7 Tips To Improving Your Self-Confidence

 

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Confidence is a highly desired quality. Those that possess confidence are often admired and elevated to the status as a role model. Confidence is available to us all. However, there are situations, people, and events that rob us of our confidence. Confidence is something to be nurtured. Once it is nurtured, watch it grow! So, how do you authentically cultivate confidence? I want to offer 7 actionable tips that you can implement to increase your confidence.

First and foremost, commit yourself to cultivating confidence. This is a goal you have set for yourself and it matters to you.  Now try to be as specific as you can and identify the areas in which you lack self-confidence. Introspection and self-insight are key to understanding the root cause of poor self-confidence. For example, do you stutter? And as a result, shy away from talking to people. Once you have an insight (and it does not have to be deep, just enough to get a direction) you can assemble your team to support you! Taking the stuttering example, you can work with a speech therapist to alleviate some of the speech problems.

Next, try to identify any triggers that cause you to feel undervalued. This is where you can develop a deeper insight into your understanding of yourself. This is a great time to work with a therapist to unearth the deeper roots that are contributing to your lack of self-confidence. Everyone starts at different places, and all have different weaknesses. Change is possible for you – though it may take work and time. While gaining self-awareness it is not enough to know what your weaknesses or areas of growth are but it is also important to know and list all your strengths and your positive traits. Do not be ashamed to ask for help here! Talk to a trusted friend and ask them! Start by taking baby steps in your action plan to nurture the traits that you would like to possess.

Finally, along the way notice your successes, and be proud of how you’re changing. Then use this as the foundation to develop further changes.

My 10 Commandments for an Intentional Life

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Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash

I recommend my clients to create a personal set of “rules for living” or their own “dogma for life”. Why? I find that it is important for us to have a standard in living. It allows us to know our limits, how we want to live our life, in the summary live intentionally. If you “break” one of your own rules, rather than being hard on yourself, take the time to reflect if that rule is valuable. Maybe you have outgrown that mentality and it no longer serves you. This is editable! As I have grown in my work in the field of mental health, I created a list of 10 Commandments (so to speak) that have helped me manage the work that I do and the commitment to my clients; as well as apply to my personal life. It is a standard, that I hold myself too and reflect often:

  1. I accept that I’m not perfect, and there’s no perfect time
  2. I can’t please everyone no matter how hard I try
  3. I will participate in something I believe in
  4. I will learn to prioritize and do what matters first
  5. I will be selective when it comes to choosing friends
  6. I will be there for others and will help them if I can
  7. I will choose to focus on the positives in life
  8. I will true to myself
  9. I will live in the present and enjoy the “now”
  10. I will look for the good and be thankful for each day

This is an example for you to think about how you live your life. Is there intention to what you do and how you do it? Intentionality has the potential to be an extremely powerful force in our lives.

5 Steps to Keep Calm

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Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash
There are moments when we are bound to lose our cool. Whether you have had it with your children’s misbehavior, a co-worker’s incompetence, or simply you are having a tough day! It’s perfectly normal to not be even-tempered all the time. Acknowledge your feeling (s) and take action that will help that emotional state in a healthy way. Blowing up at your children or losing your temper at work can have serious consequences. I want to offer 5 strategies that you can use to keep yourself from blowing up and feeling out of control:
1. Under duress (intense emotion) we can over-react and set into a catastrophizing mind trap. So, keep things in perspective with fact and challenge any mind trap. Here, remind yourself, “it’s minor, and not worth the fight.”

 

2. If possible take a break. Use this time to take a few deep breaths and let your feelings settle. Then, in a calm, low voice respond in a way that maintains your self-respect.

3. Be aware of your limits and what can be too overstimulating for you. If we know what those limits are we can regain and keep control. This allows us to practice coping when intense emotion is stirred up.

4. Depending on the situation, try to create a calm environment. If it’s possible, have a go-to playlist, stress ball, gum, pictures, water, etc close by. By staying one step ahead you can prepare yourself for inevitable setbacks and infuriating people.

5. One category in coping is distractions. Distractions work great because they are short and at the moment. By distracting yourself, you lessen the emotional valve and can decrease the pressure building with yourself.

 

What I find to be important is to acknowledge the need to be proactive in our processing of emotions so that we are not left out of control when a situation arises.

5 Steps to Deal With Life’s Disappointments

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Disappointment is a part of life. As much as we do not want to experience such emotion it is a part of the human experience. Rather than avoid or suppress I suggest we learn how to process it. The messaging that we should just be happy and think positive thoughts can be harmful and rob of the full spectrum of the human experience. There are a time and a place for all emotions. I think, what is really important and healthy is to identify our emotions and how they impact our thoughts and behavior. Therefore, we are better able to process emotions (even undesirable ones) in a healthy manner. As a result, your mental (and overall) health reaps the benefits. Disappointment has its validity to ignore it, would rob you of healing. The first step is an acknowledgment of what has happened and that disappointment is part of your experience. Second, be aware of how disappointment is displayed in your life. Meaning: when disappointed is your self-confidence affected? Or maybe you isolate and withdraw from others? The point is to be aware of how the feelings of disappointment influence and affect your emotions and behavior. Why? When you are self-aware, you are more likely to be proactive in challenging self-defeating patterns. Third, find support from people who understand and care about your feelings. This can help you process the disappointment and move towards healing. Fourth, reframe disappointment as something you can learn and grow from rather than a failure in your life. Lastly, (if applicable) do not give up. Set yourself new goals, and embrace a dream again. Something even better may be waiting for you!  

 

Co-dependency Continued

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A co-dependent relationship can exist beyond a romantic relationship. (There are co-dependent parental relationships, friendships, sibling relationships, etc.)  Once you’ve recognized that you are in a co-dependent relationship, there are some steps that you can take to create boundaries. The first step is realizing that this relationship isn’t healthy. Ideally, if you find yourself in a co-dependent relationship, you want to seek therapeutic support. You will want to learn the roots of these unhealthy patterns and learn healthier ways of relating with people. As well as establishing healthy boundaries with others. This will be essential in understanding relationship patterns and you will learn how to avoid repeating the same cycle. Keep in mind that these changes won’t happen over time and the boundaries may be met with resistance.  As a result, allow people to take responsibility for what they say, they do, and how they choose to react. Be mindful of not taking the blame for others’ reactions. The feeling of guilt may come up for you. This is where processing these emotions in therapy can be really helpful. Remember: you have the right to be happy and your needs met.

Are you in a co-dependent relationship?

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The definition of co-dependency is an excessive need of a person. Co-dependency is an unhealthy characteristic of a relationship ( I am using the word relationship to refer to all types of relationships). There are warning signs that may signal to you that you are in a co-dependent relationship. The co-dependent relationship doesn’t just happen, but rather it forms over time. Some warning signs that you may be in a co-dependent relationship are:

  1. You care for the person at the expense of your own well being. Caring for a loved one is not a bad thing and can be done from a place of love. However, this refers to the specific act of denying and keeping your needs unmet for the sake of the other. 
  2. You take responsibility for how the other person feels. Meaning that you need to be the one to keep them happy, calm fulfilled if they are angry, upset, disappointment then you take responsibility. 
  3. It is your responsibility to fix every little problem. 
  4. Accepting mistreatment simply to keep the peace. 
  5. You feel ashamed for wanting independence.  

In summary, a co-dependent relationship is not fulfilling to your well-being. It can be abusive and is definitely not one that will allow you to grow and flourish. If you have any questions about co-dependency please reach out to a professional. As always, Psychology Today is a great resource to connect with an expert, many of which offer free consultations. In my next post, I will offer some suggestions to help establish boundaries and how to safely remove yourself from a co-dependent cycle.

Anxiety is Ruining My Life

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Let’s talk about anxiety.  First, let’s define anxiety: the excessive worry and living in a state of fear that interrupts your daily living. Being nervous can refer to feeling unsettled or worried about a particular situation and it passes. Anxious producing stimuli can really be anything and come from anywhere. The point is that it affects your quality of life. So, many people today live in a state of anxiety. Needless to say, anxiety has many dangerous effects on the individual: psychologically and physically. Although it may some people struggle with anxiety for a long period of time, the key is learning to recognize the warning signs of your anxiety, manage the anxiety and find ways to self-soothe. Realistically, it may be a way of life for those who struggle with an anxiety disorder. However, there are practical tools I want to share to that may help ease the anxiety from day to day. As always, these suggestions will not replace a good solid therapy session. It’s extremely healing and beneficial to develop a personalized plan for taking care of yourself.  With that said, here are my tips to help ease anxiety.

1. Connect to your breath. Pay attention to how you breathe and take ake deliberate slow, deep breaths, and feel the tension begin to subside.

2. Take some time to journal and clear the clutter in your head. I recommend carrying a small notebook with you so you can quickly write things down or using your phone’s note app. It can be very cathartic to write out what thoughts are plaguing in your mind.

3. Identify your cognitive mind-trap and being to challenge the trap.  What’s a mind trap? They are faulty ways of thinking that have developed in time and literally traps us into negative thinking patterns. In order to get out of the trap, a person has to cognitively challenge that mind-trap. This is an easy guide to get you started.

4. Establish a self-care practice. I have written about this in the past. But, here is my most recent post.

5. Acknowledge how you are feeling. You don’t have to do anything at that moment.  Simply acknowledging how you feel and sharing in that with someone can work wonders. Take a minute (or 10!) to take control of your feelings and your thoughts. Then assess the situations, and think through different options.

6. Anxiety is exhausting and you may not have the energy to be around those who drain your energy. It’s okay to establish some boundaries. If you are a parent, you may not be able to get away from your children but this is a great time to ask for help and find even an hour of alone time.

7. Therapy works wonders on learning how to best identify your triggers, what actually soothes your anxiety, and create a lifestyle change that incorporates a complete wellness mindset.

In summary, anxiety can be debilitating but there is hope! If you are struggling with anxiety please visit Psychology Today and connect with a therapist. If you live in the state of Pennsylvania and are interested in working with me please feel free to contact me.