When Anxiety Affects Your Confidence
Let's face it -- anxiety does not exactly go hane-in-hand with confidence, high self-esteem, and security. I have always found that when I am anxious, I feel less confident, and vice-versa. Now that I reflect on when I was younger, any lack of confidence and insecurity I felt were often associated with my anxiety.
How Anxiety and Confidence Are Connected
Anxiety is our body's response to a stressful situation. When we are anxious, our brains are stuck in the fight-flight-or-freeze mode, and we are on high alert. However, what comes with this focus is also a heightened awareness of any negative feelings associated with the current situation that has induced anxiety. This can be helpful in the moment; however, if your brain continues to operate in this heightened state, you may find that you feel overwhelmed.
While in this continuous state of anxiety, I find that I have difficulty focusing on the issue that I should focus on, and instead, I think about past mistakes and worry about what may happen. All of this ends up impacting my confidence, and I find that I am fearful, doubtful, and overly worried.
Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety to Increase Your Confidence
I honestly feel that I will always struggle with my confidence due to my anxiety. However, I also think this has improved for me over time. Since I have become more aware of my anxiety and coping strategies that work for me, I have also become aware of the following ways that I can increase my confidence in anxious situations:
- Identify what causes anxiety -- First, it is important to identify what is triggering your anxiety, which allows you to use specific strategies to help you deal with those triggers. For example, I know that, lately, since we are living amid uncertain times, I tend to feel anxious when watching the news. Therefore, I have minimized the amount of news that I read and watch. This helps to prevent the overwhelming sense of insecurity and loss of control that I may feel when watching the news.
- Focus on what you can control -- The worry and stress that I feel due to uncertainty can become overwhelming. However, focusing on what I do have control over can give me a sense of security and confidence. Referring back to my example above regarding the news -- I know that I have control over my ability to turn off the TV or to stop scrolling through social media. Knowing this helps me to have more assurance in the fact that I have control over many things in my life, even though there are things that are out of my control. Focus on the things that you do have control over in your life to build your confidence and self-empowerment.
- Visualize confidence -- Picturing confidence can be a helpful strategy. For example, like many people, I have dealt with tremendous anxiety surrounding public speaking. This has been something that I have experienced since I was very young, and something that I have worked on for years. But I have also built my career as an educator and have conducted several public speaking engagements. So I knew that, at some point in my career, I was going to need to deal with this fear. In this situation, one thing that I have found to be very helpful has been visualization. Rather than picturing myself speaking in front of my audience clearly showing signs of feeling anxious, any time I am in this situation, I picture myself as confident and self-assured. I ignore the anxious part of myself that shows me my fears and concerns, and, instead, picture the speaker that I want to be. Being mindful of this, I have found myself increasingly able to connect this visualization of myself with reality.
These strategies are helpful for me, and I hope you will find them helpful, also. Are there other strategies you have tried to help build your confidence while living with anxiety? Share those with myself and others below.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2020, July 28). When Anxiety Affects Your Confidence, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, August 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2020/7/when-anxiety-affects-your-confidence
Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez
The connection between confidence and anxiety is one that anyone who deals with anxiety is aware of, but this is actually a very beneficial conversation for those who don't have the anxiety to be aware of. Often times the lack of confidence (due to anxiety) is hard for someone else to understand and this can actually heighten the doubts or lack of worthiness feelings in the other person. I love your suggestions for visualization and recognizing triggers. Conversations like these can also be helpful so that don't feel misunderstood on top of already feeling anxious and dealing with confidence struggles. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much for your comments! That is such a great point that these conversations can be helpful to have with someone in your life who may not be experiencing anxiety. Not only does this help to open up these lines of communication, but it can also lead to a deeper understanding of the struggles with anxiety and confidence.