What You Can Do Every Day To Feel More Empowered

Picture the scene: you're lounging on the couch after work, too exhausted to do much but flip back and forth between a dumb TV show you kind of hate, and skipping through the Spotify playlist on your phone. And then out of nowhere KT Tunstall's extremely rad 2004 single, "Suddenly I See" starts playing and you're grooving to her lyrics: "Her face is a map of the world/Is a map of the world/You can see she's a beautiful girl/She's a beautiful girl/And everything around her is a silver pool of light/The people who surround her feel the benefit of it/It makes you calm/She holds you captivated in her palm."

Oh man, doesn't that sound great? Wouldn't you love to feel so perfect, impressive, and successful that people might think of you like that? The chorus lyrics, "Suddenly I see/This is what I wanna be" might as well have been written about you. So how do you move from the moment of identifying your ideal image, to actually getting there yourself?

First, I recommend listening to that KT Tunstall track as you read this, to get the good vibes flowing. Second, remember that there is no such thing as a perfect person who everyone loves and is universally considered to be incredible. Third, remember that lots of tiny little things add up to big momentous waves of change. So get started taking some effective action to foster self-empowerment on the daily.

Spend 7 minutes exercizing

If you've ever gotten deep into a yoga groove (and it's worth it, trust me) then you may have heard the idea that if done correctly, it only takes about seven minutes of yoga practice to start feeling improvements in your body and mind. You can feel fresher, more focused, more present, and more grounded in your own body. Does that sound appealing?

Well, along the same lines, a 2013 article in The New York Times took source material from a study published in The American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal, popularizing the idea of a seven minute HICT (high interval circuit training) that would give you all the health and mood-boosting effects of a much longer workout. There's oodles of science to back it up, but nothing beats the experience of feeling the benefits for yourself. Daily (or near-daily) exercise is not only good for your physical health, it also leaves you with a boosted mood.

Empower somebody else

"The beauty of empowering others is that your own power is not diminished in the process," Barbara Coloroso once said. And it doesn't take a huge amount of effort. Simply give someone an earnest compliment (people can tell when you mean it or not). Recommend someone for a job you know they'd be good at. Buy something from a small business that's just starting out.

Helping others is a great way to get energized and feel good about yourself, but it's also a great way for people to remember what you did for them. Someday they might want to return the favor.

Give to a cause you care about

All that stuff about helping others? Well, doing it in an organized kind of way could have maximum impact for both you and the world. According to the Harvard Health Blog, volunteering has been proven to have physical and mental health benefits for those who give their time to a cause they care about.

In fact, one study has even shown that volunteering can lower blood pressure and even help you live longer! But what if you're majorly time-crunched as it is? Start by giving cash donations to a charity you admire. It's a great way to dip a toe into the altruistic world without needing to stay up all night to fit your whole life in.

Try a new coffee shop

Veering away from your normal flight path and checking out a new place for your three o'clock caffeine fix can help you to feel more engaged in your community. You'll feel good for exploring and enjoying your city more, supporting a new local business, and you might even meet new people. As the proverb goes, "A change is as good as a rest."

Floss your teeth, woman!


Ok, hear me out. I know you're not hanging around waiting to be hassled with unsolicited dental advice, but here's the thing: Flossing is associated with better overall physical health and even longer life, not just a white smile. And since it only takes like a minute, it's a really good place to start focusing on self-care.

Personally, whenever I fall into bed without flossing my teeth, I have a fear that this one moment of carelessness could spiral into a larger pattern of self-neglect. Am I the only one who gets that!? Take the minute to remind yourself that you deserve to have nice healthy teeth.

Resist the urge to compare yourself with others

It's even worse to compare yourself with others than to compare apples and oranges. Why? Because apples and oranges are just pieces of fruit that both grow on trees. We are people. We all have wildly different pasts, families, talents, stories, privileges, traumas — you name it!

Additionally, there is really nothing to be gained from the practice. Either you feel bad about yourself by looking at someone who is "doing better" in your mind (and experience suggests they're having their own hidden problems anyway), or you feel good about yourself by deciding you're better than someone else. So let's face it, both outcomes suck. There's no need to do it. And as the helpful quote from Iyanla Vanzant goes, "Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self." There's no one like you, so, don't bother.

Eat something nourishing

The term "healthy" food is so laden with myths and insinuations, as well as traces of past failures or successes, that I don't even use it anymore. Instead, think about the idea of choosing something to eat that would feel nourishing to you.

Dr. Carmen Harra, a best-selling author and clinical psychologist, shared her theory in The Huffington Post that "the nourishment you provide for your body has a direct link to your overall well-being. Food of no nutritional value leaves you lethargic, depressed, and powerless. Lack of energy is your body's way of asking for better food. While building up your inner strength, you must fortify your body, too." So instead of thinking about "healthy" food choices being about what you take away from your diet, start thinking about what nourishing foods you would like to add in.

Learn something new

Daylle Deanna Schwartz is a speaker, self-empowerment counselor, and best-selling author who recommends learning new things as a tool for self-empowerment. Do you feel embarrassed that you keep making the same grammar mistakes you did in middle school? Spend 30 minutes reading some quick and dirty tips and clean up your act! Want to finally learn to swim after years of hanging by the pool pretending you just don't feel like going in? Sign up for a community college class!

There's nothing like gaining a new skill. And research from The University of Toronto (via Science Daily) shows you're never too old to learn new tricks!

Learn when to say screw it

How much time are you willing to spend digging into a project, relationship, or idea that just isn't working? Many people find themselves stuck in situations where they have invested a lot of time or work or money, and are focused on how much would be "wasted" if they quit. Well friends, I'm here to say: Screw it!

Dr. Heidi Grand Halvorson writes in Psychology Today about the "science of success," and she agrees. "Thanks to recent research by Northwestern University psychologists Daniel Molden and Chin Ming Hui," Halvorson explains, "There is a simple and effective way to be sure you are making the best decisions when a things go awry: Focus on what you have to gain, rather than what you have to lose." If you are focused on the sunk costs and time you've already spent, it's hard to find a way to win. If you're focused on what you could gain by dropping an impossible task (your time, your mental focus, etc.) then you'll be more equipped to make a realistic choice that could have positive outcomes.

Say thank you instead of sorry

Have you felt the life-changing magic of tossing "sorries" into the trash can? I'm not talking about never apologizing if you've truly done something hurtful, I'm talking about scrapping unnecessary negativity toward yourself. Change each "Sorry I've inconvenienced you" moment into a chance for someone else to feel generous.

Instead of "I'm so sorry I'm late," how about saying "Thank you for waiting for me"? Rather than "Oh gosh, I'm so sorry I'm tearing up," try "Thanks for letting me cry." In lieu of "Sorry, I don't have time for a new project," double down with "Thanks for thinking of me! Too bad I don't have time right now."

Getting yours

When you hear the phrase "self-empowerment" what do you picture in your mind? Maybe you see a person with confidence in the value of their own perspective. Maybe it's someone who garners loads of external accolades. Maybe it's someone who is brave enough to be kind to themselves and others. However you view the concept of self-empowerment, remember that you have the power to get there.