I had a look on the internet this week to see what people were searching for surrounding “confidence” and there is actually a large spike in the trend here in WA where people are searching for the term on Google.
So what can be done to improve confidence?
Thankfully, there are a large number of simple things that anyone can do to boost their self-confidence:
Make three lists:
One of your strengths, one of your achievements, and one of the things that you admire about yourself. Try to get a friend or relative to help you with these lists. Keep the lists in a safe place and read through them regularly.
1. Emphasise strengths
Give yourself credit for everything you try. Think of things you’re good at, everyone has strengths and talents, what are yours? Recognising what you’re good at and trying to build on those things can be a really valuable way of building confidence in your own abilities.
2. Look at what you’ve already achieved
Sometimes it can be easy to focus on what you haven’t done. It’s easy to lose confidence if you feel like you haven’t achieved anything. Focusing on stuff you have done, big or small, can help you gain perspective on all your talents and abilities.
Write down a list of all the things you’re proud of in your life. Think of things you have achieved. Keep this list close and add to it when you do something you’re proud of. When you’re low in confidence, pull this list out and use it to remind you of all the awesome stuff that you have done.
3. Set some goals and aim to achieve them
By proving to yourself that you can get stuff done, you’ll prove to yourself what you’re capable of achieving. They don’t have to be big goals; they can even be things like baking a cake or planning to catch up with friends. Just little things that can be ticked off a list and help you gain self-confidence in your ability to get things done.
More tips for improving confidence
Pay special attention to your personal hygiene: for example, style your hair, trim your nails, floss your teeth.
Eat good food as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Make meal times a special time, even if you are eating alone. Turn off the TV or radio and set the table. 88% of people in 1 study found a significant improvement in their mental health after improving their diet. When your blood sugar is too low, you feel tired and irritable. Don’t skip breakfast as doing this affects your memory and attention.
Exercise regularly: go out for a brisk walk every day, and take more vigorous exercise (exercise that makes you break into a sweat) three times a week. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin which make you feel happier. People who are more active show lower levels of anxiety, depression and stress.
Exercise also improves learning, concentration, memory, organisation, planning, and ability to juggle different tasks. It even stimulates brain cell regeneration! By walking and gardening you can gain similar benefits as strenuous exercise. Research suggests that contact with nature improves your health and well being and helps to prevent illness and stress.
Ensure that you are getting enough sleep. When we dream our brain processes memories, consolidates new skills and solves problems and lack of sleep is a well known contributing factor in feeling down.
8. Manage stress
Try to manage your stress levels as best you can. Identify things that help to lower your levels. Seek professional advice if you feel that you need it.
9. Living space
Make your living space clean and comfortable. Display the items that remind you of your achievements or of the special times and people in your life.
10. Do more of what you love or take up a hobby
Do more of the things that you enjoy doing when you can. Try to find something that you’re really passionate about. Think of some of the stuff you’re really interested in and commit yourself to giving them a go.
Finding hobbies that you’re passionate about will help you find stuff that you’re good at. Chances are, if you’re interested or passionate about a certain activity you’re likely to be good at it as well. Hobbies and activities enable you to express yourself, add to your skill set, and interact positively with others.
Set yourself a challenge that you can realistically achieve, and then go for it! For example, take up yoga, learn to sing, or cook.
11. Do what you have been putting off
Do some of the things that you have been putting off, such as clearing out the garden, washing the windows. I am sure that we can all make a list of these things. I know that mine would be at least a page or two long.
12. Do something nice for others
For example, strike up a conversation with the person at the shop, visit a friend who is sick, or get involved with a local charity.
13. Get others involved
Tell your “trusted” friends and relatives what you are going through and enlist their advice and support. Perhaps they have similar problems too.
Try to spend more time with those you hold near and dear. At the same time, try to enlarge your social circle by making an effort to meet people. And sometimes we do really need to make that effort.
On the other hand, avoid people, that treat you badly or that make you feel bad about yourself. This could mean being more assertive. If assertiveness is a problem for you, ask a professional about assertiveness training.
14. Take risks
Approach new experiences as opportunities to learn rather than occasions to win or lose. Doing so opens you up to new possibilities and can increase your sense of self-acceptance.
Learn to evaluate yourself independently. Doing so allows you to avoid the constant sense of turmoil that comes from relying on the opinions of others. Focus internally on how you feel about your own behavior. It will give you a stronger sense of self and will prevent you from giving your personal power away to others. This can be an empowering tool.
16. Positive thinking and changing self-talk
Think positively about yourself. Be mindful of negative self-talk that might be affecting your self-confidence. We are all guilty of negative self-talk at times and it is so important to challenge this talk or these beliefs.
Here are a couple of examples of what I mean and how you can change them –
Examples of typical negative self-talk and how you might apply a positive spin include:
I’ve not done this before. I can learn something new.
It’s too hard. I’ll try a different way or break it down into smaller steps
I am not good at things like this. The more I do this, the better I will get at it.
Remind yourself that, despite your problems, you are a unique, special, and valuable person, and that you deserve to feel good about yourself.
When you know more about who you are and what you want out of life – (not what other people say you want because there is a difference) – you will have more confidence in yourself and what you can do. This will of course take time. It may be something that never really ends because it is worth remembering that we are all “a work in progress” not a finished product. So we might as well get started now.
If you’re not feeling better
Sometimes the quick fixes don’t help in the long term. If you’re feeling really bad and things just don’t seem to be getting better, it might be worth going to talk to someone who knows how to build you up.
Professionals like counsellors and psychologists have some really good strategies that can help in improving confidence. Not only that, but they may be able to help you find the underlying problem.www.visioncounselling.com.au Published: 09/04/2014 References “How to build self-confidence”, (Reach Out), Available: https://au.reachout.com (Accessed: 2014, March 17). “Self-Confidence”, (Counselling Center Illinois), Available: https://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu (Accessed: 2014, March 17). “Building Self-Confidence”, (Mind Tools), Available: https://www.mindtools.com (Accessed: 2014, March 17). Tartakovsky, M. (2013), “3 Techniques to Boost Your Confidence”, (Psych Central), Available: https://psychcentral.com (Accessed: 2014, March 17). Burton, N. (2012), “Building Confidence and Self-Esteem”, (Psychology Today), Available: https://www.psychologytoday.com (Accessed: 2014, March 17). Image Reference: Dollar Photo Club