique only to you, and you’re constantly changing too. Ayurveda is one way you can keep your finger on the pulse of those changes, and their effects on you.
Your physical “core” encompasses everything from your pelvic floor all the way to your neck. It’s your front and your back, shoulders and chest too. Your core is a cor(e)-set, really. It’s your whole middle.
Here’s a link to a core yoga practice I created to go along with this blog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dtHSdQpdQk&feature=youtu.be. It’s definitely not your typical 500 crunch “core” workout because this discussion is about more than your abs. This is about making friends with all your core parts, and making them work for you… with you… supporting you… not against you: Cultivating Core Confidence
Mental ways to increase core confidence:
- Number one most important way of all: mind your thoughts. I can’t stress this enough. Pay attention to where your mind goes, first thing in the morning. Don’t let negativity take hold. Talk to yourself like you’d talk to your best friend. Would you tell your BFF they’re stupid for forgetting to pack their <whatever> and ending up late to work? Why then, when you tell the story of why you were late, do you tell everyone what an idiot you are for forgetting to pack your <whatever> and being late to work?
Just don’t talk about yourself like that. You’re not an idiot. You’re human. You’re allowed to be human, you know.
- Try your best. When you’re not giving it your all, you know it. When you’re not really showing up, you know it. And it has a snowball effect. You know you’re not doing your best, and you’re getting a shitty result, so you feel bad, so you don’t put in the effort, so you rinse and repeat and rinse and repeat and that’s how you stop trusting yourself.
- Trust yourself. Try your best and trust yourself. This is a cycle that feeds on itself too. When you experience little wins in your life, good things that you made happen for yourself, that boosts your own trust in yourself. You did this thing, go you! And the more you trust yourself, the more you’ll go for another win.
Make it a mantra: Trust yourself > Get that win > Trust yourself > Win again
I’ve had a lot of fun meditating on these things for the last few days, but honestly, I know this blog barely scratches the surface when it comes to ways to cultivate core confidence. Having spent so much time lately in thought about this, I’ve come to one overarching conclusion about it all: you have the power. It’s inside you.
I encourage you to do some thinking of your own, taking into account your own unique makeup, your own current balance as well as what needs to shift in order to create more meaningful balance, for you. When you know you, and understand you… your motivations, your appetites, your actions, your struggles… you can begin the conversation of how to make “you” better.
Acknowledging where you are, where you want to be, and what needs to happen in order to get there, might be the most confident thing of all. Trusting yourself. You’ve got this. <3
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