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Hello I’m Michelle and I am much more shy than you think.
Sometimes I take the whole ‘strong independent woman’ thing in my stride and other times I simply fail to string together a coherent sentence. (Made all the more difficult by currently living in a country where I’m only about 70% fluent in the language.) When I was little and all the way through to secondary school, my shyness meant that everybody commented on it and it’d make me even more self-conscious, it was a bit of a spiral, basically.

In real adult life, you can’t really sit at home and be all, ‘I’m too shy for that,’ though. Like I’ve previously touched upon, my shyness sits alongside my anxiety and the two are often at odds with each other. I recently went through a period where I simply didn’t leave my apartment for 3 weeks – except from for work, because I have a company car that I can take – because I was seemingly unable to.

I wanted to share 5 small ways to conquer niggling anxieties and everyday shyness that have helped me both a little and also to coax me back out of my anxiety shell. Let’s go!

Smile at a stranger
There’s nothing like the kindness of strangers sometimes and it’s so odd how you can instantly feel happier on the basis of the actions of others. So challenge yourself to smile at a stranger, a genuine, with-your-eyes smile. Happiness is contagious and even if you don’t feel particularly happy, a warm smile can do wonders to relax your face, ease your mind and sneak in some happy vibes.

Practice yoga
Okay, so this one is cliché and obvious and all the rest of it, but as someone who genuinely hated exercise sometime two years ago, I can hand on heart shout from the rooftops about the benefits of yoga, running and light exercise (ballet! My current obsession!). I like to use an app on my phone, crank the A/C up, open a window for not-so-fresh air and slot a 15-minute practice to your day. I’m in the routine of a morning run and then yoga in the late afternoon (weekends) or evening (weekdays), plus a workout video of some sort if I’m still energetic.

Reflect
While you might not be at your most confident right now, think back and reflect on one moment where you felt content, safe and happy. I often find that taking a moment to remember when I did manage to branch out helps me to go after that moment and try it out all over again.

Compliment others
I realise that this one is more difficult in practice, but compliment somebody. It’ll brighten their day up and yours too. Whether it’s your friend, your Mama, colleague or somebody on the street with really good hair/shoes/skirt, tell them. Spread a little positivity and confidence around and it’ll certainly come back to you.

Do something that scares you
… and now for the big one. Do something that scares you everyday. I did this a lot last year – I committed my 2014 to making the most out of every single day, whether that was by embracing the fact that I was sleepy and thus needed to nap on a Friday night or by hopping on a flight with Lily to film a TV ad with Bose or book a spontaneous weekend away with my best friends. I absolutely LOVED 2014. Whether it’s something like catching a bus on your own or attempting a new recipe or shooting an outfit post in public, try something that scares you: you’ll soon realise just how confident you CAN be and are.

What are your tips for better confidence?

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