This blog post was originally written as an article for the Irish Sunday Business Post on behalf of ReachOut.com
Self-confidence is a trait that is very important in so many aspects of life; however, it seems to be something that a lot of people still struggle with. Lack of self-confidence can impact our ability to be successful in parts of life like work, studies, and our relationships.
Poor self-confidence can be caused by several different things, such as a difficult or traumatic childhoods or currently experiencing difficult times. Regardless of the cause, there a few things you can do to help boost your self-confidence.
Review your strengths
Take a moment to write down a list of the things you are good at, or that you like about yourself. Ask yourself what do you like about who you are? What are some challenges that you have overcome? What do others say they like about you?
When you list the positive qualities, it can also be helpful to identify an example that illustrates this quality about yourself. For example, if you feel that one of your traits is being organised, this could be illustrated by taking time work on your budget, or organising your desk at work. Using recent examples can help remind you that these qualities are alive and well within yourself. Once you have created this list, keep it somewhere you can see or refer to often.
Set and Work Towards Goals
As part of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, identify your weakness and opportunities that you would like to build upon. Perhaps one of your goals is to improve your assertiveness communication to stand up for yourself in work, or express things you want in your relationships. You can then look into assertiveness training courses, and work towards achieving this goal. Keeping track of your goals and marking them off as you achieve them can help you to more easily see your progress.
When suffering from poor self-confidence, it is common for more negative than positive thoughts to enter your mind. This is the time it is important to try to create a balance, and focus on the positive things about the day or yourself. If you find you are having a difficult time replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, referring back to your strengths list can be helpful.
Stay Physically Healthy
The better your physical health, the better your mental health will be. Be sure to engage in regular exercise, eat healthy, and get enough sleep each night. Studies have shown that these three things can help your body to manage stress better, and ward off physical illness. Additionally, the better you feel physically, the more improved your mood will be.
Engage in enjoyable activities
If the majority of your day is spent in a stressful job, or you are experiencing difficult life events at the moment, it is vital to also engage in enjoyable activities. These negative and stressful times need to be balanced with things that are fun and create positive thoughts and memories. Keep a list of activities you can do when stressed as a reference. Watching a funny movie, calling a friend, or even listening to your favourite song can help bring a little bit more enjoyment into your day.
Although it will not happen overnight, working these five steps will help to bring your lie back into balance, and allow you to feel more confident in yourself.
Nicole Paulie is a Counselling Psychologist, and co-author of “How to be Happy and Healthy – The seven natural elements of mental health.” She provides therapy in the Dublin city area. Contact us to learn more or to book an appointment.