Beyond deep breaths.
Some things are super easy—like napping in a hammock or drinking a bottle of rosé. As the clichés go, summertime is easy like Sunday morning (if absent a level-10 hangover). Not so easy: having that it’s-time-for-a-raise-or-a-title-change-or-both conversation with a boss, telling your S.O. it’s over, making the toast at a wedding, or any public-speaking event ever. These are the moments—these real-life, being a *mature* adult moments—when we often need a little bit of help. A little pump up, if you will. Here are a few things to make you feel like you can take on whatever conflict or adulting life throws at you.
There’s a reason everyone (and the Kardashians) blast Kanye and Major Lazer when they work out: the right song can make you feel all kinds of confident. Anyone else remember that early episode of Ally McBeal when Ally’s therapist tasks her with coming up with a theme song to give her confidence in otherwise debilitating moments? No? Is my age showing? Well, there’s a lot of truth to that classic ’90s TV moment. Find a song—something energizing, something you love—and make it your theme song. Sing it in your head or listen to it on Songza when you need that extra pulse of confidence. Or, make like Dwight Schrute and do this.
It may not seem intuitive, but taking a moment to chill the eff out before an otherwise stressful situation (a company-wide presentation, a first meeting with potential future in-laws) can do wonders. This can just be a series of deep breaths—it’s a wonder what focused breathing can do for you, honestly—or full-on meditating. There’s a guide for that here. (Hint: it’s way easier than you think.)
Talk to yourself, talk to your mom, talk to your pep-talker-in-chief. Whatever it is, words of encouragement can do wonders. Even a simple “You can do it” helps. You can!
As above, mirror pep talks are not just for sports/romantic-comedy-movie montages—they work, promise. So does a little bit of red lipstick and triple-checking that breakfast isn’t stuck in your teeth.
Whether you’re full of nervous energy or totally drained, getting your blood pumping is definitely a good way to pump yourself up. It sounds completely bizarre, but if I have a big or important day ahead of me, I go full-on freak and jump up and down in one place for about 30 seconds. If you prefer something a little more orthodox, do one or two of Nicole Winhoffer’s moves—if they work for Madonna before a stadium show, they’ll work for you, full stop. Also, if we’re taking a long-term view of things (adulting, remember?), exercising will be sure to lift your confidence in general. It’ll take more than 60 seconds, but it’ll be worth it.