Updated: Oct 30, 2020
"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale
What is self-confidence? Confidence is our feeling or belief in our ability to accomplish a goal. Confidence is reflective of our past experiences and is something that requires constant practice. The reality is it isn't always easy to be confident. In your daily life, you will receive criticism from others - at school, in the workplace and our personal life. In addition, we are bombarded with constant images on social media which fuel unhealthy and unrealistic comparisons. On top of that, we must deal with our own self-doubt and self-criticism. When we hold negative thoughts about ourselves, it can create feelings of guilt and shame. When we act on those feelings, we can further reinforce our thoughts, and it is easy to get trapped in this cycle. While we all have flaws and insecurities, you have all the reasons to feel great about who you are.
Here are 10 things you can do right now to improve your confidence:
Look your best (Do Self-Care) While this may seem simple and somewhat obvious. It can tremendously change how you feel about yourself immediately. Take a shower, style your hair, apply makeup, put on your favourite outfit. Grooming routines are different for everyone. What is important is to present yourself in a way that makes you feel your best. Especially during these times, where many of us are working or studying from home, it's easy to overlook these things. While we may not need or desire to be as polished as usual, make sure to incorporate a few of these steps into your daily routine. I like to live by the mantra: "If you look good, you'll feel good and you'll do good".
Clean your closet This point ties in closely with the first one. Do you have clothes in your closet you don't wear? You are not alone. It is estimated that 30% of our closet goes unworn. You may have this on your to-do list but never get around to it. By keeping and wearing clothing that is ill-fitting, unflattering or disliked, it will affect how we feel about ourselves. There are many valid reasons why our closet needs a refresh - our body changes, our styles changes, our lifestyle changes. If you haven't worn something in 6-12 months - it's time to either sell or give away or donate it. Streamlining our closet makes it easier for us to get ready, and makes us feel good about getting dressed.
Listen to music Music has the ability to affect our mood significantly. Make a playlist of songs that make you feel motivated, inspired or energized. Incorporating music into our daily lives is easy. Music streaming services have made millions of songs available at our fingertips. Play music while you are getting ready, during your commute, during school or work (when you can), or while exercising.
Meditate The benefits of meditation are numerous including reducing stress, anxiety, regulating mood, improved sleep and cognition. For some, the idea of meditation elicits images of monks sitting and chanting for hours. Luckily, most of us do not need this level of dedication to benefit from meditation. It is completely up to you to meditate in the way you choose. This can be as simple as sitting in silence for a few minutes and focusing on your breath. You can spend some time in nature and disconnect from your day to day life. There are numerous apps and videos available to enrich your mediation. Some are guided, some are just calming music or soundscapes.
Do something you enjoy or something you are good at. Whether it is playing a sport or an instrument. Whether it is hiking up a mountain or swimming in water. Whether it is creating art or reading books. Do something that makes you feel genuinely happy. Not only will it make you feel good, but it will also help to reinforce your skills, talents or abilities.
Take a (small) step outside your comfort zone In order to build confidence, we need to expose ourselves to different situations where we can practice it. Start by taking small steps, as they are much easier to handle. It can be as simple as striking a conversation with a stranger. You can try out a new restaurant or pick up a new hobby. As you do these things we can grow your comfort zone, and allow yourself to take on more difficult situations.
Prepare Yourself Preparation helps us perform our best. Whether we are writing a test, giving a presentation, or having a difficult conversation. Prepare to the best of your abilities, and practice before the actual situation. That being said, also prepare yourself for setbacks, rejections and failures. These things can happen, and being prepared on how to deal with them can help you move forward. Most importantly, know that they do not define you or your abilities.
Create Success and Gratitude Lists During a hard time, it is difficult to reflect on positive things. Take a moment to write a list of accomplishments that you are proud of. Write a list of things that you are thankful for. Keep a record of compliments and praises you have received from others. Keep these lists close-by so you can refer to them when you need a confidence boost.
Prioritize your health Take care of both your physical and your mental health. Exercise regularly, eat nutritiously and sleep well. Check out the following links for recommendations and tips: Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines: https://csepguidelines.ca/ Canada's Food Guide: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/ Remember to keep up to date with annual check-ups and appointments. Most importantly, get in touch with professionals when needed. Whether its a doctor, dentist, optometrist, nutritionist, psychologist or personal trainer.
Consider Therapy If you feel like you need additional support, consider seeing a therapist. A therapist can help you look at things objectively, assess your current situation and address issues from your past. They can help you identify negative thought patterns and provide small, actionable steps to improve your confidence. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one of the most commonly used techniques to manage stress and depression; however, a skilled therapist can recommend the best technique for you.
Self-confidence is a skill, that requires constant practice. Each person will have their own challenges and set-backs unique to themselves. What is most important is that we practise self-care, reflect on positive thoughts, and challenge our comfort zone. If you ever find this to be difficult, be sure to reach out for support from friends, family or a professional.
McAtee Psychology is a private family psychology practice offering counselling, assessment, and therapeutic services to families. Our services include counselling and assessment for individuals, couples, and children & teens. Our mission is to help you and your family create a more rich, connected, and meaningful life.
McAtee Psychology NW: 1982 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB
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