Tag Archives: confidence

8 Tips to increase happiness and optimism

 

optimism photo

 

8 Tips to increase happiness and optimism

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”-Eleanor Roosevelt

I love the above quote as it suggests that no matter what negativity is aimed your way, you still get to choose whether to acknowledge the negativity and believe it, take it on board or whether to dismiss it as nonsense. I deal with many teenagers who are bullied at school and the constant daily nitpicking damages self-esteem and confidence. I often tell these clients that no one else can define them, only they get to define themselves. Whilst it is not easy to remain positive when you are bombarded with negative messages, you still get to choose whether to believe these messages or not. Positivity and happiness are within your reach.

1) Freedom to choose

We are born and eventually we die. In between we can choose exactly what we want to believe about ourselves. We can, and have the right, reject pressure from others, media and society and follow our own paths. Tuning into the essential part of ourselves, that person who existed before others tried to shape and mould us into what they wanted us to be is an important step in finding peace and contentment. It is not easy to resist pressure from others but continually ask yourself whether you are doing things for them or for yourself.

2) Be true to yourself

Positivity and happiness begins to emerge when we stop comparing ourselves to others and we honour our own wishes, needs and desires. I always thought that there was something wrong with me because, at school, I resisted the idea of an office job. The thought of being stuck behind a desk for eight hours every day filled me with dread. Instead of accepting the fact that I was a free spirit and working with that, I tried to fit myself into a mould that was of other people’s making. I ended up miserable and eventually realised when I was older, that it was okay to be different and not want what everybody else seemed to want. Only when I honoured my true inclinations did I begin to find my essential self again.

3) Gratitude

We are a planet of anxiety ridden communities. The very nature of our brains allows us to empathise with others as well as anticipate the future, unlike other mammals. If we’re not careful, our thoughts can run riot and create all sorts of catastrophes in our minds that may never happen. When we hone our thinking and start focusing on what is good in our lives, it is almost as if the brain begins to operate on a different wavelength. We start to notice more acts of kindness and begin to see the world in a more positive way. Try writing a gratitude journal every day. This is a simple process of writing down 3 to 5 examples of things that made you happy that day. It could be as simple as the sun shining or a stranger smiling at you. If you find that you are gravitating towards negative thoughts about your spouse or romantic partner, force yourself to think about their positive attributes. This jolts us out of our negative spiral of thoughts and increases positivity and happiness.

4) We receive what we expect

When we sit and fester about all that is wrong in our lives or in the world for that matter, it is like marinating in poison. We begin to only notice the negatives in life and the suffering of others. This serves us well in an ironic way as it confirms our beliefs about the world. When we expect negative things to happen it can become a self fulfilling prophecy. What are your views about your future? Do you anticipate good things happening or are you fearful of the future? Ask yourself how it helps you to maintain a fearful and negative attitude about your future It doesn’t. Make a conscious effort to look for the good in the world and to expect the best for yourself for greater levels of positivity and happiness.

5) Egocentrism

To a degree we are all egocentric. We do not experience the world directly, rather we see the world through our individual filters. This is made up of our past experiences, how our parents treated us and early life lessons. Most of the time we worry far too much about what others might think of us. The funny thing is, that others are  thinking about us far less than we realise. We are all more worried about ourselves than about how others appear. Whilst we are sitting there worrying about whether our bums look big in our outfits or whether we have spinach in our teeth, the people we are with are probably also worrying about their own issues-the cellulite they spotted whilst getting dressed that morning or the argument they had with their partner before leaving the house. I recently visited a friend unexpectedly and found her house to be in disarray. Instead of judging her, I realised that the fact that her house was untidy had served to bolster my view of my own home which was also messy but slightly less messy than hers. What I’m getting at is that I did not judge her for being an untidy slovenly person. Instead I used this experience to feel better about myself. Learn to let go of your fears about what other people think.

6) Reduce rigidity

So often I have clients come to me in great distress. The problems occur when there is a difference between the way life is unfolding and the way they wanted it to, or expected it to unfold. We create endless stress unnecessarily. It is common sense that if you have many rigid rules about life they are more likely to be broken thus causing anxiety. Learn to pick your battles in life and ask yourself how important it is that certain rules are adhered to. The more rules we have, the harder it is to maintain positivity and happiness. The more flexible, tolerant and open minded we are, the happier we tend to be.

A good example of this relates to me and my teenage son who is now 18 years old. I watch parents engaged in daily battles with their teenagers over untidy bedrooms, spending too much time on their computers and not doing as they are told (for example not contributing to household chores). Initially I was like every other parent-trying to do what I thought would make me look like a ‘good’ parent. The emphasis was on me and my expectations rather than on the bigger picture of how this was affecting my son. Parents often mistakenly believe that they can instil their rules on to their children. This is a misconception. The only way a teenager, or adult for that matter, will successfully adopt certain rules is when they consider the rules to be important for themselves. As a result I gave up counting on my son to clean his room constantly and I also let him choose the hours that he would like to spend on his computer and Xbox. Perhaps this may not work with every teenager but in my son’s case it has taught him to self regulate and he is more likely to compromise and negotiate with me rather than display anger or resentment. In fact, he takes responsibility for his own actions as he hasn’t been forced into adopting my priorities. As he matures, he naturally begins to adopt priorities for himself.

If you find that you have black-and-white thinking about life, consider areas where it may benefit you to live life more in the moment and spontaneously. Often rigidity is a “safety behaviour” in that it helps us to falsely believe that we are in control of our lives and acts as a maintaining factor. Take small steps towards reducing the rules that you have in life and you will soon see that you will feel freer.

7) Happiness and Internal Dialogue

Realise that your happiness starts with you. Your happiness is not dependent upon your relationship status, your job, your car, your accommodation or money. Happiness is an inside job. It may sometimes feel impossible to find happiness within yourself but trying to find happiness through external means is definitely impossible. Irrespective of your circumstances, you can still choose your attitude. (Read Viktor Frankl’s book – Man’s Search for Meaning for a good example of what I am referring to). Your thoughts are incredibly powerful and they can make or break your life. Make a habit of choosing thoughts that work for you not against you. You really can choose to believe anything that you want to about yourself and your life. If you really want to, you can think of yourself as a loser. I am not sure how that will benefit you in any way but you are free to do this. You can also choose to see yourself as someone who has good values, who is good to others and who lives a life that they are proud of-this includes making mistakes, feeling stupid and not feeling good enough at times. Don’t be hard on yourself, you are human just like the rest of us.

8) Limiting beliefs

The past does not make you who you are today. You can reinvent yourself at any time. We all have baggage, yes all of us, and this is what makes us part of the human race. No one has all the answers and we are all learning as each day passes. It is time to give up the beliefs and habits that are holding you back. Respect yourself enough to let go of anything that no longer works for you. Listen to your intuition and not your ego. Life is not linear, we can be successful (whatever success means to you personally) and lose it all. At times we can renew that success, at times not. I have also witnessed couples get married in their 20s and divorce in their 30s. I have  had clients come to me in their 20s explaining how they feel inadequate because they are not yet married with children. When we delve a little deeper it often turns out that rigid beliefs and limiting beliefs have choreographed this person’s views. When we let go of preconceived ideas and accept our lives as they are, we often feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders. We can be happy with the way our lives are turning out rather than constantly be comparing our lives to something we imagined we would have had. Examine your beliefs and get rid of any that hold you back in anyway. Sometimes it takes a while to even begin to identify these beliefs but when you are aware that you have them they begin to crawl out of the woodwork.

It may seem that there are many things in life that detract from our positivity and happiness. It is okay to have down days, I still have “duvet days” and I’m getting better at enjoying them rather than feeling guilt all day long. Life is odd, life is weird. Never lose your sense of humour and always remember that this world is a crazy tapestry where one size definitely does not fit all.

Mandy X

Be your number one fan

fan photo

Be your number one fan

If you don’t like and love yourself, you’ll find that others like you less too. It’s an energy thing – we pick up on each other’s vibes and can usually tell how comfortable someone is on their own skin. The more at ease someone is with themselves, the more likeable and charismatic they tend to be. You need to be your number one fan and the way I see it, we don’t have much choice in the matter. Either you find a way to like the ‘you’ you have been given to live with or you don’t. Which one do you think is going to lead to a happier life? Why waste energy not liking yourself?

So, make a choice to get comfy with who you are. Sure we can all improve upon ourselves but work on self acceptance in the meantime. Like who you are and what you see when you look in the mirror.

Live according to your values, only speak positively to yourself and make the most of what you have rather than comparing yourself unfavourably to others. If you can do those three things you will be on the way to living out your full potential. It makes sense to try to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be and to treat yourself well. Self compassion is underrated. Those that are at peace with themselves tend to emit positive happy energy to others. They don’t keep score and their inner contentment leaves them with no need to project bitterness and hate onto others.

Learn to be your number one fan, you;ll be amazed at how this can transform your attitude and your life.

Mandy X

 

How to deal with a confidence crisis

 

confidence crisis

 

How to deal with a confidence crisis

Confidence is a dynamic concept and it varies throughout our lives. Usually there will be a trigger that strips our confidence away. If we aren’t able to nip this in the bud, a full confidence crisis can ensue where we are so focused on what it is that we perceive are our shortcomings…that in the end our insecurities become all we can see.

Here are a few tips to help overcome and deal with a confidence crisis:

  1. Get out of your head

Once we focus on our perceived shortcomings, we tend to spiral downwards. Remind yourself that your thinking is probably distorted and not entirely realistic. We tend to be our own worst critics. Instead, remind yourself that thoughts aren’t facts and don’t allow yourself to dwell on negative thoughts about yourself. If you catch yourself being self focused, make an effort to distract yourself.

2. Have clear goals

Know what you are good at and know where you are headed in life. Having that commitment to ourselves and our goals can help us to stay strong when our foundations get shaken. Regularly remind yourself of all that you are proud of and why you think you are a lovely person – whether it’s the way you make a cake, drive a car, your sense of humour or your kindness…never stop letting yourself know why you are special and why you deserve love and to be cherished.

3. Don’t compare

It’s so tempting to compare ourselves to others and we all do it but it is probably one of the most destructive things we can do. We very rarely come out ‘on top’ when we do that. Accept that we are all different and we all have different priorities. Love your own priorities even they seem different to other people’s. Embrace your differences rather than seeing them as inferior.

4.Evaluate your triggers

Figure out what is causing your confidence crisis and decide whether something can be done about it. Is it a specific relationship causing your confidence crisis? Is it a job, a situation? You will usually have three options – change, accept or let go. If you can change it then get stuck in – have that conversation, don;t let things get out of hand. The less assertive we are, the worse the situation will become. Often, we turn a blind eye and hope that the situation will resolve itself but it rarely does. It will often take an active and assertive intervention. If you feel unwilling or unable to make changes then you need to learn to accept the way it makes you feel or learn to let it go – whichever is applicable.

Face your triggers head on, part of approaching the problem will lead to an increase in confidence. When we do something actively to sort our troubles out, we often feel empowered. Believe in yourself.

5. Trust your instincts

All too often we lack the self belief and self doubt gets the better of us. When in the throes of a confidence crisis we may find it even harder to approach the problem and fix it. A confidence crisis never lasts thankfully, and you will get back up again and feel stronger.

In the meantime, be kind to yourself, don’t criticise yourself and never allow someone else to make you feel inferior.No one is perfect and if some one else is somehow leading to your confidence crisis, make sure you keep perspective. You are wonderfully and unique and don’t let anyone else ever lead you to believe otherwise!

Mandy X

 

 

Things resilient people don’t do

 

resilience

 

Things resilient people don’t do

  1. They don’t do everything themselves – they know how to delegate.
  2. They don’t spend inordinate amounts of time researching before making a decision. Example: reading a lot of documentation on a topic; asking for the same information from a number of people; and shopping for a very long time before choosing a present for someone.
  3. Resilient people don’t keep questioning a decision they have made due to uncertainty that they have made the right choice.
  4. Look for reassurance – resilient people are comfortable with making decisions and take personal responsibility for themselves. They know they won’t always get it right but use these errors to learn.
  5. The don’t see failure as a negative thing – they see it as a necessary part of the process.
  6. They don’t see themselves as a victim. They realise life is tough at times but instead of blaming others and/or circumstance, they move forward and look for solutions.
  7. They don’t talk negatively to themselves. Instead, they talk to themselves as they would a best friend.
  8. They live in the moment as much as possible, spending time enjoying the present instead of worrying about the past or the future.

Resilience means you believe you have the resources to get you through the challenges of life. We all suffer negative consequences but resilient people see the bigger picture….

Mandy X