30 Seconds to Better Confidence 

Simple Shifts that can lead to big changes

The biggest breakthrough in your life comes when you are feeling confident. It’s impossible to accomplish greatness when your confidence is low. It’s those times when you are not questioning and second guessing yourself that you start seeing all the blessings flow into your life. Why is that? What factors determine where your confidence is?

Most people struggle in this area, and it’s easy to understand why:

  • Economic uncertainty
  • Rising gas prices
  • Inflation

With so much uncertainty it’s easy to feel like our lives are spinning out of control. When things seem to be spiraling downward it can really shake your confidence.

All of these things happening in the world are very real and it’s no wonder collectively we are struggling. Why then do some people seem to thrive despite all the turmoil surrounding them?

It’s challenging to stay confident and self-assured when your outer world feels like a dumpster fire. But only if you are putting your faith in the outer world.

If you are stuck on the never ending roller coaster of outer world tragedy then you will never achieve true confidence. By harnessing the true power and confidence you hold inside, you will be able to turn on your confidence when you need it most. 

Making the Confidence Shift

Shifting your confidence takes work. We have spent years piling on many layers about who and what we are. We learn what is and isn’t okay from our parents, siblings, teachers, and community. Heck, I was told I had chicken legs by a kid in school whose name I can’t even remember! Yet it affected me so deeply that I didn’t show my legs for decades, and still brush off any compliment I’ve gotten about them as someone just being kind. Talk about a confidence buster. I have many I continue to work through.

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to start making the shift…

  • What are you doing that hijacks your confidence?
    • Gossiping
    • Watching the news
    • Scrolling social media
  • Do you ever find your mind wandering to all the possible negative outcomes?
    • Failure
    • Regret
    • Loss
  • Do you get caught up in the “What if’s” of life?
    • What if this doesn’t work out
    • What if they laugh at me
    • What if I lose everything

The good news is, if you’re thinking these thoughts it’s because you can see more for yourself than you currently have. You understand that some faith is required to take the next step and with faith comes confidence. 

Confidence > Doubt

When you are ready to step into a more fulfilled experience you are bound to be faced with all kinds of emotions. A battle begins to take place between confidence and doubt. And the one that wins is the one you feed. 

Anything worthwhile is going to bring up uncertainty because it’s outside your comfort zone and that’s a good thing. It shows that you do have confidence and on some level are toying with the idea of stepping into the unknown. 

This should bring up questions! The challenge is listening to how you answer those questions. Do you lean towards doubt? Or towards success?

So much of your success comes from the confidence you put behind your work. Asking questions is a great way to see where your confidence is so you can begin to navigate it towards growth. 

And you can do this in 30 seconds or less by focusing on these 3 things.

  1. Pay attention to your self-narrative

Begin to notice the stories you are playing in your head throughout the day. Notice your role in those stories. 

  • Are you a victim?
  • Are you kind?
  • Do you see yourself winning or losing?
  • How do you view others around you? As friend or foe?

How you see the world is how you see yourself

Your perspective on the things in your life shapes how you approach life. If you believe people are looking to hurt you or rip you off then that is what you will see. Likewise, if you see the universe as abundant that is what you will see. 

If you are feeling low on your confidence, take a look around and start to rewrite these stories. Catch yourself in the middle of a self-sabotaging narrative and ask yourself, “Is this helping me or hurting me?” And adjust it accordingly. Write yourself into a world that is supportive of you and you will begin to see evidence of that.

  1. Focus on what you’re good at

When looking to build your confidence it’s best to focus on what you already know you’re good at. Too often when faced with big challenges we start to focus on all the reasons why this is hard or why you can never be, have, or do whatever it is. Instead…

turn your focus toward the things you know you can do. 

When I opened my first business I was paralyzed by the taxes. I was certain I was going to mess everything up and end up owing my life in fees. I was so focused on it that other aspects of my business were taking a back seat and I found myself angry and thinking this isn’t what I want to do! Then it occurred to me that I didn’t have to. I could pay someone to do my taxes, and it was well worth it too. Not only did I know that my finances were being taken care of, but I didn’t have to stress, cry, and lose sleep over it. It allowed me space to focus on what I am really great at: sales, people, relationships. The things I knew I had down and the things that brought me joy and reminded me why I went into business for myself in the first place. 

Whatever you are working on it is essential to keep your head in the right mindset. When you are feeling good confidence will pour out of you.

So what are you really good at?

  1. Step away from negative conversation

When you engage in gossip or join the “This place sucks” crowd, you are fertilizing your brain for judgment. For no reason you feel superior, placing yourself and your life as much more worthy than that of another. 

This type of toxic behavior keeps you stuck in the energy of entitlement. Idle conversation is for those idle of mind. If you want to be more confident then it is imperative that you start walking away from toxic conversations. 

We have all done it; finding ourselves steeped in the good tea and enjoying it. Maybe even passing the tea along to another because it was so good. 

If this is you, the first step is to recognize it and then learn to keep your mouth shut when it is not your business to tell. Like all things, this is a practice, but the sooner you adopt it the sooner your inner confidence will shine. 

Confidence Comes from Within

Believe it or not, just talking yourself up, or setting out to achieve a new goal instantly boosts your confidence. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Focus on what makes you great, and start moving with that in mind. 

Even if it feels odd at first, the quickest way to build your confidence is to practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. 

Life will continue to come at you with curveballs and unexpected adventures. It is up to how you choose to meet these inevitable outer circumstances that will determine a lot of how you see yourself in the world. 

A tool I use is breathwork. And in my 4-week online course, Breath Mindset, we dive into using your breath to build a better mindset and with it confidence to go boldly in the directions of your dreams. 

Going Against the Flow with Viloma Pranayama

Change Your Mental Patterns by Changing Your Breath Patterns

Pranayama is the yogi way of saying breath control. It comes from the root words prana, meaning life force or energy source, and yama, meaning to control. Put the two together and you get life energy control. It is also well established that your breath is the bridge between your inner and outer world. As we continue to link this further we begin to understand that if breath is your life energy that you can control and it moves between your internal world and your external world, then essentially you have the power to expand your prana to make purposeful changes in your life. 

Breathwork has become very popular these days, which is super cool, but it’s more than just learning how to manipulate the breath in different ways. 

Pranayama Breathwork is about enhancing your health, changing your energy levels, and finding balance in your mind. 

Viloma pranayama

Viloma means to go against the natural flow. This is a basic breathing technique designed to help you expand the breath cavity. It is done by interrupting the natural flow of breath consciously to cultivate control and awareness of being. 

Deliberate pauses are inserted into each round of breath. Not only does this technique help you to take deeper fuller breath, it also helps bring your mind into focus. Whenever you hold your breath, even for a second, your mind becomes hyper aware and all other thoughts take a back seat. These deliberate pauses put micro amounts of stress on the body to prepare you for more dynamic pranayama techniques. Many of which entail longer periods of breath retention and holds. 

This practice sets a solid foundation for your breathing practice. 

Any time you consciously manipulate your natural breathing pattern you need to be aware of potential side effects. Those who have hypertension or heart disease for instance, shouldn’t hold their pause in a Viloma practice for more than a second or two. If you have epilepsy, are pregnant, or have any health concern that demands attention, you should check with your health care provider before doing any breath holds longer than two to three seconds. 

As we go through the practice below, know that for our purposes here we will not be asking you to practice holds longer than 3 seconds. 

How to Practise Viloma Pranayama

Viloma Pranayama has three versions or stages. Each one builds upon the last. What makes Viloma unique is that the three versions can be done in one session as you build through the stages, or it can be practiced as three separate techniques. 

The three versions are…

  1. Viloma 1- Breath is interrupted on the inhalation
  2. Viloma 2 – Breath is interrupted on the exhalation
  3. Viloma 3 – The breath is interrupted on both the inhalation and the exhalation

Three-Part-Breathing is a helpful and simple technique to understand and have some practice in before attempting Viloma pranayama. The basics of 3-part-breathing is simply inhaling through your nose into your belly, out through your ribcage, and up into your chest. Then exhaling out the chest, through the ribcage, and emptying through the belly. Like an elevator, 

Inhale – Belly, Ribcage, Chest

Exhale – Chest, Ribcage, Belly

You can watch my youtube video here

Viloma 1

In the first stage, the breath is interrupted during the inhalation followed by a long smooth continuous exhalation. This is where I like to incorporate 3-part-breathing because it helps identify markers for the pause, or interruption. Basically, you will breathe into the belly, pause, breathe through the ribcage, pause, and up into the chest, pause, and then exhale slowly. 

Stage 1 builds tension during the inhalation while allowing you to get a full deep breath. After this tension has been built both your mind and body enjoy a nice release on the exhalation. 

As you practice Viloma 1 you will increase your lung capacity while training your body to let go of tension. Everyday micro decisions build small amounts of tension, and in life there are times when it is helpful to pause and recognize what’s happening in the body. This technique helps you let go of that tension before you hit a boiling point. It is a mental rehearsal in letting go. 

Let’s try it.

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and bring your focus to the tip of your nose. 
  • Begin noticing the natural flow of breath moving in and out through your nose. 
  • After a couple rounds start consciously dividing your breath into 3 parts.
    • Inhaling into your belly, ribcage, and chest.
    • Exhaling from your chest, ribcage, and belly.
  • Once comfortable with this division we begin by inhaling for 3 seconds into the belly about one-third of your capacity and pausing for 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue inhaling for 3 seconds as you consciously widen through your ribcage bringing yourself to two-thirds of your breath capacity, then pause again for 1-2 seconds.
  • Now fill up completely as we expand out into our chest with full lungs for 3 seconds and pause one last time, 1-2 seconds more.
  • Then release on one smooth exhale — slow and steady for 9 seconds. 
  • Do 5 – 10 rounds.

While it is important to fill up to your full lung capacity, it is equally important to not add undue stress by creating strain in your shoulders, back, or throat. As you notice your body through this practice see that you are not feeling tight in your head and that your body is relaxed. 

Viloma 2

The second stage of Viloma is done in the same way but the interruption comes on the exhalation. Beginning with a nice steady inhale and letting air in 3 parts on the exhale. 

As you move into this stage take time to notice how you feel changing the point of tension from the inhalation to the exhalation. During this stage you get to enjoy the sensations of a nice full deep breath in. It is in the exhale that you mentally experience the response to releasing tension in a controlled manner. Here again it relates to life. Noting the importance of cautiously and slowly letting go of tension. Sometimes under stress we tend to react without thinking, and Viloma 2 reminds us to slowly release tension in a mindful manner. 

Let’s try it.

  • Come back to your natural breath. 
  • Notice any tension still remaining in the body after Viloma 1, and continue to release it with every exhale.
  • Return to 3-part breathing
  • Inhaling into your belly, ribcage, chest.
  • Exhaling from your chest, ribcage, and belly.
  • After a couple nourishing rounds take one long steady inhalation for a full 9 seconds, allowing your lungs to fill completely.
  • Now exhale out of your chest for 3 seconds, allowing about a third of your breath to go. As your chest drops, keep conscious that your ribcage is still lifted and hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Exhale another third of air from your ribcage for 3 seconds and hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Now let the final third of air go completely as your navel naturally hugs back towards your spine and naturally hold until the body feels called to the next long smooth inhalation.
  • Repeat 5-10 rounds.

Be cautious that you are making this an unhurried process. Keep the rest of your body loose while maintaining stillness. With practice, Viloma 2 will increase breath capacity while managing mental tension, allowing you to be more responsive instead of reactive.

Viloma 3

By the third stage you should be feeling a deep connection and control over the flow of your breath. Your breathing should resonate deep into your belly and your body should feel relaxed. Once this is true for you, you will be ready to move into stage 3. Viloma 3 is revitalizing! You will interrupt the breath on both the inhalation and the exhalation, maintaining control over the entire breath cycle. Filling up in 3 parts with a pause, and exhaling in 3 parts with a pause.

Let’s try it.

  • Come back to your natural breath.
  • Do a couple rounds of long steady inhales and exhales.
  • Begin the third stage on an inhale, deep into the belly for 3 seconds, and pause for another 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue inhaling up into your ribcage for 3 seconds, and pausing once more for 1-2 seconds.
  • The last third of your breath will move into your chest for 3 seconds bringing you to a full breath. You will hold here at the top for 1-2 seconds.
  • Begin to exhale out from your chest for 3 seconds and about a third of the way through your breath. Hold here, keeping your sternum up for 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue exhaling out the ribcage for another third of your breath and hold once again for 1-2 seconds.
  • The last third of breath leaves your body in the final 3 seconds of the round. This time followed by a longer hold. Unforced but pleasantly empty of air until your body naturally inhales into the next wave of breath.
  • Continue for 5-10 rounds.

Another way to look at Viloma 3 is like a ladder where your breath is moving up and down like steps. It could also be helpful to take a natural inhale and exhale between each round.

With each round the breath capacity develops and with practice the pause and hold times can become longer. This slows the breath and the mind, helping you to open up to the subtlety of your body and navigate through thoughts in your head with more clarity and focus. 

Putting it all together

Now you should have a pretty good understanding of the three stages of Viloma pranayama. Check out my YouTube Channel for more information.

Looking to Achieve Big Dreams? Better Check Your Mindset

Put Your Attitude to the Test

If you are on the path towards a big dream, you better take a deep look at your mindset and adjust your attitude accordingly. The secret to achieving those big goals is all about putting your attitude to the test. 

Whenever you are looking to try something new there will always be subtle obstacles that show up in your path. Every time you go after another goal more challenges come up. It’s these repeating patterns and challenges that conflict with your good intentions and always seem to stand in the way of your success.

You will always be presented with tests in life no matter what you decide to do. Some are obvious, some more subtle, but all happen as a result of an intention you put out into the universe. 

Let’s say you are starting a new career and it’s exciting and ready to jump in. Things start out going really well until setbacks arise as you are faced with new information. This new challenge brings up old patterns and suddenly things feel a bit hazy. This gray area is where so many of us fail. 

We begin to see the haze as a sign that we really aren’t clear about what we’re doing, when in reality it might just be a sign that it’s time to practice patience.

Life will always test you when you set an intention and start taking steps towards a new goal.

Every time you set out on a path it will be met with a test. When you are working on something new it requires you to step outside your comfort zone and that requires vulnerability and trust. You will have to work through some limiting beliefs that have kept you comfortable, and you should. Good goals should always be used to help stretch you to be better. 

Our beliefs can be very powerful and your brain is always trying to protect you so you will have to prove to your brain that you are ready for adversity. 

I like to think of these tests as the end boss in a video game. I played a lot of Zelda in my youth and before you leveled up you had to face a mean, and usually super large, bad, end boss. It was like all the creatures in that level took steroids and morphed into this end boss. 

  • It took skill. Which is what the level prepared you for
  • It took perseverance. Like going head-to-head with the end boss for days!!!
  • It took patience. Because it’s so frustrating to watch this monster steal my energy hearts over and over and over again.
  • It took concentration. Knowing where and when to jump, hide, and fight.
  • It took stamina. Being ready to come back and fight again and again until you figured it out.

The glory of beating an end boss is so rewarding. The music, the autoplay of Link and Zelda reuniting, the reward of beating a monster you weren’t sure how to defeat. 

This is how I sometimes think of my business. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds, but I remember that I set out with a mission, and knew there would be setbacks along the way. 

Sometimes things are going great and you’re growing and building, and other times you need to learn, and grow, and have patience as you build your dream. 

It’s important to remember that sometimes growth doesn’t look like growth. Sometimes growth looks like figuring out a limiting belief that you must overcome. 

The trajectory on the path to your dream isn’t going to be a straight line. Being prepared for setbacks is part of the test that will push you forward. 

The best thing you can do in these moments is to adjust your attitude. Your attitude is the only thing you are 100% responsible for. 

When things seem impossible and all your worries and fears are staring you down it’s your attitude that will carry you forward. 

That’s it.

If you are able to keep your attitude in the direction of your dreams, everything else will catch up. It’s up to you to project out to the universe how you want to feel. 

When you want something you’ve never had before you must intend it first. Take a moment right now and feel and how you want to feel when you achieve your dream. Because once the experience has happened in your thoughts the universe starts rearranging to help you receive it in reality. If you spend most of your day seeing lack, feeling lack, and experiencing lack then that is what the universe will continue to show you. This is why your attitude is everything. 

Even as you begin to work on a new dream or goal and are being tested you have to know that you know that you know that’s it’s coming to you. There is always something to be thankful for and gratitude is the quickest way to move your thoughts from lack to grace. 

The Path of Least Resistance

The universe is always arranging itself to work with the path of least resistance. This is to not disrupt the natural order of things. You are constantly telling the universe what you want by the emotions you emit. 

Energy connects with energy so when you want something you’ve never had before you need to find a way to project a matching energy. When challenges come up and obstacles are in your way it’s the universe testing your new energy, seeing if you’re ready to move out of your old comfort zone to get to that goal. 

When a challenge comes up and you throw in the towel (I’m totally guilty of this) the universe says, “Okay, cool, you don’t really want that dream job, person, adventure.” But, when you meet this new resistance with a feeling of faith or growth then your attitude starts to adjust and your mindset is strengthened on the path to your goal.

The path of least resistance begins to move in the direction of your dreams and things start working in your favor when you believe in what you’re doing and can see these tests as part of the practice to level up.

The more you resist these tests the longer you’re stuck fighting that obstacle. 

The universe wants to deliver and it always is. If you’re not seeing the results you want then it’s time to look at your attitude. 

We have become so comfortable in our small little minds that we forget that there is a universe out there constantly showing us exactly what we continually think about. 

Unwavering Faith

Humans have over 6,000 thoughts per day! And many of the studies online suggest that 80% of those thoughts are negative. Once you become aware of your attitude and how many negative thoughts you have on a daily basis it can feel alarming! You might start getting frustrated about all the negative output in your mind. 

It’s okay. You are now aware of the power of your attitude, and you are now able to start redirecting those thoughts with the practice of gratitude. Small minds play the victim, but you don’t. You are focusing on how you want to feel. And the more you feel empowered, capable, and worthy the more faith you begin to have in your future. 

You actually start seeing your goals manifest and it begins to feel right. The universe is more aligned to your new attitude and the path of least resistance flows in your favor. 

It takes work. But it’s the best kind of work you can do. 

Mindset Work

Working on bettering your mind is always worth your time. Becoming aware of your thoughts is powerful and can help you to unlock the doors to your success faster once you accept where you currently are in your present reality. Not playing the blame game or feeling sorry for yourself, but owning your experience, then you can use that to start to redirect your focus on where you want to go. You can take steps to correct your attitude to reflect how you want to feel. This will begin a compound effect that helps you to act in a way that invites in the energy in alignment with your goal. 

But that is a blog for another time. 

Breath Mindset

So much of life is out of your control, and there is always going to be a reason to give up and go back to your comfort zone. Your attitude is one of those awesome things you get to control, so use that power wisely. 

When you need an attitude adjustment, turn to your breath. Every breath pattern you have is associated with a set of emotions and emotional reactions, so use your breath to calm your nervous system. Then you will have more space to allow your energy and thoughts to travel in a more positive way that will only benefit your growth and happiness. 

Looking for some breathing techniques to help check your attitude? Here are a few, “When Life Moves You Out of Alignment, Take a Step Back and Breathe”

Welcome to the Fantastic World of Nature Journaling with Jessica Winters

Prompts, Benefits, and Joys of Enjoying a Deeper Connection with Your Surroundings

Nature Journaling is a fun and engaging activity that has the potential to strengthen your connection to nature. It is simply the practice of using nature as your muse. A journal dedicated to recording your observations, thoughts, and feelings about what you see in nature. There is no right or wrong way to journal making this activity uniquely your own.

The benefits of time spent in nature are many, and journaling is a way to capture those feelings. The practice of taking time to appreciate the details of the experience not only calms the mind but gives you a deeper understanding of the world around you. 

Little insights add up, and as your recognition of different plants and animals improves so will your understanding of the land you stand on. 

Think of your last visit with nature. What stands out to you? 

  • Morning light shone through the trees to illuminate the forest floor.
  • Two Squirrels arguing over an afternoon treat.
  • The timeless serenity of a glacier lake.
  • Birds singing messages to each other.
  • A decaying log hosting hundreds of tiny orange mushrooms.
  • The roaring sound of a waterfall silencing the world around it.
  • The Cascading snow top mountains.

Nature journaling is a way to recall the subtle observations of these moments that might otherwise be lost. Moments that inspire you and offer a door to creativity or be used as an ongoing scientific adventure that records facts of the date and time taken. The possibilities are endless.

Journaling while in nature is also a reminder to slow down and enjoy the scenery. It’s so easy to forget the beautiful setting we are anchored in and get lost in the aerobic activity of hiking. This mindful activity reminds us to slow down and tune in to the wonderful world around us. 

All journals are essentially an extension of who you are and how you see and interact with the world around you. No two journals will be alike because we all observe from our own perspectives. 

How to Begin

Journalling is about insights and exploring your connection to the world. For some people that might mean drawing, and for others, it might mean writing. You might be more of a tree identifier and I might be more of a mushroom seeker. Nature journaling captures what you see. It’s a way to combine the benefits we get mentally from being in nature and from journaling. 

There is no “how-to” when it comes to this mindful activity because there are so many routes a person can take. Don’t overthink it, just start with what feels most natural to you. 

Here are some ideas to help get your senses to sharpen on the right path for you.

When you’re out on your next nature adventure pay close attention to your observations. 

  • What stands out for you?
  • What’s the weather like?
  • What do you smell?
  • What sounds do you hear?
  • Do you tend to notice critters? Or are you more interested in plants?
  • Are you more of an observer? Or are you a textile seeker?

Starting to note what you are attracted to can make this exercise more inviting and keep you active on the journey. Another way to get started is to think about how you will journal. Here are some ideas if you’re still feeling stuck.

  • Sketching what you see
  • Writing poetry about how the scenery makes you feel
  • Pressing leaves and flowers for data
  • Lists of animals observed
  • Drawings of wild berries 
  • Noticing patterns in the scenery
  • What to forage and when. 

Any way you decide to begin is perfect. It might shift and move as you grow in the practice and that’s perfect too. 

On Sunday, July 10th the Amazing Jessica Winters is going to be guiding a Nature Journaling class as part of Breathe in Nature

The event starts early so we can beat the heat and the crowds as we gather at Lake Desire at 8am. We will start with a short hike and find a place to settle in and breathe in nature: Connecting you to your surroundings and opening your five senses. After which Jessica will take the lead and guide you with queues to help your creative juices flow. 

About Jess

Today, certified by NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute for Wilderness First Aid, Jessica enjoys educating in many ways. As a  yoga teacher, offering wilderness yoga retreats and leading motivational and inspirational mountaineering experiences.

Combining her two loves, yoga and mountaineering, has been life-changing for Jessica. She is a natural-born teacher so sharing these two paths has brought passion to her life. 

Jessica launched her own business, Wilderness Adventure Yoga, and hasn’t looked back since. She is a great organizer of professionals so she can host retreats through places like Alaska and the Grand Canyon.

Journaling in Nature has brought great insight and richness to Jessica’s wilderness adventures. In 2007 she completed the Triple Crown of mountaineering having hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental divide trail. Her journals of these adventures keep them not only close to the heart but also intertwined into the details. With thousands of miles logged in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains here in Washington as well as across Iceland, and submitted both Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro. 

Jessica has formed her own relationship with her journals as well as the nature that surrounds her and she is still excited about all that this journey uncovers along the way. 

You do not want to miss this unique opportunity to meet Jessica and hear her story as you begin to dive into your own nature journaling experience. 

Ready to sign up? Head over to Breathe in Nature for all the details.