Five Ways to Improve Confidence Instantly
Friday, January 26 2018 Emily Roberts MA, LPC
Did you know that there are ways to improve confidence in less than five minutes? Whether you are feeling anxious about a meeting, worried about a test or feel down in the dumps, these tricks have helped me shift my mind from fearful to feeling in control and they take just a minute or two of your time. These are ways to improve confidence.
Just yesterday I was feeling nervous before a meeting, and my negative self-talk was starting to ramp up. "What if this new client doesn't like you?"
"You've been tired all day what if they can tell and think you're unprofessional?"
The thoughts continued like this for a few minutes until I realized that I was feeling insecure and overwhelmed. I decided to practice what I preach, and it took less than five minutes to transform my mindset.
Five Ways to Improve Confidence Right Now
1. Step away from your environment. While I couldn't hop on a plane or even leave my office, I moved from the desk I was sitting at and walked around for a few minutes. Just changing my location temporarily allowed my brain to shift from a fear-based mindset to a more mindful and compassionate one. You can go to the bathroom and wash your hands with cold water (the temperature instantly shifts your focus). Or try walking down the hall and going to another room; this allows your mind to focus on other sensations, giving you a break from the negative self-talk and resetting your brain.
2. Notice the story you are telling yourself and shift it. Author Brené Brown, famous for her shame and vulnerability research says,
The most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our lovability, divinity, and creativity.
When you recognize your "story" and realize that you're predicting negative outcomes you can the create a new narrative as a way to improve confidence.
3. Visualize yourself being confident. Make up a different story, a positive one, about how well you are going to do. In my situation, I took a minute to create a narrative, one where I was confident and happy. I visualized connecting with the new client, laughing, and feeling proud of myself. Even though I hadn't experienced the situation yet, just shifting my mind to a more positive story where I was in control and confident allowed me to feel much more secure during my meeting (Faking Confidence When You’re Not Confident Works).
4. Build mastery. You improve your confidence when you become more confident or knowledgeable about something important to you. Even though I was anxious about the meeting, I decided to look up an app that someone told me about for my social media. Although this activity had nothing to do with my session, it allowed me to do some research and see if it was something I wanted to try. Building mastery is all about the empowerment that comes from learning something new or something that is important to you. Researching local after-school activities for your child or a new item you're interested in buying may seem too simple, but taking time to learn about something of interest to gives you control. A client of mine is learning a new language and so when she feels insecure about other areas of her life she looks up several new words in French. Small steps towards achievement or enhancing your knowledge is a way to improve confidence.
5. Set your intentions. On my commute to the meeting, I was feeling the anxiety creep up on me. I took out my phone and typed out my intentions: what I was hoping to feel and create, during the experience with the new client. Rather than looking for ways I could potentially fail, I focused on how I wanted to both of us to feel and wrote:
- I'm excited to be of service to this client.
- I look forward to connecting so we both feel supported.
- I feel optimistic and hopeful that our meeting will be helpful for us both.
This quick practice allowed me to focus on my purpose rather than my fear.
Even if you aren't going into a potentially scary situation, you can use this method to feel empowered. A client didn't want to talk to her family because her last interaction was invalidating. On her commute home she wrote the following:
- I intend to be helpful and happy with my family.
- They care about me and I care about them.
- I am excited to bake with my mother and make more positive memories.
Believe it or not, there was no drama on that visit home.
Remember you can improve confidence quickly when you practice these skills. Try to do them when you are feeling "okay" and see if they work; when a crisis comes it's harder to remember them unless you've practiced them. Which one will you try today?