Is this pandemic leaving you feeling a bit wobbly? You’re not alone. But these easy tricks will help you feel more confident about those things you do have some control over.
- Stop reinforcing the negative
You may not realise it, but you have lots of strengths and positive qualities. Spend some time thinking about them, or draw a timeline of your life listing things you’ve done well or that you enjoyed. It will give you a visual reminder of why you should be proud of yourself. Pschologists say most people spend too long focusing on negatives – such as perceived flaws in how they look – but it is important to focus on things you do like. Stop reinforcing the negatives by talking down to yourself.
- Think yourself confident
Ever heard of the phrase, ‘fake it until you make it’? It really works. The trick is to start small. Smile and say hello. A positive attitude makes all the difference to feeling confident, so if you’re going for an interview or even a socially-distant date, turn it around. If you expect rejection it is far more likely to happen.
- Yes, you are a good parent
Great parents are made, not born. It is a skill you have to learn. Read some books or join some online forums if you feel you aren’t doing the best job you can, both of which are great ways to boost your confidence as a parent. Taking part in classes will also help you meet other mums and dads, and you might find they’re in the same boat!
- Learn to say no
Are you often talked into doing things you’d rather not? Not being able to say no when you are already busy can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. Talk about it. Clearly explain why you can’t do it and suggest an alternative. You’ll feel much better once you’ve set up some boundaries.
- Keep learning
Studies have shown that continued learning through life, and not just stopping at school or college, can give us greater optimism and satisfaction and help boost self-esteem. You don’t need to go so far as booking a course or going for a degree, simply learning a new skill can give you a great sense of achievement and fulfilment. So get on You Tube and learn to change a tyre, or cook a new recipe!
- Improve your body language
The author of Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness, Gillian Butler, says, “Sit up straighter, make eye contact and speak clearly”. Whether talking to the PTA or a company board, this is a simple confidence booster. If you have to do a presentation, why not pretend you are talking to a single person? A group is just a bunch of single people sitting together after all!
- Take small steps
Taking baby steps outside of your comfort zone and being able to cope will do wonders for your confidence. Heading back to the cinema on your own might do it, or taking up a new hobby and trying something different. The more you do it, the more your confidence will grow.
- Take time to listen
If you’re finding it difficult to communicate with a friend or partner, or struggling to get through to a stroppy teenager, try not to take it personally – everyone is struggling with their mental health in some way during these difficult days. Instead, really listen to what they are trying to say. Learning to empathise and accept that sometimes you’ll disagree is perfectly normal – even healthy – in any relationship.
- Do some exercise
We all know exercise is good for us physically, but it has lots of feel-good benefits too. Even gentle exercise like going for a walk releases chemicals in the brain that help boost mood. Exercise also helps you sleep better, gives you more energy, and helps you become more body confident. NHS recommends adults aim for at least 150 minutes exercise each week.
- A problem shared…
If someone – or something – is bothering you, don’t keep it bottled up. Talk it over with a good friend or partner, who may offer a different perspective. Just ‘getting it out’, even if trivial, can help stop tension building up. Many pschologists suggest writing a letter to the offending person or thing, to vent everything on your mind, then burning or destroying the letter once you are done.