Dr Sima Patel
‘You become what you think about’ – Earl Nightingale
This month’s edition is the final continuation on the theme of resilience featured in the magazine over the last few months. It focusses on ‘self-confidence’ and this article will make more sense if it is read alongside the previous articles (soon to be made available on the 7Directory website under the tab: Psychology of Life – Changing Mind-sets).
Self-confidence is the belief that you can achieve success and competence. In other words – believing yourself to be capable. Self-confidence might be in reference to specific tasks or a more wide ranging attitude you hold about your abilities in life. This is important to think about during September as children return to a new school year or young adults start college and university and adults return to work or have space and time to think about themselves and what they want to do with their future.
Try the following strategies to boost your self-confidence so that you can feel better about yourself quickly.
Recall a time when you did something new for the first time.
Learning something new is often accompanied by feelings of nervousness, lack of self-belief and high stress levels, all of which are necessary parts of the learning process. The next time you feel under-confident, remembering this will remind you that it’s perfectly normal - you’re just learning!
Do something you have been putting off.
This could be anything like sorting out a bill, taking a walk, calling a good friend, cleaning the house, tidying the garden or getting the bike to the repair shop. If you can do this, it means that you have made a decision and you have followed it through.
Wear something that you really like and feel yourself looking better.
This does not have to be expensive or posh, just something that makes you look and feel great. Compliment someone who is wearing something that makes them look great. Complimenting others is a sign of confidence. Accepting compliments is also a sign of confidence.
Do something you are good at.
Examples? How about swimming, running, dancing, cooking, gardening, climbing, painting, meditating, singing, writing... You will feel more competent, accomplished and capable afterwards. Try to do this at least once a week as people who experience ‘flow’ regularly seem to be happier and healthier.
Think about something other than yourself and do something distracting.
Lack of confidence can come from thinking too much about yourself and your weaknesses. Doing something that absorbs you and holds your attention can quickly make you feel better.
Relaxing is important
If you are feeling low, anxious or lacking in confidence, the first thing to do is to stop thinking and relax properly. Some people do this by meditating, yoga, other forms of exercising, singing, making jam and other activities that involve doing something that occupies their mind.
When you are properly relaxed, your brain is less emotional and your memory for good events works better.
Remember all the things you have achieved.
This can be difficult at first, but after a while you will be able to have a handy mental list of self-esteem boosting memories. Achievements do not have to be on an Olympic scale. It could be things like talking to someone new (even when you felt nervous), going to a new class (even though you worried no-one would talk to you), passing exams (despite doubting that you would) and so on. Visualise yourself doing a task that you are worried about with a confident looking image of you. Sports athletes often use visualisation techniques to see themselves winning. Make a choice not to believe everything you see and read on social media. Ask yourself how often a public self is being presented on there.
Think about whether or not you believe what is presented to you rather than following others. This will enable you to get a stronger belief in yourself rather than following the crowd and the crowd is not always right. If you want to think differently from the crowd but lack confidence, share your thoughts and ideas with wise friends. This way, you can learn to trust yourself and grow your own confidence with support.
So we come to the end of the resilience series. Remember resilient people are not born that way and are not just the lucky ones. They are resilient because of the way they think and the things they do from day to day.
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