May 9, 2012

Five Tips: How to Increase our Courage—this Month. ~ Lara Chassin

What could we achieve if we only had some nerve?

The yoga studio where I practice has devoted this month to studying courage.

For me, courage is both elusive and self-empowering. I have great difficulty overcoming nerves to do something that makes me uncomfortable, or nervous. Yet, once I have mustered the courage to do it, I feel incredible, unstoppable and unflappable. I’m filled with self-confidence. I also find that the more I force myself to do something I am afraid of, the more courage I possess—courage begets courage.

Fear is so often what stands in the way of living our dreams or going after what we really want. If we all devote this month to courage, beginning today, now, this very minute, imagine what we could all achieve.

Here are five things to do this month that will increase your self confidence:

1. Talk to a stranger once a day—starting today.

2. Learn a new skill or recipe each week.

3. Master a yoga pose or sequence. If you’re experienced, pick one that frightens you (a little bit—play safe, prepare thoroughly). If you don’t do yoga, find a nice beginner’s video and try a little sequence. Be gentle on yourself, and pay particular attention to alignment. This can take just a few minutes a day.

4. Ask someone for something that you want but were too timid to ask.

5. Speak up. Find your voice. Stand up against something you think is wrong or misinformed. Be an advocate for someone or something that you believe in. I consider myself low-key. But when someone says anything less than glowing to me about one of my friends? You can bet I will launch a staunch defense, regardless of who I’m speaking with.

And a bonus step: keep the momentum going. Sign up to train for a half marathon, enroll in an art class, volunteer to teach a class/give a presentation that you’ll prepare for over the next couple of months. Whatever fulfills you.

The important part: let’s remember to keep ourselves out of our comfort zone.

What have I forgotten? Let me know in comments what you’re doing this month to increase your natural self-confidence?


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Lara Chassin is a lawyer and apprentice editor for elephant journal.  When she is not lawyering or editing, she enjoys practicing yoga, bike riding, skiing, running, traveling and feeding her loved ones through cooking, baking or over-ordering at restaurants.  Rest assured that her tendency to overindulge is a big reason for her enjoyment of athletic pursuits.  She lives in the city but frequently escapes to the mountains or the beach.

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