5 tips for being more confident in yourself

From time to time we all feel the pain of self-doubt when we face challenges in life, even though circumstances often require us to put on a confident public face. We must smile confidently, use powerful body language, and assure everyone that we’re up to the task. Many of us are highly uncomfortable in situations like this, so we try to avoid them when possible.

How can we minimize the unpleasant sensations of self-doubt and insecurity? FutureLearn offers us five tips to develop the strong sense of self-confidence which we need to face life’s challenges.

As advised by FutureLearn, it is first crucial to understand precisely what self-confidence means. Simply put, it is “the feeling of trust in…yourself and your abilities and knowledge”. Do you believe in your ability to succeed when challenged? Do you believe you can influence situations as they arise? Does your sense of self come from a place of confidence – or is it closer to arrogance, or even uncontrolled self-esteem? These characteristics are similar but not identical: arrogance is the belief that you are better than everyone else, and uncontrolled self-esteem is the belief that you cannot make mistakes. An excess of either characteristic can be counterproductive.

In this short article, we explore healthy self-confidence. A positive feeling of self-confidence can be more beneficial to your psyche than you might think. According to FutureLearn, there is academic research showing that self-confident people:

· Tend to live longer than others.

· Are happier

· Enjoy better physical and mental health

· Are more successful

Conversely, people who have low levels of self-confidence tend to:

· Experience undue anxiety

· Avoid challenges

· Avoid social situations

· Fail to mentally and physically take care of themselves

· Worry excessively about what other people think

So, how does FutureLearn suggest that we can build up healthy self-confidence?

  1. First, take care of yourself. You already know how to do this: get some exercise, eat a healthy diet, avoid the obvious negatives such as smoking and excessive drinking. Once you feel better physically, you’ll feel better mentally and emotionally as well, which will make you more willing to give yourself a chance! Cultivating a sense of “mindfulness and gratitude” can reduce stress, strengthen emotional regulation, and improve sleep.
  2. When you take care of yourself, you will find it easier to build positive relationships. Avoid negative people, and spend time with people who have a positive outlook on life, especially those who appreciate you.
  3. Develop a purpose to grow. Take advantage of all educational and experiential opportunities that come to you. Avoid an “avoidance” mindset, and instead choose to accept – and even seek out – chances to grow and excel. Take up a hobby or sport. Seek out knowledgeable people who have something to offer your plan of development.
  4. Challenge yourself! In addition to accepting growth opportunities, you should actively seek out challenges – for this, you need to get out of your present rut, and choose to become great at something! Set yourself goals, develop new behaviors that are consistent with them, and develop a sense of focus, while at the same time discarding behaviors and activities that are unhelpful or distracting.
  5. Believe in yourself! Tell yourself that you are capable and confident, and believe it! Know that you have unique abilities, and that you have value. Let go of your limiting thoughts, and choose to trust in yourself. Most importantly of all, don’t listen to the naysayers, or to anyone who wants to make you feel that you are less than what you are.

Finally, in order to develop your own sense of confidence it is essential to “focus on the positive” – your self-knowledge, the skills and abilities that you currently have and will acquire, and the positive examples that the good people around you can provide.

Choose to learn from and then put aside the negative events or experiences of the past that are dragging you down, and disregard any disparaging commentary from other people (who might actually be jealous of you). Remember that you are working on yourself. You, and the people around you, will appreciate the new, more confident you when they see how you’ve changed the way in which you approach challenges, and life in general.

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