1. Stand tall. Really tall. The kind of tall that pushes your shoulders back and makes all the little bones in your back pop from having been hunched over for so long. Put your hands on your hips and just hold it. For like 2 minutes. There’s a science behind how a power stance held for a small amount of time can make you literally feel more powerful. It’s time to fake it until you make it. YOU ARE NOT A FRAUD!
2. Go through all your previous successes. Met a deadline at work? You get a gold star. Climbed the stairs instead of taking the escalator? Gold star. Woke up this morning and got out of bed? Go you, gold star. Didn’t get out of bed? Doesn’t matter, you woke up which means you are brave enough to live (okay, maybe you had no choice to wake up but you did it anyway) GOLD STAR!!! Sometimes you need to celebrate your achievements no matter the size to remind yourself that you are capable of anything.
3. Remember the last time you said ‘I can’t’ and did it anyway. This is my go-to method to get through anything. You’ve finished exams, work days and difficult situations you thought would be the end of you and came out unscathed at the end. People have marched barefoot across Europe during wartime, dealt with the grief of a lost one and completed a rubix cube in 5.5 seconds. YOU CAN DO THIS!
4. Talk to yourself. Yes, actually talk to yourself. This goes back to the ‘fake it until your make it’ mentality. Pick anyone of these phrases – or all of them – and start speaking out loud.
– “I am here, and I am doing this.”
– “I can’t, but I will.”
– “I deserve this.”
– “I am capable.”
– “Happiness is not reserved for the slim/wealthy/deserving.”
5. Never restrain your emotions – don’t be afraid to feel. We are chemically designed to feel. Think about it. Humans and animals alike all have been built to process information through a series of chemicals given off by our bodies. So it’s important to process your feelings as they come and confront them head on. This will give you room to breathe and deal with the task at hand. Trying to avoid or repress an uncomfortable emotion could lead to more destructive behaviour. Take an emotional eater for example. They receive news that there’s a possibility of being made redundant at work. Rather than confront feeling distressed and worried they make haste for the nearest vending machine to create a distraction, avoid the shock and possibly consume a snack that will chemically light up the reward and pleasure centres in their brain. This creates a temporary high from what has just happened and negates from having to feel bad.
To make light of this example, this hypothetical person almost has to be brave about being brave!
6. Think of the bigger picture. I am not suggesting you dull the importance of your circumstance by reminding yourself of big issues like famine or war. I am however suggesting you get a bit of perspective. You need to roll all the above mentioned points into one for this final tip to work and really cut to why you want to be brave. Are you scared? Are you nervous? Why are you feeling these things? Will they destroy you? The answer at the end will almost certainly be no so try to dwell on that rather than the issue. It can sometimes help to ask yourself, ‘Will this matter to me in a week?’
7. Imagine the end goal or your desired outcome. As airy fairy as this sounds it helps to visualise what you want to achieve. You can almost always find strength to be brave if you know exactly what it is you need to do.
So there you have it. These are my 7 top tips on how to be brave and I’m sticking to them. They have helped me through countless situations including confrontation, overcoming fear, dealing with lack of motivation and everything else that requires a little bit of gumption. I hope whatever has led you to this page will be made a little easier and you are able to use these tips too.
Side note: Always remember when you need to be brave that everyone’s problems are their own and are as big and important to their owner. What seems easy or complicated to you will not affect everyone else in the same way. For example; Public speaking may be a breeze for some but for others it is the single most terrifying thing you could do. Don’t compare yourself to how others would deal with anything because it’s not a fair measure. You are unique and just like you and I, being brave comes in all shapes and sizes.