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These 13 Leg Stretches Will Prevent Pain and Injury During Exercise

These 13 Leg Stretches Will Prevent Pain and Injury During Exercise

Can leg stretches really make a difference? You are lucky enough just to fit in the exercise itself – and now you see that more should be added to your regimen? We will talk about how you can make the most of your time, and give you some key concepts for preventing pain and avoiding injury.

How much time should you spend stretching your legs, and how often should you stretch them? Having measured and fair answers to questions like this can save you plenty of pain, time, and frustration. We can help you find your starting place and make a plan to safely enjoy your lower body exercise routine through leg stretches.

The degree to which you will most benefit from stretching will depend on your chosen activity. If you wish to spend time doing aerial yoga, your body may benefit more from additional stretching than if you choose to enjoy a bike ride on a paved trail.[1]

Let’s talk about a few options as you consider what will work best for you. We will begin with a few tips on leg stretching and then introduce you to some specific stretches for the lower extremities.

Leg Stretching Tips for Starters

1. Learn to make the most of idle moments during the day

True, it is best to prepare your body for exercise just before – and after – your chosen activity. However, it is also beneficial to train your body to stay ready for activity throughout each day. This helps to remind muscles and joints that they can be called into action at any time. We will talk a bit more about the relationship between exercise and stretching in a moment.

Choose one stretch to complete as you:

  • Prepare your coffee or favorite tea
  • Enjoy watching a bird in a tree during lunch
  • Have a conversation at work
  • Wait in line (Why not make the most of that popcorn line at the cinema?)
  • Hang a picture
  • Tie your shoes

2. Use it to keep it

Remind yourself that the physical ability that you currently have will stay with you longer and better if you continue to employ its usage. Getting started or coming back from an injury can be frustrating. Be intentional about maintaining your health.

Knowing that you have already chosen to accomplish a goal makes getting past the first few attempts much easier. Then, just keep pressing on one stretch at a time until you have found several that you like and will do regularly.

3. Rest, relax, enjoy

Your body requires rest for proper rejuvenation. Listen to your body. Give it what it needs and the hard work you do with your new stretches and favorite exercises will go much further.

Think smarter, not harder. Know when to stop and enjoy the benefits of your hard work to help avoid injury.[2]

4 Alert your body

You need to give your body a fair ‘warning’ that you are ready to move your legs, core, and arms in a more commanding manner. These stretches have been selected with the idea that you may be seeking to overcome or avoid injury to one or both legs. As you recover, please feel free to add 15 to 30 seconds to the length of each stretch.

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A good warm-up regimen will include 10 to 15 minutes of slightly less strenuous activity than you plan to include in your actual exercise time. The goal is to alert your body that it is time to work and give it time to ‘wake up’ and respond prior to enjoying your more strenuous exercise activity.

Spending a few moments doing a less intense activity gives your heart time to start sending extra blood to your muscles. Muscles love to be ready for action through added nutrients in this manner.

If you plan to run 3 to 5 miles, walk or jog for about 0.5 to 1 mile prior to increasing your pace. If you plan to run 10 miles, proceed at a slower pace for about 2 miles.

5. Decide whether to stretch before or after exercise

It is pretty safe to say that at least some gentle stretching and warming up should be completed prior to any athletic endeavor.[3] Taking a few moments to alert your body that additional activity will soon happen is essential for protecting your muscles. How much stretching will depend on your chosen exercise and desired level of intensity.

Consider your activity when deciding whether or not you will benefit most from stretching before or after your exercise activity. Do you plan to perform in an event that will require you to be relaxed, flexible, and in control of your limbs? You may find that stretching before your event helps you perform at a higher level of ability.

On the other hand, you may wish to simply enjoy a run in the park? If so, you may find greater lasting benefit by performing most of your stretching routine after you run.

13 Leg Stretches for You to Choose

Fortunately, the many tiny portions of our legs overlap naturally with one another. This means that we almost cannot stretch only one tiny element of the body by itself.

We will almost certainly bring benefit to multiple portions of each limb with each individual action.[4] Think about it, can yo u stretch your feet without moving your toes? Thank you, mother nature! Let’s choose your favorite leg stretches:

1. Foot Overlap

Sit on the floor with both legs straight in front of you. Each leg should be slightly bent. Place your left leg over your right leg. Reach your left foot just beyond your right foot and gently pull both feet toward your body.

You should feel a slight pull from your feet all the way up through your right calf and left shin. Hold for a count of 10. Switch feet.

2. Ankle Circles

Make circles with your toes. To make it interesting, rotate one way five times, then the other way five times. You can also try alternating the rotational motion of each foot for some added practice in coordination.

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3. Shin Relax

This stretch is far more comfortable and effective while not wearing shoes. Stand up straight with your spine lengthened and your shoulders square with your feet and toes. Slowly swing your right leg behind you and point the toes on your right foot away from your body. The tops of your toes should rest comfortably on the floor.

Gently draw your body down a few inches as you bend your left knee. You should feel a slight stretch from the tops of your toes to just below your right knee. Hold for a count of 10. Switch legs.

4. Thirsty Calf

Sit with your legs straight in front of you. Gently point all of your toes away from your body. Hold for a count of 10. Bring your left knee up until the sole of your left foot is resting flat on the floor.

While sitting up straight, draw a towel, stretch band, or similar around your right foot ad bring your foot toward your body. You may also choose to lean forward at the waist and use your hands to pull your toes toward you.

Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides.

5. Quadricep Choice

Quad stretches should be chosen based on your level of comfort and whether or not you have any knee injuries. Whether or not you choose to rest on your stomach, side, or stand will depend on your preference.

Once in your chosen starting position, pull your right foot back gently to come as close to your right buttock as you can. You may choose to place a strap around your foot if you are unable to reach. Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides.

6. Hamstrings Hex

Begin in a standing position with your shoulders and hips square. Turn your left foot so that your toes point to the left. Keep your left knee slightly bent and comfortable. Turn your upper body to the left.

Bending at the waist, slowly bring your arms down to meet as far down your leg as may be comfortable. Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides.

7. Pigeon for Hips

Begin with both hands and both knees on the floor and your back raised (table top position). Your hips and shoulders should be square. Bring your left leg up under your torso as is comfortable. Be sure to bring the leg up far enough to feel a gentle pull, but not so far that it is painful. You will feel the stretch in your left hamstring and right hip area. Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides.

If you have existing knee pain, consider this alternative. Stand with your shoulders and hips square. Place your left foot directly behind you. Bend slightly at both knees and bring your body straight down. Be sure that your right knee stays above your right ankle and does not pass your right toes. Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides.

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    8. Glute Twist

    Sit on the floor with both legs straight and relaxed. Point your toes to the sky. Bring your left foot across your right leg onto the floor. Reach your right elbow to the left of your right knee. Face your upper body to the left as you bring your left hand to the floor.

    Keep your shoulders upright. Press against your left leg with your right elbow until you feel a gentle pull in your left glute. Hold for a count of 10. Switch sides.

      9. Leg Hug

      Lay flat on your back. Draw your left knee to your chest. Pull your left leg into your chest with both arms. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch legs.

      10. Leaning Lunge Twist

      Start in a lunge position with your right leg behind you. Take your right hand to the floor even with your left foot. Raise your left arm straight up. Look up to your fingertips.

      Be sure to keep your left knee above your left ankle and not over your toes. Breathe out as you count to 10. Switch sides. You should feel this in your hips, quads, calves, shins, and right foot.

        11. Changing Butterfly

        Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together. You will do this stretch in three forms.

        Begin with your feet as close to you as is comfortable. Lean forward at the waist to feel the stretch in your inner thighs. Hold for a count of 10. Next, move your feet away from your body about three to five inches. Lean forward again and hold for 10 seconds.

        Then, push your feet forward another three to five inches. Your legs should be close to straight but still bent at the knees with the soles of your feet still touching. Lean forward at the waist again and hold for 10 seconds. Breath out slowly each time as you count.

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        12. Changing Forward Bend

        Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart. Slightly bend both knees. Reach your arms toward your feet as you bend at the waist. Hold for a count of 10.

        Next, do the same stretch with your legs about 12 to 18 inches apart. Then, repeat the stretch again with your feet next to each other.

        13. Toes to Hip

        Stand (or sit) and place your right leg slightly behind you. Begin with just your right toes on the floor (left foot still planted). Roll the arch of your right foot down to eventually have your entire foot on the floor behind you. As your right heel reaches the floor, lean back slightly to feel the stretch in your upper leg. Do this three to five times and switch sides.

        A note on knees: Isolating your knees for stretching is a bit less than feasible. As a joint located in the middle portion of the leg, the knee will most efficiently be stretched as you successfully stretch the other portions.

        However, keep in mind that each stretch should be done without pressing or forcing your knee over your toes or into any position that feels strained. Notice how you can feel each of these stretches reach through the connections in each knee.

          The Bottom Line

          Preventing pain and injury to your legs while enjoying your favorite exercise does not have to be painful, enduring, or difficult. If you employ these options with regularity, the powerful tools that carry help to mobilize the rest of your body will thank you!

          Choose a few favorites from this list and remember to be gentle with your muscles and tendons as you complete each stretch. Never force anything or complete stretches in a jerky or forced manner.

          Finding a few favorite leg stretches can go a long way in providing an incentive for keeping limbs ready and equipped for your daily adventures!

          If you appreciated these leg stretching tips, you may love these 10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day!

          Featured photo credit: i yunmai via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Competitor Running: Using Yoga For Injury Prevention and Recovery
          [2] Better Health Chiropractic: Should I Exercise If I Have An Injury?
          [3] NHS: Do I need to stretch before exercising?
          [4] The Active Times: 7 Benefits of Stretching

          More by this author

          Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.

          Chiropractic doctor currently leading over 10,000 Alaskans to more active, pain-free lifestyles โ€“ without addictive drugs or invasive surgeries.

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          Last Updated on October 14, 2020

          How to Be Confident: 51 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

          How to Be Confident: 51 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

          When you learn how to be confident, you can use it in your everyday life to tackle all of your goals and challenges. However, not many people realize that learning how to gain self-confidence is like building a muscle—it grows in response to the level of performance required of it.

          Here I will give you 51 proven ways to overcome a lack of self-confidence and achieve more.

          1. Learn Something New

          Sign up for that evening class and enjoy it. Alternatively, read a book (or take an online course) on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn more about.

          Learning new things stretches your abilities, keeps your mind active, and most definitely improves your confidence in your ability to do new things.

          2. Ask Your Partner or a Friend What You Can Do For Them

          This can be something as easy as helping them with a chore they don’t like or have little time for. Through helping them, you’ll find that you feel better about yourself.

          3. Hit the Gym

          The physiological effects of going to the gym will leave you feeling great.

          Countless studies have shown that regular workouts at the gym can boost not only your sense of well-being, but can increase your self-esteem, too[1].

          4. Go to a Networking Event

          Rather than being nervous about your own stuff, focus on how to help others. Instead of going along with the aim of trying to sell yourself to others, why not change your approach and simply go along to see how you can help the people you meet?

          By doing this, you’ll come across as calm, confident, and someone that people will want to turn to again and again.

          5. Get Clear on the Things That Matter to You

          If these things are not in your life, you’ll need to bring them in.

          For example, if your daily work routine is currently as dull as dishwater—but you’d like it to be fun—then do something about it. Turn data entry into personal speed contests, paper filing into “screen-free” time, and interactions with your colleagues into enjoyable conversations.

          6. Remove Negativity From Your Life

          Write a list of the things you’re tolerating and putting up with in your life, then write down how you can remove, minimize, or diminish each one.

          I personally like to do this with pen and paper as it feels just a little more real and definite than on screen. It’s also a good idea to put the priority items at the top of your list, so you can begin resolving these first.

          7. Celebrate Your Big and Small Wins

          Look at the big or small goals you’ve completed, and give yourself credit for your part in it.

          Recognizing your achievements is not egotistical, it’s healthy.

          8. Converse With New People

          Go and have a conversation with someone you don’t know. By doing this, you may be pleasantly surprised by what—or who—you’ll discover.

          You can also extend this trait by breaking outside of your normal social situations at your workplace. This will do wonders when learning how to be confident.

          9. Do Something You Would Normally Say No to

          Next time you talk yourself out of doing something (a party invite, a challenging project, etc.), go and do it anyway. This is a great way to boost personal development.

          10. Do One Thing Each Day That Makes You Smile

          This could be something as simple as sending a thank you email to a colleague that has been helpful to you, or leaving a surprise present for your partner that they’ll discover when they wake up.

          Life shouldn’t be drudgery, and we all need to make the effort to keep it light, loving, and fun.

          11. Give Yourself Good Advice

          Look for the patterns of thought that take you to a place where you start second-guessing or overthinking.

          Now imagine that your best friend went through exactly the same thought process and ended up holding themselves back—what would you want to say to them?

          This is known as Soloman’s Paradox—we’re often quite good at solving others’ problems but not our own. Challenge this and take your own good advice next time[2].

          12. Ask Someone on a Date

          If you’re single and have met someone that you’re definitely attracted to—go ahead and ask them out.

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          Even if they turn you down, it will help you learn how to be confident through the fact that you were decisive and made an effort. What’s the best thing that could happen? They might just say yes!

          13. Write Down 20 Things That Make You Feel Good

          Think of this as a gratitude list. Typical things you might include are: your partner, your kids, your parents, your pets, etc.

          I recommend writing this list at least once a month. And most importantly—make sure you’re giving the 20 things plenty of room in your life.

          14. Stop Playing Different Roles

          Stop playing different roles and squeezing yourself into boxes based on what you think people expect of you.

          Be your authentic self, the one who knows what to do and loves what they do. It’s easy to find this part of yourself as it’s inherent in your hobbies and your close friendships.

          If you can bring this authenticity into your work life, you’ll be surprised at how positively others will react to you.

          15. Cultivate a Positive Mindset

          Learn to catch yourself every time you tell yourself that you can’t have, won’t get, or aren’t good enough to get what you want[3].

          Talk yourself up when learning how to be confident.

            Instead, tell yourself that you can have, will get, and are good enough to get what you want. Mindset is everything. Make sure yours is positive and dynamic.

            16. Take Yourself off Auto-Pilot

            Make deliberate decisions on what really matters to you.

            For instance, if you normally work 9 to 5 but find yourself spending hours getting to and from work, why not negotiate with your boss to mix your hours up a bit?

            You might also suggest a day or two working from home. Sell this to your boss by reminding them that the time and stress lost to commuting can be neatly transferred to productive work hours.

            17. Listen Carefully to What You Tell Yourself

            Next time you come up against a risk or a challenge, listen to what you tell yourself, and look for a way to improve your inner dialogue.

            If you normally find that your inner dialogue is negative, then break out of this by asking yourself questions such as:

            • What would make this easier?
            • Is there a different way of doing this?
            • Could research help?

            18. Laugh at Yourself

            Scared of looking silly? It’s no biggie, so don’t let it stop you.

            Whenever we try something new, there’s a fair chance that we’ll make fools of ourselves. But you’d be a bigger fool to let that stop you. Instead, laugh at your baby steps and watch your confidence soar as you begin to master your chosen activity.

            19. Listen to Your Doubts

            Sometimes your doubts are there to let you know what you need to prepare for, so you can use them to your benefit as you move forwards. Other times, they are just doubts.

            The trick is to quickly determine if your doubts have validity. If they do, use them to shape your decisions.

            To illustrate this, imagine that you’ve had an enticing job offer, but you doubt whether you’re capable of doing the job. Spend a little time analyzing your doubts to see whether they reflect reality, or whether they are just negative thoughts that are trying to hold you back.

            20. Recall a Time When You Did a Great Job

            Think of a time when it felt like a whole bank of switches in your head flicked to the on position, and you were firing on all cylinders. What were you doing, and what’s the reason it felt so great? Can you emulate that passion and drive that you had?

            21. Tear up Your Rule Book

            You may not know it, but you’ve almost certainly got a whole bunch of outdated rules that determine what you do and don’t do. These rules limit your thinking and your behavior.

            It’s time to change them. Tear up this subconscious rule book and toss it in the fire. Once you’ve done this, you’ll immediately notice how free you feel to make challenging and exciting decisions.

            22. Ask Yourself What You Have Gained When You Lose

            Do you get annoyed with yourself because you didn’t make the most of something or stepped back from an opportunity?

            Firstly, don’t beat yourself up because that’s just going to make you feel worse. Instead, be brutally honest and ask yourself what you gained from the situation and what you lost out on.

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            Based on this win/lose balance, what’s a different choice you can make next time?

            23. Don’t Let People Put You Down

            If there’s someone in your life who puts you down or makes you feel small, you owe it to yourself to let them know that you expect something different from now on. 

            Trust me, once you’ve told them, they’ll change, and you will, too. Inevitably, you’ll boost both your confidence and happiness by taking control of your life in this way.

            Learn how to get out of toxic relationships in this article.

            24. Reveal a Little Bit of the Real You

            Relationships can be difficult. They can also lose their zest and become stale. If this happens in your relationship, then it’s time to add some magic to the mix.

            Try revealing something interesting about yourself or your past that your partner doesn’t currently know when learning how to be confident. Perhaps you never mentioned to them that you used to play in a rock band—and you still have the recordings to prove it!

            By adding new things to your relationship, you’ll deepen the bond and keep the spark alive.

            25. Be Your Own Hero

            Recognize that you’re more than a match for any situation you might find yourself in—no matter how tough the going gets.

            We all love movies like Die Hard where ordinary people are driven to super-ordinary feats. But here’s the rub: you can be your own action hero.

            Whatever the situation, meet it head on and overcome it. Keep in mind the classic phrase: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

            26. Don’t Give in to the Instant Pay-off

            If I was to offer you $100 now for a day’s work tomorrow or $110 for the same work, but I won’t pay you for a week, which would you choose? Well, I can’t read your mind, but I do know that studies using a similar question to this have found that most people choose the instant, smaller payment over the latter, bigger payment. It seems that we’re hardwired for instant gratification.

            However, if you want to be a success in life, always look at the bigger picture. In the example above, if you could have only waited seven more days, you would have been $10 richer!

            27. Instead of Yelling “I Deserve Better,” Say “I Can Be Better”

            Too often I hear people complaining about their personal circumstances but refusing to do anything about it. Don’t be like them.

            If things aren’t going your way, find solutions and implement them. Your boldness and decisiveness will boost your confidence and help you rapidly climb the ladder of success.

            28. Admit You’re Wrong

            It may not be easy, but you should always be prepared to hold your hands up and change your mind if things are going south. Not every idea you have will be a winning one. The trick is to know when things are clearly not working out.

            You can either attempt to get them back on track or kill them off completely (sometimes that’s the best way).

            29. Trust Your Instincts

            We all have our gut feelings and intuitions, but many people choose to ignore them and rely only on facts, facts, and more facts! While this may work for many scenarios, there will be other times when you’ll need to rely on your instincts.

            30. Imagine Your Confident Future Self

            Imagine you’re visited by a successful, confident, attractive, and vibrant version of you from the future, a version of you who’s everything you hope to be. What do they want to tell you?

            They might praise your efforts, but they may also criticize your lack of planning and weak goals.

            Luckily, if you listen closely to what they tell you, you’ll be able to rapidly shift gears in your life and become the you of the future!

            31. Ask for Help

            This is a common issue. We take on way too many responsibilities and end up either burning ourselves out or just doing a bad job!

            The secret is to put the vast majority of your energy and efforts into what you do well. Give the stuff you don’t do well to others who have a gift for it. Sometimes the most confident and effective thing to do is ask for help.

            32. Be Around People Who Make You Feel Like You

            Do this by spending more time with the people who support and encourage you and less time with those who undermine you.

            At work, don’t be ruined by negative, petty people. Instead, make sure you surround yourself with colleagues who make you laugh and feel good about yourself.

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            33. Participate in the World Around You

            Ask yourself this question: “What can I participate in that’s important to me?”

            Typically, this could be your church, a sports club, or even just a weekly get together with your best friend.

            34. Develop Skills to Work on Things That Matter to You

            What can you practice that would radically improve your chances of winning?

            If you want to climb the corporate ladder, for example, then develop the skills needed to do this. These might include: effective project management skills, powerful presentation abilities, and superb goal setting skills.

            Of course, don’t forget that emulating those who have already achieved your goal is one of the quickest and most reliable ways for you to achieve your aims, too.

            35. Act Until You Make It

            The body is a mirror for the mind, so shifting your body language into a confident state can have surprising results.

            This is all about acting. If you want to come across as tough, act tough. If you want to come across as successful, act successful. And if you want to come across as confident, act confident.

            Try doing these things, and you’ll be amazed by the results.

            36. Push Through When You Want to Give up

            Don’t get disheartened or demotivated when you get to 90% with something you’re working on. Push through, and you’ll see that the last 10% is where the magic happens.

            37. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

            Keep comparing yourself to others? Stop it. If you want to learn how to be confident, don’t try to validate yourself through comparison—you’re just peachy as you are.

            Social media often makes this difficult. Try stepping away from your Facebook page for a few days and reconnect with the great things in your own life.

            You can get started with this guide.

            38. Speak up When You Can Make a Difference

            Speak up if there’s something you think could be improved or if you have an idea you think has legs.

            Have you noticed that quiet people at work rarely get the promotions? It’s not that they are incapable or lacking talent, but their abilities are usually overlooked as they don’t know how to engage with others or how to sell themselves.

            Step out of your comfort zone and be sure that you’re an active player. Speak up in meetings by suggesting ideas and offering constructive criticism.

            39. Stop Struggling and Start Accepting

            If there’s something you’ve been struggling to understand for a while, stop trying to understand it. Accept it just as it is, fully and wholly.

            Life offers endless mysteries. If you try to resolve them all you’ll drive yourself insane. Instead, let some mysteries remain, and keep your mind focused on your goals and dreams.

            40. It’s Okay to Be Shy

            There’s nothing wrong with being shy, and it doesn’t mean you’re not a confident person.

            If you suffer from shyness, you might think it’s a major weakness of yours. However, introverted people have the edge in many ways, such as: they’re first-rate listeners, they have excellent observational skills, and they’re easier to trust[4].

            41. Clean up Your Environment

            Your environment directly impacts your self-perception. So, if you’re surrounded by clutter, paperwork, and rubbish, put a morning aside to clean up your stuff and get organized.

            42. Write a List of Things You Would Love to Do

            Write yourself a list of the amazing things you’d love to do in your life, and make a start by simply looking into the first one or two things that leap out at you. This will help you get started as you learn how to be confident

            Even if you don’t currently have the means to live your dreams, you can, at the very least, make a start. The best way to do this is to write out the things you’d love to do. These may include cool stuff, such as travelling the world, learning a new language, or climbing a mountain.

            Once you’ve added the items to your list, don’t stop there. Begin researching and preparing ways to turn your dreams into realities.

            43. Make Your Self-Worth Independent From Others’ Validation

            Don’t make your happiness or self-worth dependent on being in a relationship or being validated by someone else.

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            While it’s difficult to admit it, we often find ourselves rating our self-esteem by the value other people put on us.

            For instance, you may have a super-positive boss who is always encouraging and supportive. They make you feel upbeat and confident at all times.

            However, imagine if they left and your new boss was the complete opposite. They constantly look for faults in your work and regularly criticize you. Would you still feel confident in those circumstances?

            If you’ve answered no, then you need to reappraise your self-worth, as it shouldn’t be dependent on the validation of others.

            44. Use Your Strengths

            We all have our weaknesses, but they only undermine your confidence if you let them.

            For instance, are you aware that Virgin’s founder Richard Branson suffers from dyslexia? He never let this hold him back or destroy his confidence. Today, he is one of the world’s most successful men, with a net worth of approximately $5 billion[5].

            45. Complete a To-Do List

            The longer you leave that big thing on your to-do list, the more it’ll drain you, and the bigger it’ll seem. Get it done and free yourself up.

            If you have a big goal, break it down into smaller tasks. For instance, instead of trying to write a whole chapter of your book in one go, how about just writing the opening paragraph?

            46. Treat Your Body Well

            When learning how to be confident, our body image does matter, because if you have a bad relationship with your body, you won’t feel confident in yourself.

            What’s one of the first things most of us do when we get up in the morning? We look in the mirror. If we don’t like what we see there, then our day starts off with negative self-talk. If, on the other hand, we look in the mirror and feel proud of our appearance, then we start the day off in an upbeat, positive way.

            If you’re unhappy with your body and looks, do something to improve them. Exercise, diet, and styling are common ways of improving your body image—and your confidence.

            47. Learn to Say No

            Don’t say yes to taking on a task simply because you don’t want to rock the boat. You can politely decline requests you can’t meet without needing to create excuses.

            While saying yes to everything that comes your way might feel like you’re being helpful and in demand, in the long run, you’ll burn yourself out.

            48. Learn From Confident People

            Look at the people you respect who seem confident. Don’t copy them, but identify what it is they do differently that conveys confidence and what you can learn from it.

            People-watching is not only fun, but it can be informative, too. Look closely at successful people you know, or those being interviewed on TV, and over time you’ll begin to notice common traits, beliefs, and behaviors that they exhibit.

            49. Follow Through on Your Plans

            Most people find it easy to write plans. The hard part, of course, is seeing them through. To stand out from the crowd, make sure that you know exactly how to complete your plans.

            If you need to, write down a step-by-step guide and begin following it. Not only will this drive you towards the completion of your plans—but experiencing the progress will also give you a continuous boost to your self-esteem.

            50. Shift Your Focus When You Doubt Yourself

            When you feel yourself focusing inwards and becoming paralyzed with doubt or fear, switch to focusing outwards at what you can engage and interact with.

            I remember one of my writing tutors telling me that when the words stop flowing, it’s time to take a break— preferably a walk in the park. It’s sound advice as it’s very easy to get caught up with our thoughts and emotions and be unable to make progress.

            51. Never Beat Yourself up for Failing

            Life is guaranteed to not always be a barrel of laughs. Instead, it’s much more like a roller coaster. There will be ups and downs, so ride them out.

            The art of living is to know how to handle whatever comes you way. The best way to achieve this is by developing an iron core that is unhindered by the topsy-turvy outside world.

            Final Thoughts

            Here I’ve given you 51 different ways to start building self-confidence Take action on the ways that you’re drawn to.

            It’s not enough to read about them. For them to work, you must adopt them into your daily life. Do this, and you’ll start to feel your confidence soar.

            More on How to Be Confident

            Featured photo credit: Matheus Ferrero via unsplash.com

            Reference

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