5 strategies to improve confidence (straight from the therapy couch!)
There are many ways for one to improve confidence on a daily basis. Here are my 5 suggestions that are techniques I use in therapy on a regular basis:
1) Identify and challenge unhelpful thinking styles.
Low confidence often stems from, and is maintained by negative self talk. Unhelpful, negative, critical thoughts about yourself that are repeated throughout the day. My favourite quote to remember is “I never thought I was a bully until I listened to how I spoke to myself”. We say the meanest things to ourselves that we would NEVER say to friend or loved one. So why do we say it to ourselves?
Spend a week writing down every mean thing that you notice thinking about yourself. All of the labels, the criticisms, the jabs etc. Take some time to go over them and really acknowledge where they come from and why you are doing it. And then, write down an argument or challenge against each one. Practice this regularly and you will start to notice a difference in how you speak to yourself!
2) 10 minutes of mindfulness a day
Mindfulness has been a buzzword for a while, but the research is showing just how much benefit it can have for improving mental health, lowering stress levels and producing positive emotions. Confidence is often lowered when people are stressed and unhappy with themselves and their lives. By taking some time out each day to connect with your mind, your body, and your surroundings, you start to develop a sense of gratitude and calm that can greatly improve how you see yourself.
It doesn’t take much time to develop a mindfulness habit each day. I often recommend an app like Smiling Mind or Headspace, which have mindfulness recordings that are 5-10 minutes long. EVERYONE can find 5-10 minutes in their day to press play and sit still, I promise you.
3) Create a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ list
This one I love doing in sessions, and I outline the process more in my Self Care Workbook. Basically this involves sitting down and writing two lists for yourself. One is an “Absolute Yes” list and one is an “Absolute No” list.
The Absolute Yes list includes all of the non-negotiable things you want to say yes to this week. It may be one yoga class, early nights, a drink with a friend etc.
The Absolute No list includes all of the non-negotiable things you want to say no to this week. It might be answering emails past 5pm, cleaning your kids room for them etc
4) Daily affirmations
I’m a big fan of affirmations. Not because they ‘cure’ anything or magically make you happier or more confidence. But because they start the practice of bringing more positive self talk into your day and they force you to say nice things to yourself where you usually wouldn’t. Once you get the hang of them, they can be very powerful to boost your confidence!
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5) Accepting compliments
Learning how to accept compliments is a simple but powerful tip for improving confidence. Low self esteem often results in an automatic response to dismiss any compliments by either ignoring them, minimising them, or arguing against them.
If you find yourself responding to a compliment with “Oh, this didn’t really cost much” “Are you kidding, I look terrible” “Don’t say that, its not true” etc, then you definitely need to practice this one.
Set yourself a goal that you will respond to every compliment this week with a simple “Thank you” and a smile. Don’t force anything more than that, and try really hard not to argue with yourself in your mind as well. People like giving compliments and accepting them is not only kind to yourself, but it shows gratitude and kindness to the other person as well.
Ready to truly improve your confidence and self talk? Check out my signature course Optimism Boost!