Stretch How to find strength and confidence at your most vulnerable moments We are living in changing times. From pandemics to breakups, redundancies to climate change – life is full of challenges. From little wobbles to full-blown meltdowns, when things are uncertain, it can knock us off our centre. We can’t control what happens in the outside world. But one thing we can control is our ability to respond with more resilience, inner strength and confidence. By Wanderlust Journal Our mindset is our first line of defence when it comes to dealing with life’s ups and downs. The good news is that feeling stronger, calmer and more self-assured are all skills we can develop, not personality traits that we have to be born with. Being kind to yourself. Self-compassion is about being kind to ourselves no matter what is going on in our lives. It’s knowing that kindness towards our friends, family or employees brings out the best in them – and kindness to ourselves brings out the best in us, too. It’s recognising that we are all just human, flawed and imperfect, but lovable and worthy. When life isn’t going so well, self-compassion is like a cushion. It helps us to bounce and not break. Being kind to yourself can extend every area of your life. I’ll often tell my clients to ask themselves ‘How can I show myself kindness today?’ From getting 8 hours sleep, to brushing your teeth with a naturally inspired toothpaste like Zendium, to creating some white space in your diary – keep coming back to what is kindest for you and your body. And according to Dr. David Hamilton, an expert on kindness, being kind to ourselves can even boost our immune systems and natural defences. Be your own best friend. To practise this in your daily life, step into the shoes of your best friend. Imagine what they would say about what you’re going through right now. What kind words would they have for you? How might they reframe things? Keep coming back to this as you go through your day. More and more, it will become automatic for you to speak to yourself as you would a friend. Handling failure. Our experience of life is the result of the meaning we give to things. In our culture, we tend to think of things in black and white. Pass or fail. Good or bad. Right or wrong. Perfect or a disaster. This ignores the fact that the truth often lies in the shades of grey. It also doesn’t take into account that these labels do not belong on a human being. A human being cannot be a failure. You are a process of learning, growing and evolving all the time. Reframe it. When you experience a setback; change the meaning that you give to it. Lose the labels. When you do this, a job loss becomes a new opportunity, a fall out with a friend becomes a chance to learn about boundaries, hearing a ‘no’ from an audition or job interview becomes a chance to get valuable information so you can improve for next time. Changing the meaning you give to things means you can turn breakdowns into breakthroughs, wounds into wisdom and failure into feedback. This boosts our immunity when it comes to challenges and is our first line of defence when it comes to the ups and downs of life. Accepting uncertainty. As the old saying goes, the only thing that is certain, is that life is uncertain. Not exactly what we want to hear, especially when we like things a certain way, love to feel in control and hate nasty surprises or the unknown. What if you didn’t have to be in control? What if you could relax and trust that nothing was in control, but that was ok? Instead, you could believe that you have resources, strengths, wisdom and inner abilities that you can call on when you need them. Give yourself some more credit. You’ve got this. You have a 100% track record of handling uncertainties in the past. What are some challenges you’ve handled? Maybe you’ve moved to a new town, bootstrapped a start-up business or navigated a capital city without knowing the language. Or perhaps you’ve birthed a tiny human, mended a broken heart or survived your difficult childhood. You have already overcome so many difficulties and uncertainties. When we’re tested, we discover strengths within us we didn’t know we had. We have a natural potential inside us, waiting to be tapped. All of your ancestors survived and handled extraordinary challenges, and you are the end result. You have 100% got this. Courage, over confidence It’s easy to look at apparently confident women and assume they have it all figured out. But once we dig deeper, we discover that what looks like confidence is, in fact, courage. Adele has reportedly been so nervous before performances that she projectile vomits. Michelle Obama struggles with imposter syndrome. Inspirational speaker Mel Robbins had a panic attack on stage during her 2011 TED talk. You’re normal. If you feel scared or nervous about taking a big step in your life, guess what? It’s normal. Fear, worry, imposter syndrome and not feeling good enough are practically universal human experiences. Instead of beating yourself up about your lack of confidence, or worse, holding yourself back from making a change because you’re waiting to feel confident, feel the fear and do it anyway. Confidence comes from giving things a try and learning that we can survive and even thrive outside of our comfort zone. When we’re in a stressful or anxiety-provoking situation, such as giving a presentation, the sympathetic nervous system is activated causing a rush of adrenaline, a racing heart and butterflies in our stomach as the body gets ready to run away or fight what it perceives as a threat. But facing our fears can help us to calm this response. Sometimes called ‘exposure therapy’, a type of cognitive behavioural therapy, when you purposefully put yourself into a situation that triggers fear – and you survive – your nervous system slowly learns that the situation isn’t in fact dangerous. When we’re stressed or anxious we can also get a dry mouth. Most regular toothpastes are made with SLS, a foaming agent which can aggravate a dry mouth feeling. Zendium is different – it’s a SLS-free toothpaste that offers natural protection and works in harmony with your body, not against it. And remember, for those of us with empathy, and a pulse, we’re going to have to live with some fear. But we move through the fear and find confidence at the other side. — Chloe Brotheridge is a hypnotherapist and coach at www.calmer-you.com. She’s the author of The Anxiety Solution and ‘Brave New Girl’. — IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ZENDIUM Zendium toothpaste protects your mouth in a kinder way and is designed to strengthen your mouth – not fight against it. Its pioneering formula contains natural antibacterial enzymes and proteins to boost your mouth’s most powerful defence system: the oral microbiome. Zendium is kind by design. Instead of using harsh chemicals, Zendium uses ingredients that have a prebiotic benefit and is free from SLS foaming agent making it suitable for even the most delicate mouths.