5 WAYS TO KICKSTART YOUR CONFIDENCE AFTER A FITFUL FEW MONTHS

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Confidence…it’s an elusive thing, and surprisingly difficult to define. Perhaps it’s because the quality appears in so many forms, from the brash and bold to the understated yet composed. Sometimes, it’s not even perceived as a quality at all.

But one thing is for certain; this stop-start year, of rules, restrictions and uncertainty, has left the collective confidence of the nation in tatters. We’ve spent so long indoors with only the cat for company that many have forgotten how to socialise, engage and communicate, and as lockdown lifts, this is being reflected in a lowered sense of self-esteem.

In fact, many experts believe that when nurturing a healthy sense of self-confidence, it’s a case of ‘’use it or lose it’’, and the fact we’ve been indoors and out of practice for so long has undoubtedly exacerbated self-esteem issues for many. Fortunately, there are some proactive steps you can take to get things back on track; here are 5 ways to kickstart your confidence after a fitful few months.

PRACTICE POSITIVE SELF TALK 

The vast majority of the country is well out of practice with face-to-face communication, that much has been established. But it seems like the way we communicate with ourselves has gotten a little dusty, too.

Believe it or not, but our internal monologue has a huge impact on our stress levels, dictating our mood way more than we give it credit for. The thoughts running through our minds, and in particular the way we talk to ourselves – our self-talk – can impact incredibly on our wellbeing.

Indeed, according to the guys at PsychAlive, ‘’The critical inner voice is an internal enemy that can affect every aspect of our lives, including our self-esteem and confidence’’.

Don’t let that nagging little s**t win. By developing positive self-talk habits, we set ourselves up to better deal with stress and anxiety. Often we are much, much harsher in the way we talk to ourselves than how we talk to anyone else; a product of evolution and risk avoidance, according to some psychologists. 

It’s all about nurturing an inner complimenter and motivator, recognising when you’ve done good and being forgiving of yourself when you’ve messed up. Of course, this comes with practice, but a fantastic way to slowly, even neurologically, cultivate this gentle and positive mindset is by keeping a gratitude diary or jar…

START A GRATITUDE JAR

It’s easy to wake up each day and think about all the negative things in the world. Right now, you’d certainly have your pick of them. But there’s also plenty to be thankful for out there, and research has consistently shown that practicing gratitude has links to an improved outlook on life. 

Incredibly, a 2018 study revealed notable changes in the brains of 16 women who wrote daily gratitude entries in an online journal when compared to those who didn’t. Doing so can help you gain a positive perspective on your problems and appreciate your plus points, too.

Try starting a gratitude jar or journal. Each day write down something you are grateful for on a piece a paper and place it in a jar or box. Try this for a month, and you’ll see how your confidence and contentment lifts. You can thank us later – with an entry in your jar, if you like.

SMILE MORE

This just in from NBC News; ‘’Smiling Can Trick Your Brain Into Happiness’’.

They explain that when you smile, you spur on a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing dopamine and serotonin, which helps boost happiness and lower stress. All of this leads to increased self-esteem..and here’s the really interesting part; these positive reactions happen even if you’re faking a smile!

Should your teeth be holding you back from smiling as radiantly as you’d like to, then there are treatments and procedures available, both on the NHS and privately, which can restore your confidence. You can straighten teeth, fix a cracked one or even have your whole set whitened…all of which can improve your smile and, in turn, your self-esteem.

SCHEDULE IN SOME ME TIME

Did you know that stress can have a huge impact on your self-esteem? Prevention is better than cure, as they say, and it’s essential that you indulge in some self-care to keep those stress levels low. In doing so, you might just find your confidence returning.

How often have you treated yourself to a massage or a spa weekend recently? Not very often, we’d wager. But as restrictions lift, now feels like the perfect time for some pampering, allowing you to feel physically refreshed and emotionally recharged. 

Make sure you make room for a little ‘me time’ at home, too. Create a skin care routine, and allow yourself to indulge in this pleasurable, sensual moment of looking after your body. Use a deep conditioning hair mask to add some shine and strengthen your hair; soak in a bubble bath with a facemask and read a book; indulge in a long, languid afternoon in front of your favourite show…all in the name of self-care and boosting your self-confidence! 

CUT DOWN ON SOCIAL MEDIA 

It’s time to curb all of that comparing yourself to others and banish those media-defined ideals of beauty and success. Easier said than done, we know, but a vital move nonetheless. Do yourself a favour and cut down on the amount of social media you’re using. You’ll be amazed at the results.

If you really can’t curb your obsession with social media – and yep, we accept it’s tough – then you could do worse than following some bloggers and Instagram influencers who are paeans to positivity, promoting self-love to perfectly imperfect people everywhere. So, spend some time cleaning up the people who you follow, removing those who make you feel bad about yourself and instead fill your feed with people who focus on feeling good about yourself. Who knew it could be so simple?

THE BOTTOM LINE

If your confidence has stalled lately, then rest assured, there are ways to kick start it – from cutting back on social media to smiling more, we hope you enter the second half of 2021 with a renewed sense of vim and vigour!

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