We all go through times in life when our confidence takes a hit. Something goes a bit wrong in your work or personal life and suddenly your self-esteem feels a bit shaky. This sort of confidence crisis can be difficult to recover from, which is why I thought for this blog post I would take a look at some ways to give your confidence a boost.
Make a list
Start off by making a list of ways in which you lack confidence. This could include things like blaming yourself when you make a mistake, focusing on your failings, avoiding certain things because you think you’ll only fail, craving approval from others, having difficulty making decisions or thinking that others are more important than you. Then, go through each item on the list and write down how you could change this behaviour. Or come up with a positive affirmation to repeat to yourself on a daily basis – for example, “I believe in myself”.
Our posture has a direct effect on how we feel, so learn to walk tall and you’ll instantly feel better. Push back your shoulders, lift your chin and hold your head high. An osteopath once told me this trick: imagine that there’s a balloon on a string above your head and visualize it pulling you upwards. If you feel your posture sagging a bit, imagine that balloon tugging you upwards again.
You may not feel like smiling, but have a go at faking it and you will find that the act of smiling actually helps to make you feel better and more confident – it’s kind of tricking your mind into feeling more positive. What’s more, you’ll find that people respond to you in a positive way and in turn it will make you feel better about yourself.
Focus on the positives
The following NLP technique should help to boost your confidence by drawing on past, positive experiences. Start by thinking about something you have done in the past that made you feel good about yourself. It could be the day you landed a job you wanted, or the day you passed your driving licence – or perhaps a time when someone gave you a wonderful compliment. Conjure up the moment in your mind and make it as vivid as possible. Then place your thumb and forefinger together – this is called making an ‘anchor’.
Next, think of another experience in your life where you felt confident and successful, and again make an anchor by pressing your thumb and forefinger together as you think of the memory. Then do this for a third time. Afterwards, relax, take a deep breath and press your thumb and forefinger together. You should feel those confident, positive feelings returning as you make the anchor. In future, when you need a confidence boost, just make the anchor and you should instantly feel those feelings returning.
Switch your focus
When people lack confidence they tend to focus too much on themselves and their shortcomings. Next time you are in a social situation and you feel unconfident, try focusing on other people instead of yourself. Make a real effort to listen to what other people are saying and try to place yourself in their shoes, without judging. You’ll find that by focusing less on yourself you will feel better about yourself and generally more confident.
Another thing you could do is to mentally rehearse how a situation is going to go, before you go into it. Run through in your mind a positive outcome whereby you are feeling and acting confident. The key is to really experience it in your mind, as if you are looking through the eyes of your confident self. Just doing this for a few minutes each day can really help to give you a boost.