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Trust Yourself -- Good Advice From the Gift of Giving Contest

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Mental health was a focal point of the entries in the Gift of Giving Contest sponsored by EmpowHer.com. Most women competing for the $2,500 gift card at to Tiffany’s & Co., believe that one’s mental health and physical health are intimately tied with many saying that trusting oneself and cultivating self-confidence are paramount to good health and a happy life.

Nicole, who was accepted into pharmacy school and became a graduate student at age 20, says women need to believe in themselves, even when others don't.

“My family stands behind me, but others frowned upon my decision thinking that I will drop out or that I wont be able to handle the work load. I, on the other hand, believe that if I made it this far, and got accepted, then what makes everyone think I can't do it? Professors tell me I'm too young and that it's going to be too much for such a young student to handle while other students think I'm too serious and that I gave up fun for school work. I have always believed in myself and I have always pushed myself to do things and accomplish my goals. Becoming a pharmacist was a particular goal of mine for several years now, and I know that because I believe in myself, I will accomplish not only graduate school, but any other obstacle life throws at me.”

Kerri advises to toss aside self-doubt and fear and let go of notions holding you back from achieving what you want to achieve.

“You need to remember that life is worth living, and that there is something amazing hidden in every single day. You just have to enjoy life to find out what it is. You need to let go of your stress. All of the stress that bogs you down needs to be released. Stress causes wrinkles, anxiety, and even can cause certain health problems. Some ways to relieve stress include:

• Yoga- Stretching relieves tension.

• Exercise- Exercising releases endorphins, which cause stress.

• Meditate- set aside five minutes to an hour a day for meditation.

• Find a quiet place, a peaceful place, and sit down on the floor. Sometimes it is nice to sit with your legs crossed, but just do whatever feels comfortable. Close your eyes and relaxes, focus on your breathing. Think about all of the stressful things in your life while you take a deep breath, when you breath out release all of the stress, and problems in your life. After that create a place in your mind that you can go to and feel comfortable, and at peace. It is also nice to light some candles while you are doing this meditation because it is calming, and it is like your stress is rising from the flame and going up and away.

• Most of all ENJOY YOUR LIFE! That is the key to having a healthy mind and body.

After finding self confidence, Christy would go on to lose 50 pounds, run a half-marathon and train for a triathlon. Here’s what she has to say.

I have found that the best health advice anyone can use is to believe in yourself. Three years ago, I was drastically overweight. I had little confidence in myself and I didn’t have the motivation to lose the weight I needed to and begin a healthy lifestyle. A dear friend gave me the confidence I needed to begin the journey. She believed in me like no one had before. I started to view myself differently and began to make some changes in my lifestyle.

I made changes little by little. I began keeping track of what I ate. I began exercising a little bit. I began to see myself for who I was and what I had to offer. I started to believe that I could actually become the person I had always dreamed about.

It definitely has not been easy. Nor has it been fast. But as I look back over the past three years, I have come a long way. I've lost over 50 pounds, I've learned to enjoy jogging, and even ran in a half marathon. I learned to swim, and am currently training for my third triathlon. I've learned to incorporate healthier eating habits into my lifestyle while still enjoying the foods I love. But most of all, I have learned that I am worth it. I've learned that I can do anything I set my mind to. And even though it may not happen overnight, little by little, you can inch your way to your dreams.

Chelsea also advises not worrying about what others think and trusting yourself and your judgment.

I think the one major problem with society is we all try to seem perfect. Loosen up! Let your hair down and show the real you to people. You shouldn't worry about how people see you; if people only like you because you're pretty with an inch of make up and you have the best car in town, they aren't your true friends so why worry about it? Worrying about how people view you just takes time out of your life that you could be enjoying yourself even more. I used to be one of those girls who spent all my energy trying to create a reputation, taking an hour each morning to do my hair just right and pick out the most revealing outfit I own. When I got sick, I realized that none of that really matters! Your friends are your friends no matter how you look; they like you for what's on the inside not outside. The things portrayed in movies, magazines and TV shows are SOOOO misleading for women these days! If everyone followed what the celebrities do, we would all wear clothes that cover about one square foot (if that), wear 10 pounds of make up, go out drinking and partying every night, and be completely fake. Is that a society you want to live in?

To sum up my advice:
-Don't worry about your appearance so much
-Don't worry how people view your looks, only about how they see your TRUE personality
-Don't be fake
-Don't worry about what the famous people do
-DO take pride in yourself as how you really are
-Even on your worst days, SMILE! It'll make you feel better