5 Ways to Channel Your Inner Badass

6 min read

The word “overcome” is a tricky one. In the English language, we don’t have a word to describe the ongoing tenacity it can take to work through adversity, persistent setbacks, or the consistent life challenges thrown our way.

Source: x) Speckfechta / Unsplash

Getting out of your head and into your body can help channel your inner badass

Source: x) Speckfechta / Unsplash

The word “strength” can seem a bit mild and generic, while “persistence” in the face of difficulty seems to be a better fit. At any rate, the best word I can think of to illustrate the personification of all these attributes is badass.

There are lots of ways to get in touch with your inner badass. Here are five of them.

1. Make a list of all you have overcome, and how you did it

I never thought I’d make it is a common sentiment when I talk with patients navigating their “new normal” after life changing illnesses or injuries. It’s common to feel overwhelmed when facing what feels like an insurmountable huge life change. Taking small steps may feel insignificant (especially when we’re used to feeling a sense of control or mastery), but when we add them up, keep moving ahead and look back over time, it can feel like a huge accomplishment—and it is!

I remember recovering from a traumatic accident in a hospital bed in our living room for three months, feeling weak, tired, and in a lot of pain. At first, my physical therapists provided encouragement to do just enough work to begin getting stronger. An initial walk into the kitchen and back to my bed. Then a stroll to the end of the block. Within the month, walking around the block progressed to signing up for classes again at the gym, where I learned to listen to my body and take it slow. Several years later, my family and I would conquer Gray’s Peak, a Colorado 14er.

I never thought I’d get there. But I did.

It’s hard to remember that all progress takes time. Listing what we’ve overcome reinforces the fact that we really are resilient, and it helps us remember that badassery is imbued within our nature. All we need to do is keep moving forward, visualize an empowered version of ourselves, and become it.

2. Get out of your head, and into your body

There are many benefits to moving your body.[1] They range from easing depression, to helping manage stress and anxiety, to improving self-confidence, to regulating appetite and improving overall wellbeing. Exercise of any kind releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins are “feel-good” chemicals because they can make you feel better and put you in a positive state of mind.

It’s common for people nowadays to camp out in their minds, believing that somehow we can “think” our way through whatever is going on. Overthinking can lead to depression, anxiety, or avoidance behavior patterns that keep us isolated and disconnected—when connection is really what we need.

Embodied movement is any form that forces us out of our heads, connecting us to our bodies and the world around us. The next time you’re tempted to try “thinking” your way around a situation, try going for a bike ride, attending a yoga class, or head to the gym. Chances are you will come back with a fresh, new outlook and renewed determination to tackle whatever is in front of you.

3. Make an empowerment song playlist

Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger. Rachel Platten’s Fight Song. Sara Bareilles’ Brave. Van Halen’s Jump are some common empowerment songs that come to mind. But it can be just as invigorating to listen to an extended electric guitar solo or tribal drum music to feel in-tune with your body, mind, and spirit’s rhythms.

In his article Six Ways Listening to Music Can Lift Your Mood,[2] Heshmat Shahram PhD states: “It is no accident that dance music makes people happy because it is easy to attune to its rhythmic pattern. Our internal rhythms (e.g., heart rate) speed up or slow down to become one with the music.”[3]

Music has the unique capacity to hijack our emotions and to propel us out of a funk when we’re prone to go there. That’s why it’s important to use music as a helpful tool to reignite the pilot light of our inner badassery, especially when we feel our resilience slipping.

4. Surround yourself with people who celebrate you

When we are going through challenging times, it can be tempting to hunker down and isolate ourselves from anything perceived as stressful or overwhelming. This is okay, for a while. But we need supportive community to really thrive.

Studies have shown that the people we spend time with have a tremendous impact on our moods, our attitudes, and our behaviors. It’s important to understand that the quality of our relationships impacts our overall well-being, and to determine if the people we spend the most time with lift us up or pull us down.

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In her New York Times post, The Power of Positive People: Are Your Friendships Giving You a Boost or Letting Your Down? Tara Parker Pope cites Dan Buettner, National Geographic author and host of the Netflix documentary Live to 100, Secrets of the Blue Zones: “I argue that the most powerful thing you can do to add healthy years is to curate your immediate social network.” Mr. Buettner advises people to focus on three to five real-world friends, rather than distant Facebook friends. “In general you want friends with whom you can have a meaningful conversation,” he said. “You can call them on a bad day and they will care. Your group of friends are better than any drug or anti-aging supplement, and will do more for you than just about anything.”[4]

Channeling your badass self requires acceptance. It commands self-acceptance and encouragement from those who are invested in real relationships that are reciprocal in nature and always evolving.

5. Fake it till you make it

There is a lot to be said for intentionality, and digging deep into the inner well of resilience is no exception. Like so many things in life, believing in your badass self is a practice. Sometimes we need to shake off our preconceived beliefs or value judgments. We may just need an occasional nudge or permission to continue forging ahead.

It’s important to have an empowered vision of yourself, and to believe in it. Whatever it takes, know that the world awaits an empowered, resilient you! Get out there and make it happen.

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