5 Mental hacks to help you become more confident- with exercises
We all were born with self-confidence.
That's the reason why we were not scared to take risks when we were children such as jump out of that tall tree branch, learn how to skate or swim.
But somewhere along the way, we lost that self- confidence and that can still be impacting us today.
In this blog post, I will be sharing with you five mental hacks that you can take away today and become a confident person, because if you don't trust yourself, if you don't have confidence in yourself, who is going to have confidence in you?
- 1) Push yourself through your own self-limiting beliefs.
Throughout our childhood, even though we were very confident in ourselves and very adventurous, we eventually were imposed believes that weren't ours: from our parents, or teachers that made us kind of lose the confidence that we had in ourselves, although most of the times, they were not even aware of it. For instance, remember that time you were being adventurous, climbing trees with your peers and challenge each other to jump from the highest tree branch? And your mum/dad/teacher or other adult came running to you and, with concern in their voice, told you to not jump, or climb down because you were going to hurt yourself. At that moment, even though you were confident that you could do the jump without harming yourself, the doubt and the worry passed down to you by the concerned adult made you believe that you were wrong, that you weren't old enough/ tall enough to jump or you were irresponsible for not thinking about the consequences.
What I recommend is to journal about those beliefs. Grab a journal and write about what are those limiting beliefs that you have from childhood that were passed on to you through experiences or words. After identifying what those limiting beliefs are, try to expose yourself to them and go through it. It doesn't need to be anything big, but enough to trigger you the doubt and the fear. By going through it you will be telling your brain that you are capable of coping with that fear. You will collect factual data that will prove yourself that you feared certain situations but you did it anyway and you were OK. Proving that you are capable and that you can trust yourself and your judgment, will automatically increase your confidence levels.
- 2) Don't confuse memory with facts.
Our brains are these amazing machines that can mine our fear with negative chatter. Our brains will travel all the way back to our past memories, collecting everything that will serve as proof that you are right about being scared, and that our limiting beliefs are true. It will get all the information that matches your limiting beliefs, your values, and everything that is keeping you from doing what you want to be and do. But the thing is, the brain is not always accurate, because it only selects those memories and those past experiences that will match what you're believing now. It will not give you the full picture of the things that happened. So the best way to do that is to challenge your brain: revisit those facts, memories, experiences that the brain is showing you, and then challenge each one of them. Try to connect that memory and past experience with the limiting belief that you have now so that you can make sense of why you are being triggered.
Again, journaling about it will help you because, you will not only make sense of why you have the existing beliefs but also, it will give you a new perspective about the experience or situation that triggered those memories.
Your truth doesn't mean it is the truth of what happened. And your brain will only give you the perspective of your truth. The best way to contradict that is to have accurate facts that will argue with what your brain revisits. As soon as you get a new perspective of the experience/ situation, your body will start to relax and your emotions will balance.
- 3) Think positive to overcome negativity
Thinking negatively will never take us anywhere that will bring us closer to become more self-confident. Your glass will always be half empty.
Try to switch the narrative from a negative one to a positive one. How can you do that? Grab your journal and list 5 negative thoughts that you have about you and why you lack self-confidence, and then in front of each negative thought, counteract it with five positive thoughts. For example, if you have a negative thought that you are not lovable or no one loves you, the five positive thoughts can be "I found a loving loving partner that loves me", "My children love me", "In my career, I make a difference in peoples lives and I know they appreciate that about me", "My dog gets crazy every time I get home because he loves me", "There are many days that I look in the mirror and I do love myself".
During this exercise, it's very important to not suppress any emotions you are feeling about being negative and about being positive. Acknowledge those emotions, but don't engage or judge it. Acknowledge and then let it go.
Pay attention to the body sensations you feel for both the negative and positive thoughts, and be are aware of how your body reacts differently when you feel negative, and when you feel positive. Write it down in your journal for reference.
- 4) Raise your curiosity levels.
Being curious is the foundation of our self-development. And being curious and being creative go hand in hand. Although being creative can mean many things for many people (it's not only about writing a book, or painting), when you are creating a new experience around you, you are being curious about the process, the emotions involved, the outcome, and that curiosity will spark even more creativity! That will catapult so many new information that you will be telling your brain all the time, and you will be exposing yourself to new experiences that will give you a lot of value. Not only that, because you are being curious and challenging your brain and exposing yourself to new things, you then can feel confident because you took risks ,because you learn something new and you experienced something exciting!
Your knowledge will give yourself confidence- raising that awareness of curiosity is an amazing way to raise your self-confidence.
The other amazing outcome about raising your curiosity is that it teaches your mind and heart to grow and expand, aligning the facts with the emotions and making you look forward to trying new things all of the time.
- 5) Face your fears.
When your life is going well, without major ups and downs, it means that you are in control, you are not scared. Basically, you are in your comfort zone. And while you are in your comfort zone, you are very happy and doing everything until there it comes a trigger that will make you feel scared. And then the emotional part of the brain will take over and you will experience the very known sudden irrational, random fear as the emotions are taking over, rather than the facts. So, facing the fears is always better than avoiding, ignoring, or denying that those fears are there. Besides, by facing your fears, you will get new facts to prove to your brain that you faced that fear before and you survived and overcame it. And that will definitely help to raise your self- confidence!
I'll give you an exercise to face that fear in a way that you are still safe and you're not exposing yourself physically to anything.
Grab your journal and imagine what is the worst fear that you have. Write it down, and describe it in as much detail as you can. Describe where you are, with whom you are, how you are feeling. Can you smell anything? What can you see? Be as descriptive as possible. The more descriptive you are, the more you are igniting those emotions. And then you're gonna start feeling body sensations. And I want you to feel those. Remember that you are safe, but I want you to be transported there. Allow yourself to feel those body sensations. Maybe your palms are getting sweaty, maybe your heart is starting to beat really fast, maybe you are starting to feel dizzy. Just feel it. Don't judge it.
Now, focus on your breathing. Breathe slowly: in through your nose, out through your mouth. Notice your body relaxing as your breathing relaxes too. When you feel calmer, I want you to write the outcome. How do you feel now that you faced your worst fear? What happened?
For example, your worst fear is to get on a plane. You fear a plane crash and to die. As you are transported to that situation, you see yourself getting on the plane. Maybe your partner is next to you, holding your hand. You feel the adrenaline pumping when the plane is departing. You feel the butterflies in your stomach, the sweaty hands, your hand clenching on the armrest. Your breathing is fast, you close your eyes to avoid feeling any worst. And then you slow your breathing, and your body starts to relax. And the outcome is that you see yourself arriving at your destination. And you survived. Nothing wrong happened, you are safe. You faced the fear!
This is one of the exercises I do with my clients that combines mindfulness and journaling therapy, in a way of healing fears and blocks and bringing confidence.
It's important to practice these hacks regularly and whenever a new trigger or fear comes to the surface.