By Guest Blogger Jane Durst Pulkys
Stop for a second and ask yourself, how are you feeling? If you were to finish the following statement, what would you say?
“I am ____.”
What word did you use? Happy? Anxious? Over-worked? Calm?
When I do this exercise with clients, I usually get negative statements. For a lot of us, we let our damaging views of ourselves to dominate our psyche and eventually to become the reality. There’s no shortage of evidence on how the principles of auto-suggestion (how stating things to ourselves can eventually become the reality) can work to change our lives for the better. It’s the core to Napoleon Hill’s bestselling book Think and Grow Rich, and Louise Hay credits the practice as a key element to helping her heal her cancer and take control of her health.
The words we speak to others are powerful. But the words we speak to ourselves can literally be life changing.
I grew up a child with zero confidence. I had five brothers, three sisters, and always felt like I was fighting for attention. I felt challenged in school and thus felt unworthy. I struggled for years thinking that I was too ugly or too stupid. After visiting New York City as a teen, it hit me. I saw hundreds of people walking down 5th Avenue with a look of determination and purpose; I felt like this was something I could never obtain and I broke down into a no self-esteem depression.
After a friend helped me understand that I was being far too hard on myself, I made it my life long mission to gain total confidence.
Today, I run a successful holistic practice, teach, write, and train others to take control of their health and their self-esteem. I quickly learned that many of my nutrition clients were looking for something that went much deeper than what they were putting into their mouths. At the end of the day, people wanted to feel good about themselves. I teach some of these principles to training nutritionists in a course called The Psychology of Disease.
When a thirteen year old girl came to see me as a client with no confidence, it took me back to my childhood self. She previously was a glowing happy child, but that all turned around when the family had an exchange student stay with them. That’s when she started judging herself relative to this girl, who she saw as pretty, intelligent, and having it all. In that moment I realized I could help this girl and set her on the right track. It was our journey together that inspired me to write my first book to help women to expect the best, be the best, and to live their life with total confidence from the inside out.
I’ve travelled the world listening to other teachers, read countless books, attended all the seminars and put a series of tools together to help people understand how they can grab the steering wheel to their self-esteem and enjoy the fullness of life.
So that being said, here are a few of my top tips on how you can immediately start to Stand Tall on the Inside.
Understand that you have the power to change your brain
Until the 1960s, most people thought our psychology was set in stone and that we could never change the way our brain works. Thankfully we now know through the principles of neuroplasticity that we can literally change the structure of our brains. Neural connections can be forged, weakened, and strengthened through repeated thought and repeated practice.
There have been plenty of studies which suggest that monks and those who meditate regularly have higher levels of grey matter in their brain in their hippocampus and within areas of the oribotofrontal cortex. These are the areas responsible for supporting our well-being, memory, and contribute to learning. The more we practice something, the more our brain will adapt to and accept it. This goes for almost everything, most importantly, our negative thoughts and positive emotions.
If we’re constantly looking for the negative in everything, you will find it. And the more you do it, the more your brain will get accustomed to that way of thinking, making it feel like the norm. So start filling your mind with positive thoughts and begin to feel the rewards – which brings us to the second tip.
Find three things to be grateful for upon waking and going to sleep
Start making a habit of appreciating the things in life that you are grateful for. You can leave a notepad beside your bed or simply do it in your head. Every day when you wake up, take a deep breath and quietly think to yourself of any three things you are grateful for. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you are happy that that element is part of your life. Do the same thing with three more things before going to sleep.
When I started doing this practice my life changed within what felt like an instant. I was no longer stressing about the future or ruminating about my past mistakes. It helped bring my mindset into the present and find beauty in the little things in life. I began to truly appreciate the time I spent with my family and loved ones, and I was able to go even deeper into my teaching. If you want to become a happier and more positive person, I suggest trying this for 21 days in a row. When we create a base of happiness and joy, our self-esteem will begin to blossom.
Confidence requires energy
Our energy comes from our food. You wouldn’t feed your dog the wrong food and you wouldn’t put the wrong fuel in your car, so why are so many of us putting the wrong fuel into our bodies? Our North American diseases like Cancer and Diabetes are at all-time highs, yet so little emphasis is being placed on what we put into our mouths.
The five new food groups have become all too commonplace – Fast, Frozen, Fried, Junk and Processed. Most of which is high in sugar, keeps our insulin and blood levels spiked and then to come crashing down, making us crave even more refined carbohydrates. The right diet can determine how well you sleep which allows you to repair your body for the next day. The right diet can provide you with energy and clarity. Those who don’t consume enough of the right fats (mono-unsaturated fats and Omega-3) are starving their brains of the energy it needs to properly function.
Instead of removing things for your diet, focusing on adding in the right things to begin. More raw foods – including fruits, vegetables, and nuts and seeds – and more water. More good fats (like avocados and olive oil) and more lean protein. But remember that life is all about balance, a piece of cake every once in a while won’t kill you.
Use Positive Affirmations to Change your Psyche
Pick an affirmation – a statement about yourself or what you want to accomplish – and repeat it to yourself ten times a day, every day. It can be something as simple as “I love myself,” or “I have total confidence” or it can be something more specific like “I am rewarded for my hard work and I will receive a promotion.” The important thing is to stick with it, even if you don’t think it is working.
A funny thing happens when you continue to repeat these statements. It prompts you to begin acting like you’ve already are what you say you are. You begin to find reasons to make the affirmation a reality. You’ll adjust your attitude and have your eyes opened to new ways to avenues to make it happen. Your body and perceptions will adjust to validate what you’ve been saying, and you begin exuding the characteristics and actions that reflect what you’re looking for.
This is why thinking negatively about ourselves can be so damaging. Those who continue to put themselves and their abilities down are doing themselves a tremendous disservice. I use the affirmation “I love myself” every day, and I have come what feels like a million miles from my teenage self.
Confidence takes practice
If you’re struggling with your confidence it is unlikely that you’ll see drastic overnight changes. You have to keep with it and continue to focus on the positive. Practices like meditation can help your stress levels, relieve tension, lower blood pressure, and more importantly – help you understand when you are having damaging thoughts and give you a tool for blocking their impact. Get your priorities in line – are you staying in a career or relationship that is damaging your long term happiness? Smile to yourself in the mirror more. Conduct random acts of kindness. Take pleasure in the things you love, and remember to always find reasons to be grateful and watch yourself grow.
About Jane Durst Pulkys
Jane Durst Pulkys is an author, nutritionist, educator and frequent Health & Wellness guest on television and radio. With over 30 years of experience and a global client roster, Jane is always at the forefront of proactive approaches to personal health. She is an advocate for transforming her clients’ health, both physically and mentally. She has adapted traditional education and experience to meet the needs of a changing society, enabling clients to take control of their health and their lives through the options of holistic care. Jane Durst Pulkys is on a mission to educate people about wise choices for lifestyle and diet and about burdening our genetic composition by our thoughts.
Visit Jane online at: www.creativehealth.ca
Click here to view Jane’s Book.
I’d love to know, do you struggle with confidence and self-esteem? I used to struggle as a teen, but it’s funny what my career did to my self esteem and confidence – it aided it. I think we can all use these tips above … everything positive in our mind takes repetition and practice.