Dear Students: confidence is all in your head.

Confidence comes down to watching those thoughts inside our head

College students, specifically are extra hard on themselves these days. They feel the pressure to land great internships, pay their bills and do well academically. The sense of self-confidence is eroded by the fear and negative thoughts or negative self-talk. Instead of spending so much time consumed with our thoughts, why not try a different approach? Try practicing mindfulness or meditation — it’s different than what you may think of to overcome lack of confidence but I highly recommend it.

I’ve been in your shoes before; not sure about my own sense of self-confidence embarking on yet another career transition for the 10th time probably. This probably does not count the times when my head is circling many thoughts faster than I can count where I debate whether to give up and acknowledge defeat or keep forging ahead. However, I have discovered that my own sense of self-confidence stems from my own internal dialogue.

I’ve been practicing mindfulness and or meditation for the past year but in the past 6 months I’ve been going deeper into my practice. I’ve been practicing meditation practice at least once, if not twice a day either via sitting and breathing or even while walking. I have also joined a lunch time meditation regularly at least once a week to hold myself accountable. The physical and mental act of being present in a group meditation brings a wave of calm and peace as I watch my thoughts circle around. This practice of mindfulness and or meditation (whichever you prefer) has taught me to be kind and compassionate to myself. I use mindfulness and meditation to remind myself to let go and not be attached to any particular outcome.

So much about what we read and see in the media about confidence says ‘speak with authority, demonstrate your expertise’ all to show command and mastery. But I find that mindfulness and or meditation is key; rather than letting the internal dialogue spin I focus on being present and listening fully. Instead, I take a deep breath and listen to my breath and come to my own awareness and confidence.

This isn’t easy though and by no means does it mean practicing mindfulness and or meditation means those thoughts disappear. I use the techniques and practice to be present in a situation, task and not let my jump wander or jump ahead.

So for anyone out there struggling with confidence or self-esteem, I encourage you to practice meditation or mindfulness. There are lots of resources out there; apps such as Insight Timer or Headspace help you meditate on the go or join a group. The time we spend watching our thoughts and practicing breathing can help us find calm and confidence.