You've Got This
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We all have *those days*. No matter how hard we try to feel and look our best, it just doesn't happen. But you don't need to give in to a bad day (or even a bad mood). These nine tips will have you feeling happier, healthier, and sexy in your own skin in no time.
Take a Risk
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Jumping out of your comfort zone—whether it's wearing a new shirt or finally drafting plans for that start-up you've always wanted to launch—can do crazy things for your confidence. Why? It gives you a serotonin boost, says Deb Sandella, a psychotherapist at the RIM Institute in Denver. Even if the outcome is bad, you get a hormone high. Make it better by teaming up with friends, she suggests. You'll get the rush from the risk and the safety net of having a support system—two key aspects of a health body and mind.
Move Your Body
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The mental high from a good sweat session will always be one of the best ways to find a no-frills mood boost. Thank feel-good hormones called endorphins and your body's endocannabinoid system that lights up from exercise. (Here's more on the science of your exercise high.)
Find Your Happy Place
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Mantras don't need to be inspirational quotes. Think about where you feel most in the moment and most yourself. Maybe it's in a yoga class, walking down your street, or freestyle dancing around your living room. That is your mantra, says Sandella. Find time to be there more often. Tuning in to your mantra lets you check in on the real you and totally #ownit.
Notice the Good
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Too often, women focus on what they want to improve or what they don't like, says Lisa Ferentz, a clinical social worker and author of Finding Your Ruby Slippers: Transformative Life Lessons from the Therapist's Couch. A better game plan: Focus on what you do like. Hate your arms? Stop death-staring them in the mirror and focus on a body part you love. Bummed that you keep waking up late? Instead, think about how great you are at getting things done when everyone else is burnt out in the evening.
Pull Out an Old Photo
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Grab a picture from a particularly proud and happy moment—a mid-run selfie or a shot snapped at a celebratory dinner. Put it somewhere you'll be sure to see it every morning, says Alyssa Dver, founder of the American Confidence Institute and author of Kickass Confidence: Own Your Brain. Up Your Game. The perfect spot? Your phone background. Every time you see it, you're reminded of a time you were happy and completely crushing it.
Spread the Love
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Get too caught up in your own world, and everything can seem pretty trivial. One way to remedy that—and boost confidence in the process—is to spread the self-esteem ~feels~ to others. Try to give one truly meaningful compliment each day. Praise can range from a gorgeous haircut to a personality trait you admire. "This reminds us that we can make a difference just by helping someone else feel confident," says Dver. And, you know what they say: What goes around, comes around.
Talk Yourself Up
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It's time to nix the "I'm not good enough" thoughts and start seeing yourself as wonderful and worthy. Easier said than done, sure, but believe it or not, the first step to changing negative thoughts is noticing the unkind ways you talk to yourself, says Ferentz. Every time you catch yourself thinking something critical? Stop yourself and try to reframe the criticism in a positive way, says Ferentz. You can also try positive affirmations, like "[Your name] is [positive quality here]." Talking to yourself in the third person can help you get out of your head, says Sandella.
Solicit a Pep Talk
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A great way to get your self-love thoughts on track: Tap your support system. Reach out to someone you genuinely trust (hi, Mom!) and ask for a good old-fashioned pep talk. We often internalize other people's positive messages, optimism, and hopefulness better than we hold on to things we say to ourselves, says Ferentz.
Journal—But Actually Do It
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This isn't the "I have a crush on so-and-so, but he's dating my best friend" journaling that you might have tried in middle school. "Journaling is a great way to reconnect with that confidence," Ferentz says. Try this prompt: Think of three positive adjectives to describe yourself. Can't do it? Imagine that three people who truly love you are sitting in the room with you. What's one positive sentence that each one would say about you? Try writing about one of those things, something you're most proud of, or one wonderful thing about yourself that you wish more people knew about you.