Confidence is such a game-changer. When you have it, you can manage anything, you’re not as affected by negative people and you can appreciate the good things around you.
Without it? You’re a mess inside, you doubt yourself and every little comment others make, and feel generally uncomfortable in your own skin.
Lots of things can affect our confidence: maybe things aren’t going great at work, or your relationship is not in the best possible shape. Maybe you feel like you’re not looking your best these days, or perhaps you’ve got a niggling health issue, like eczema or light bladder leakage that might be affecting your positivity.
So how can we work on our confidence? And can we increase our day-to-day confidence levels? We spoke with Dr Suzy Green, clinical psychologist and founder of The Positivity Institute, to get her take on building inner confidence.
How does confidence work?
“Confidence works primarily through our beliefs about ourselves and our abilities. If we hold strong, firm beliefs about ourselves and our capacities, then we are more likely to achieve whatever it is that we desire or are facing,” Dr Green says.
“There is a large body of research to support the powerful impact of our thinking on our emotions and behaviours. We can all use our thinking to positively impact our behaviours and outcomes.”
What are some simple ways to build confidence?
- Catch your ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) and replace them with PETS (performance enhancing thoughts). For example, replace “I can’t do this; I’ll never be able to achieve that; It’s too hard” with “I’m committed to this goal, and I know I have the strengths to persist to achieve it”.
- Visualise your success. Sports psychologists have used visualisation techniques with elite athletes for years. Try visualising yourself handling a certain situation or progressing towards your goals with confidence and success just after you wake up or just before you go to sleep.
- Try power posing. Check out Professor Amy Cuddy’s TED talk. Just a few minutes standing with your hands on your hips has been shown to increase our confidence. This can be a helpful strategy to use before asking for that pay rise, or powering through a job interview.
- If you suffer from a condition (such as light bladder leakage, skin issues or digestive problems etc), using the appropriate protection will help you reclaim your confidence in situations where you might be pushed to your limit, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.
Dr Green’s got a point there – we’ve all experienced a loss of confidence at some point in our lives due to an “embarrassing” body issue, right? Think dandruff, bad breath and body odour, acne and eczema…
I also have friends who have experienced bladder weakness, and it has severely impacted their confidence, to the point where some have stopped doing activities they used to love because they are too embarrassed about possible leakage.
The good news is that if you do have LBL, you don’t need to just put up with it. There are LBL-specific products like liners and pads to have on hand, and there’s also very effective Pilates and pelvic floor exercises you can do to strengthen your muscles and ease symptoms. Phew.