Do you feel like you are not good enough? That no matter what you do, you will never be the person that exudes confidence? And not a single person on the planet will look at you and say, “Oh, I want to be like them”?
Although you might feel alone, that is far from the reality. Many of us have felt or still feel that way. Some of us feel anxious in social situations, while others may find it difficult to express their thoughts.
People who feel anxiety and low self-esteem may be afraid that they will be the same for the rest of their lives, but this simply isn’t true. If you want to change and improve your confidence, here are some proven techniques you can implement.
Why am I feeling anxious?
When we feel anxious, there is always that lingering thought that something tragic is bound to happen. Perhaps we think that everyone in the room is laughing at us, or that no one is listening to what we have to say. Why does this even happen?
According to Psychology Today, anxiety usually occurs when “people are plagued by self-doubt, so putting themselves in and getting accustomed to the specific situation they fear can assure people that nothing truly bad will happen.” (1) Because of this, anxiety can affect our self-confidence by a large margin. If we don’t do anything about it, we may feel lost, unworthy, and depressed.
Feeling anxiety is not entirely a bad thing. In fact, it is a normal emotion. It allows us to be grounded and can even save our lives in certain situations.
However, when we feel too much of it and do not know how to handle our emotions, this is when it can become overwhelming. Too much anxiety and stress will eventually affect our day-to-day lives. It may put a dent in our relationships, our performance at work, and even the way we see ourselves in a negative light.
If you are currently in this situation, it is time to take a deep breath and actively seek ways to overcome it.
Ways to reduce anxiety and improve your confidence
“The reputation you have with yourself—your self-esteem—is the single most important factor for a fulfilling life.” –Nathaniel Branden
Anxiety and self-confidence are much more closely related than what we think. To combat feelings of nervousness and worry to improve your self-esteem, here are the proven ways that may help you.
1. Listen to yourself
What makes you feel awkward? Is there a reason why you do not feel confident? What are the situations where you feel like you are not good enough?
Before you can improve your self-confidence, you need to know yourself first. List the situations where you feel most anxious. In other terms, you need to understand what triggers the anxious thoughts before you can think of ways to reduce them.
Get a notebook or use the notes app on your phone. Believe us – your progress will move faster if you journal the conditions behind your anxiety attacks. After doing it for a week or a month, you’ll have a much clearer understanding for the causes of your stress.
It may be that you feel less confident when you’ve been invited to parties wearing clothes you don’t like, or when you give presentations that you didn’t fully prepare for. When you know what prompts your negative emotions, it will be more possible to plan and reduce them from happening.
2. Do things that make you feel good
As you take steps to become less shy, it is important to do things that make you feel good about yourself. Exercise is highly recommended and proven to release happy hormones that can make you more confident.
Treating yourself or shopping wisely can be a good outlet that increases your self-esteem. You do not have to spend a lot of money to feel good. It can be as simple as saying positive affirmations or taking naps.
3. Improve your body language
Do you find yourself fidgeting, tapping your foot, or biting your nails in a stressful situation? We do this when we feel unsafe or worried, as these non-verbal movements can be a way to comfort ourselves. Unfortunately, your posture and movements may be the reason why you aren’t feeling confident in the first place.
Take a few minutes or an hour each day to check your posture. When possible, practice talking to a mirror. This will help increase your self-esteem and even improve the way you present yourself.
4. Set aside time to socialize
Do you feel tense in social interactions? If so, you can challenge yourself and go to at least one event that will have a handful of people you can interact with.
You don’t have to find the biggest party in town. You don’t even have to talk to other people the first few times either. Just take gradual steps. As you gradually feel more comfortable with staying in a crowded coffee shop, you can then try to say hello to a few people or two. The next time, you may even find yourself having actual conversations without feeling too stressed or self-conscious.
5. Ask for help when you need it
There is nothing wrong with being independent. However, if you need help and aren’t asking for it, it won’t make you weak, instead, it’ll wreak havoc with your mental health.
Find comfort from the people you trust and love. It could be a friend, a family member, or a significant other. Just relaying your thoughts and feelings to the individuals who actually listen to you can have amazing positive impacts to your confidence.
If you are feeling depressed, seek therapy. Don’t be afraid to get support from professionals. For some people, low self-esteem is caused by deeper issues such as trauma and abuse. If you are in this situation, it’ll be more difficult to change for the better if you are not addressing your past.
6. Step out of your comfort zone
It is easy to find ourselves wanting to build an environment where we are comfortable. For many of us, however, this may also mean that we are hindering ourselves to grow.
Introverts may accept that they are uncomfortable with speaking to extroverts. Because of this, they will confine themselves to their rooms, seeking jobs that will not require them to talk to other people and limit interaction to close family members. When this happens, how can they improve their social skills?
Although there is nothing wrong with enjoying your own company and being in an environment we find comforting, not doing anything to seek improvement won’t be good long-term. This is exactly the reason why some people feel they accomplished nothing in their lifetime, whether it’s financially, with relationships or their career.
7. Be kind to yourself
Overcoming anxiety and negative thoughts takes a lot of time and effort. It may take you months and even years to properly address these thoughts, and you may feel like self-acceptance will never happen to you.
When you are feeling too overwhelmed in your journey, it’s okay to sit back and gather your thoughts. Take your time. There will be days that you will be able to take giant leaps, and there will also be times when you feel like you are stuck and see little progress. Nobody will accept you except you, daily progress is the key. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. If nothing seems as though it’s working today, you can always resume tomorrow.
Begin your journey towards self-love and acceptance
Nobody says it is easy to relieve yourself from feelings of anxiety.
Many of us struggle with feeling inferior, doubting ourselves, and having no or too low of confidence in ourselves. Fortunately, there are ways to control our emotions. Partnered with constant practice and truly believing ourselves worthy, we hope that the tips we gave above will allow you to start giving yourself the love you rightfully deserve.
- Confidence | Psychology Today