Mind & Spirit

7 ways to be strong, sexy and sophisticated

7 ways to be strong, sexy and sophisticated

Author: Canadian Living

Mind & Spirit

7 ways to be strong, sexy and sophisticated

A strong, sexy and sophisticated woman oozes empowerment and has a healthy sense of self. She's confident; not conceited. She accepts her flaws and claims her assets.

She might sound like a fictional character but what if that strong, sexy, sophisticated woman was you? Yes, you.

If you need convincing, perhaps now's the time to develop your most empowering traits. Here's how.

1. Build a stronger body with exercise
It's easy to understand how to build your physical strength. You do some cardio and weight lifting, you build muscle and repeat. Before you know it, you're able to run on that treadmill for an hour or do another 10 crunches. Congratulations! You've got a stronger body.

But you won't get a stronger body without making a commitment.

"Feeling stronger has to be a 'must' - a non-negotiable - not just a 'want,’” explains Lisa Martin, author, consultant and certified coach.  "When something is a 'must' for you, developing physical strength does not fit into your lifestyle, your lifestyle fits around your building strength."

2. Go for a walk
Sure, walking can improve your agility but it can also be mentally healing. "It allows you to clear your mind and slow the world down," says Sarah Hampson, author of Happily Ever After Divorce (Knopf, 2010).

So even if you have only 20 minutes to spare, she urges you to set aside some time for a good walk. "It's so easy to do and it doesn't require much skill."

3. Spend time with friends
But mental strength can be more elusive than physical strength. Or is it?

After the end of an 18-year marriage, Hampson credits her friends for helping her to sustain her strength. "It's important to have that connection to people around you," she explains. "Having a willingness to discuss difficult things, not being afraid to say you've made mistakes, getting affirmation and knowing that, by talking about your situation, you can help others…it makes you feel stronger."

To fuel the force of friendships in your life, Hampson recommends throwing a dinner party and inviting a group of people who might enjoy one another's company. "There's a conviviality that happens around a table," she declares. And, "You never know how many people want to have a sense of community and connection."

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4. Reclaim your confidence
Confidence could be the greatest side effect that comes from building your physical and mental strength.

But if you need an ego boost, heed these words of wisdom from Martin:
• Believe in yourself and the unique value and contribution you bring
to the world.
• Take care of yourself and appreciate all that you have physically, mentally and spiritually.

Hampson offers the following confidence boosters:
• Don't care so much about what other people think. "Find that balance between being a social being and being yourself," she suggests.
• Surround yourself with positive people.
• Learn to listen to yourself. Trust your intuition and "that little voice that says 'you can do this.’"

5. Conquer your negative thoughts
If strength-stealers threaten to bring you down, fight back. "Stop listening to your critic - that negative voice inside you; the little person sitting on your shoulder that wants to drag you down," Martin warns.

If you find it's impossible to tune out your inner pessimist, don't hesitate to seek help. "Go to therapy," Hampson recommends. She describes a therapist as a "professional listener" and a "confidante" who can help you sort out the corrosive thoughts that can leave you feeling weak.

6. Be a sexier you
Just as confidence is a side effect of strength, sexiness develops from confidence. If you've been out of sorts with your sexy side, try one of the following suggestions:
• Exercise and eat right. Sexiness starts with taking good care of yourself.
• Take a pole-dancing class. "Seriously," Martin clarifies. "It is a great way to have fun, get in shape and be in touch with your sexy side.”
• Indulge your curiosity. "Being engaged with the world makes you attractive and engaging," Hampson says.

7. Be selfish in order to be selfless
Your strong, sexy, sophisticated self understands the value of enjoying the things you love to do. "Walk, spend time with a girlfriend whose company you take pleasure in," suggests Hampson, who learned that nurturing yourself helps you to be at your greatest. "It starts with selfishness - oddly enough," she states. "Know what's for you so you can be your best self for others."

Even the most self-assured of us can feel like we're stuck in a rut every now and then. Reflecting on your needs could be the first step you take to realize a stronger, sexier and more confident you.

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Mind & Spirit

7 ways to be strong, sexy and sophisticated