Self doubt has a huge crippling effect. It can seriously stop you on your tracks and paralyse even the most determined of people. There is heaps of information on confidence and understanding why so many women (and men) lack a fundamental belief in themselves. Childhood experiences, bullying, stories we were told, societal influences and media, all impact on the view we have about ourselves and how function in the world.
How can you step off the wagon though? Actively, in a moment of low confidence, when you feel fear and doubt take over, what can you do?
Today, I decided to share 5 unconventional ways of getting a confidence boost. For once, I am not talking about the deep, inner work (shocking, I know!). I am talking about ACTION. Moving forward – shaking your physicality away from the negativity into forward action.
Try them out – let me know what you think!
5 Tips for Building your Confidence
1. Step into your power with your body language:: Enter the Power pose.
Psychologists have long been researching the impact of our body language on communication. We know that our body language sends very powerful, immediate messages to the people around us, way before we utter the first hello. However, what I find even more intriguing is the power of body language on our own self confidence. Research has shown that adopting a power pose actually improves people’s performance by raising one’s confidence. When we are anxious and fearful, the body contracts and makes itself small to avoid danger. It’s a form of self defence. However, this sends victim signals to the brain and keeps the fight or flight response going, maintaining the sense of danger. Adopting a relaxed and open posture not only puts everyone around you at ease, but it also sends a soothing message to your nervous system.
For the ultimate confidence boost, try this: Stand up with your legs slightly wider than hip distance. Raise your arms over your head and open them wide. Have your palms face forward and make your fists thumbs up. Relax the shoulders, spread the collarbone. Keep your eyes open, your gaze soft and breathe smoothly into the belly for at least 3 minutes. Claim space – you deserve it!
2. Deal with something you’ve been avoiding – Yes that. Go do that, right NOW.
Avoidance is an excellent enabler of low confidence. It keeps us small and in victim mode because it feeds our need to stay safe and not take risks. Well, it also ensures you don’t grow or claim your power. Avoiding challenging situations, like confrontation, is common because it requires us to be vulnerable and the ego really does not like that. Once you take one step towards dealing with that thing you’ve been putting off, you immediately feel a burst of confidence. The truth is you CAN deal with it, you might just need extra help or energy to figure it out.
3. Give your time to someone else, for free.
Giving back is the best tool for taking a step back from the focus on your own life to being of service to someone else. Give without expectation, just for the joy of helping others. Give your time, your advice, share your knowledge, your hands, whatever feels right. Just for the sake of giving. Giving to others offers you perspective, allows you to return to the present moment and quietens down the negative chatterbox. And ultimately, makes you feel good about yourself on a deeper level.
4. Request a pep talk.
We allow ourselves to be the subject of criticism, but rarely of praise. Even when we are given a compliment, we brush it off as insignificant and it never truly reaches the heart. It can be a real challenge to accept a compliment and not give one back immediately. Try that – see how it feels.
Then take it to the next level: Email 10 friends (yes 10) and ask them to share with you what makes you a good friend/what they like about you. Scary and slightly cringy, but trust me, one of the most powerful exercises I’ve ever done. Not everyone will respond, but those who do will have put effort into their answers all in their own way. Some will be funny, others deadly serious. Take them all in. Write them down in one piece of paper and spend some time letting those words sink in. They are the reflection of the effect you have on the people closest to you – it all stems from you.
5. Change the channel.
Ultimately, confidence is an inside job. If you’re doubting yourself and feeling yuky, you are infusing everything you do with negative energy. Your thoughts create your reality. So break the cycle and decide to focus your energy into the solution, not the problem. Choose to love yourself more than you judge yourself. Choose to shift away from criticism to compassion. Every time you catch yourself entering the self doubting vortex, change the channel. Place the palm of your hand on your solar plexus area (just above your stomach) where the 3rd chakra is located. Close your eyes and flood this area with yellow while you say to yourself: ‘I have the power within me. I am confident, I am worthy, I am beautiful.’
Because, you absolutely are.