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Boost your confidence: Stories from real women

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These stories can help you build confidence, achieve your dreams and be your best self. (©Jupiterimages/Brand X Images/Thinkstock) These stories can help you build confidence, achieve your dreams and be your best self. (©Jupiterimages/Brand X Images/Thinkstock)


By Elena Donovan Mauer
From
Completely You

When the going got really rough for these three women, they all found ways to stay positive. These stories can help to build confidence, achieve your dreams and be your best self -- no matter what life throws your way.

Go the Extra Mile

Learning to carve out "me time" can have a positive effect on our outlook and health. Sure, it can feel good to do things for other people, but overdoing it can be a bad thing. Taking time out can make us learn to love ourselves even more.

Kerrin D., 40: "After five years of dating [someone] I thought was the one, we had a breakup, and he immediately started dating my best friend. They're now married. Although I was devastated, it created an intense motivation, and I decided to run the New York City Marathon.

"Training was a serious commitment, but it also meant that I was able to take time for myself -- something I hadn't done much of in the past. My runs helped me clear my head and prioritize time, and in time, myself. 

"On the day of the marathon, I had an "aha" moment. About halfway through the race, I realized I was no longer running for revenge -- it was all about me. This moment made crossing the finish line one of the best moments of my life. The entire process -- the training, the running, the accomplishment -- was a serious confidence-builder. I got a lot stronger, both physically and mentally, and I realized that I'm not defined by anyone else."

Breathe Deeply

Even something as simple as focusing on breathing has vast mental benefits. It helps nurture mind, body and spirit. By concentrating on the basic needs of life, we can positively impact our outlook and health.

Jessica A., 35: "I first experienced symptoms of depression in high school. At its worst, I couldn't think straight or focus and I didn't enjoy time with friends. I met my husband after my junior year of college and I don't remember our first years as particularly joyful -- even with all of the early romance.

"After nine years living with depression, we decided to start a family. I committed to feeling better -- for good. I made the biggest effort by practicing yoga. I made an effort to incorporate some breath with movement every day. Later, I found a book called Yoga for Depression and that helped me actively incorporate the practice into my life.

"Yoga, for me, is about feeling in touch with my body, stretching my muscles and making sure I'm breathing and not holding any tension. I think that taking time to calm my mind and let go of tension in my body, to slow down, really helped me emotionally.

"Managing our life can be a challenge, but I make the effort to remain positive. I find it satisfying that my quest for a healthier lifestyle helped [create] a healthier body and mind, and that the two continue to support each other."

Mix It up

Appreciating the small things can help us achieve our ideal life. Taking control of the things that make us unhappy can empower and better our lives. Sometimes, it is as easy as making a shift in our daily schedules.

Melanie C., 35: "When I worked in an office, it was a cycle. I would get up, go to work, come home, watch a little TV and go to bed. Repeat. I was so involved in my work, the rest of my life was put on hold.

"Then at 29, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I was devastated and thought that my body had betrayed me. Eventually, I came to the realization that this news was giving me permission to actually live my life. I learned to appreciate and take advantage of every day.

"I soon changed jobs so I could have a more flexible schedule, and I no longer dreaded the daily grind. In fact, I now look forward to experiencing every moment. My schedule is a mix of work, play and family time, and I finally feel like I'm living my life.

"Dictating my own schedule has made me much more confident. Part of that may come with age, part of it from the cancer diagnosis -- I can put things in better perspective now -- and part of it by landing in a better place. But most of it comes from the fact that I'm the one -- not my job or the cancer -- controlling my own life now."

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