How To Build Self-Confidence
Step 8

Building self-confidence through times of stress, anxiety and panic.

Do you know how to build self-confidence? How much self confidence you have is most likely based on a few different things. Although these things have a lot in common, they are different and separate from the other. However, they all work together to help form who we become.

  • How You See Yourself (which is your self-image)
  • How You Feel About Yourself (which is your self-esteem)
  • How Much You Believe In Your Own Ability To Do Certain Things (which is your self confidence)

  • No matter what your level of self confidence is today, you can still learn how to build self-confidence. It's never too late to learn and build more confidence in all you do. It's important to understand that unlike your self-image and self-esteem, your self-confidence is earned through hard work and determination. It is ONLY through stepping out, taking risks, and trying new things that you can build upon it. As you build your self-confidence, you will notice how you see yourself and how you feel about yourself will also improve.

    A healthy self-confidence is especially important to finally overcoming anxiety, panic, as well as other issues such as specific phobias and agoraphobia. It is ONLY through DOING the work and have little successes along the way that self-confidence grows and the bigger your self-confidence grows, the more you'll be willing to take bigger steps to challenge yourself. Self-talk alone will not help you build in self-confidence as it requires you to follow through with a successful action.

    What if you don't have a healthy level of self-confidence?

    If your self-confidence is low and you feel you cannot do what is necessary to overcome such challenges, it's important to press forward regardless of how you feel. With each step you take in the right direction, you will be increasing your self confidence and as you persist, it will get easier and easier to approach the most difficult steps ahead of you. You begin with baby steps in the direction you want to go with the things you want to do - and increase those steps as you go. So many people do not challenge themselves enough for fear of failure, but believe it also, sometimes it's the fear of success that keeps people from moving forward. You might wonder why anyone would be afraid of success - and some of that has to do with the great responsiblity that comes with success. Either way, fear should never be a deciding factor for making any decisions. It is better to do, or not do something simply because it's what you want for yourself and your life.

    Building self-confidence is one of those things that takes a lot of hard work and determination. Our self-confidence, good or bad, has developed over the years and has been based on the perception we have about our abilities. Many times, we have allowed the opinions of others to have a negative and unrealistic effect on our self-confidence. Our self-confidence should never be built on what other people think of us, but rather how we think and believe about ourselves.

    Tips and Strategies on How to Build Self-Confidence

  • Plan for Your Success - Sit down and take the time to plan out the necessary steps you will need to take to reach your goal. You can do this by creating a checklist if you want. It's also important to include a back-up plan just in case your original plan doesn't work. By taking the time to plan, you are working out potential problems prior to them happening and will have formed a solution that will help you work around those problems. This helps you to stay realistic and motivated when things don't go as you expect.

  • Visualize Your Success - A little visualization goes a long way! use your visualization skills to help you see yourself walking through each of your listed steps. Imagine yourself coming up against those potential problems and visualize yourself solving those problems in a peaceful, confident way. By visualizing success, you are preparing the mind to do what is necessary in order to be successful.

  • Spot Your Negative Thinking - Pay attention to your thought life. Spot your most self-defeating thoughts. By recognizing them ahead of time, you will be more able to put those negative thoughts in their proper place when they arrive...the trash! Use positive thinking and self talk techniques to keep your thoughts moving in the right direction. Write down your positive thoughts on paper ahead of time and post them where you will see them often and be reminded. It is easy to feel defeated when you are learning how to build self confidence. How you talk to yourself is extremely important and part of a the process to developing a healthy self confidence. Remember, a pessimist, a cynic, a negative thinker cannot succeed!

  • Commit Yourself to Your Own Goals - Make a serious commitment to do everything in your own power to succeed. Remind yourself that you cannot succeed without some challenge and discomfort. Change doesn't come easy and is hard for many people. Things that are worth real value take time. So promise yourself that you won't give up. The reward of self confidence is well worth the effort it takes to reach your goals. Be patient with yourself.

  • Keep Realistic Expectations - Stay realistic and emotionally balanced. The key to healthy self-confidence is to remember that just as low self confidence isn't good, an over-confident person may be setting themselves up for a big let down. Try to keep your expectations realistic and balanced by reminding yourself that you are human. Perfectionism is not a healthy goal! Admit when you make mistakes. When you hide from them, you only sabotage your success. Remember, what you believe about yourself matters more than what anyone else thinks.

  • Take Baby Steps - Start by taking small steps towards your goal. These small steps lead to small successes. It is these small successes that help your self confidence grow. At it grows, you will be more willing to take those bigger steps. Success begins with one small step and leads to leaps and bounds if you keep moving forward! Learn how to build self-confidence through baby steps!

  • Choose to Believe in Yourself - Even if you don't feel confident, it's important that you make the choice to believe in yourself even when you feel differently. Belief is not a feeling but a deliberate choice we all need to make in order to be successful at anything. Without belief we don't even try. Do not sabotage your own success by reminding yourself why you can't do something. If you believe you can't, then you won't. Encourage yourself and give yourself credit for everything, even the smallest of things you accomplish.

  • Reward Yourself - Celebrate and reward your successes. When you succeed it's important to recognize it. You would easily give someone else credit for their accomplishments, so why not do this for yourself too? Learning how to build self confidence means learning how to give yourself credit when credit is due!

  • Use Positive Thought Replacement and Affirmations - Self-confidence relies on both our thinking and actions. It builds when we are able to remind ourselves of our past successes and encourage ourselves when we have a setback in our journey, so, endorse, affirm yourself often! A little encouragement goes a long way. No matter how tempted you are, don't rely on the encouragement of others to get you by. Of course, outside encouragement is always great, and is an added benefit to our growth, but it's alot more important that your primary source of encouragement is from you.

  • Steps That Teach Us How To Build Self-Confidence

    1. Encourage Yourself - By encouraging yourself, you work against your internal negative self-dialogue. Also, believe it or not, encourage others too, look for any and every opportunity to keep the affirmations going. This will help create a good habit.

    2. Try not to care so much about what other people think - When we care more about what others think instead of what we think or what God thinks, we give the power of our self-image over to others.

    3. Disengage your own internal critical voice! - We can be our own worst enemy. When you notice yourself thinking negative about yourself or your abilities, whether past, present or in the future, it is extremely important to begin positive, truthful self-talk immediately. The sooner you recognize your negative critical thinking, the sooner you can begin to correct it.

    4. Imagine "mission accomplished"! - Close your eyes and imagine the situation as if you have done it already. Visualize yourself being successful! Remember, the mind cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. Therefore, visualizing will train your mind to be less threatened as you take steps towards the real event. Imagine how you would handle negative situations and end them in a visually positive, realistic way.

    5. "Fake it till you make it" - This definitely does not mean denying truth or lying to yourself, instead this is about having an attitude of success even before you are there. Even if you are not exactly where you want to be, react to life as if you have already been successful. This can really have a huge impact on success. When practicing "being what you want to be, having an attitude you want to have", this new attitude on how you see yourself will become habit and come naturally with time.

    6. Take Risks! - You will NEVER gain anything by doing nothing! Your life is up to you! You must be willing to fail before you can even begin to succeed at anything. Sometimes it takes many attempts before being successful at something. Try not to see yourself as defeated, instead, see yourself with real potential and then GET BUSY LIVING! Everytime you fall, pick yourself back up, encourage yourself, and begin again...

    7. Be Persistent! - When you take risks and things do not turn out the way you want, take the time to encourage yourself and to speak truth to yourself. Building self-confidence is so important. Whatever you do, be persistent and do not give up. When life pushes you, don't be afraid to push back! Keep getting back up and keep giving it your all. The only ones who don't success are those you quit! So don't quit!

    8. Believing in yourself is a CHOICE. Our actions should be a reflection of our choices. It is important to always recognize that feelings are always the end result of what we tell ourselves along the way. Learning to to effectively talk to yourself in a positive, truthful manner is a major key to success with growing in confidence. Choose to believe in yourself everyday.

    Affirm and Reaffirm Yourself
    Build your Self-Confidence

    It is very important for you to encourage yourself and others. As you know, working on yourself to overcome any obstacle takes a lot of effort. Your automatic negative thoughts seem to come more easily when you are practicing. It is easy to get discouraged when you have a particularly hard day or you experience a panic attack while facing a challenging situation. One thing that helps greatly is for you to take time to encourage yourself along the way. You do this by re-affirming positive truths to yourself. If you cannot do this easily in your mind, be sure to make a list of affirmations on paper and repeat them to yourself when you are having a difficult time.

    Some Easy Affirmations to Remember

  • I am healthy and strong.
  • I am working hard at conquering my obstacles.
  • If I panic, this means I am learning.
  • A panic does not mean I am having a setback.
  • I will be okay.
  • I will do my best. My best is good enough.
  • I will not always be suffering.
  • I am learning more and more everyday.
  • It's okay to have good days and bad days.
  • I will overcome this!

  • Remember, this is an important step to helping you build self-confidence. The more you work at encouraging yourself, the more self confidence you will have. Self-confidence begins inside your mind and builds with ACTION!

    Another way you can encourage yourself is by writing an encouraging letter to yourself as though you were someone else. Since it's so much easier to encourage someone else than it is to encourage yourself, pretend you are writing a letter to a friend, then read it to yourself out loud.

    Looks for ways to encourage other people. It is helpful to encourage other people who are suffering with the same thing you are suffering with. Many people find it easier to encourage other people than it is to encourage themselves. But, by encouraging other people you are really encouraging yourself. Whether you are speaking encouragement, or writing it out to someone else, you are going through the actions of repeating truth to yourself. You end up helping yourself without even realizing it.

    Okay, so maybe you don't know anyone in your life that is going through the same things you are going through. That is when you can involve yourself in an online community. There are forums, newsgroups, chat rooms, and online communities filled with people who are suffering with the same thing you are suffering with. They can easily be found by searching for them in Google® or your favorite online search engine. Get involved and then begin encouraging other people! You will be amazed at how fast you learn by doing this.

    Additional Resources on How to Build Self Confidence

    Tom G. Stevens, PhD offers a FREE ONLINE BOOK called "You Can Choose to be Happy". There is an entire section dedicated to building self-confidence and self-worth called DEVELOP GREATER SELF-WORTH AND SELF-CONFIDENCE that is extremely helpful.

    Step 8 Actions:

    • 1. Focus on implementing the tips, strategies, and steps to learning how to build your self-confidence. Be patient with yourself. Have courage as you face your challanges and be good to yourself when you succeed and don't succeed. Remember to talk to yourself properly. Affirmations, encouragements are necessary in EVERY situation and circumstance during recovery!

    • 2. Find out how you talk to yourself on a daily basis! Then, focus on changing WHAT you say to yourself! Practice "Thought Stopping" and "Positive Thought Replacement" as often as possible. The more you do this, the better your outcome! This step is one of the most important steps to you making real, and lasting change.

    • 3. Plan a time for your stress management activity! If you find it hard to fit this in your schedule, be sure to pull out your calendar and literally plan for this event. Write it down and follow up with it the same way you would an appointment. Make yourself a priority! This is more important than you know.

    • 4. Take time each day to practice relaxation breathing. Be mindful of tension, habits of holding your breathe or overbreathing throughout the day. These are great moments to practice.

    • 5. Plan a daily event you can do that will help you face your challenged situation. Remember, you get to pick how little or how much work you want to put into this. You are in full control over yourself and your comings and goings. Do something even if it's small and then slowly increase your activities as you see fit. Just be sure you are challenging yourself and when you are done, you quickly affirm yourself and your efforts!

    • 6. Work on changing your diet to include foods that will support your body during this time. Also, consider natural supplements if you think you might need some help.

    • 7. Continue incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Spend at least 20 minutes each day on your preferred type of exercise, such as aerobic, strength, or toning exercises. **Consult with your physician prior to doing this, especially if you currently suffer with a physical problem or are currently taking medication for a pre-existing condition.**

    • 8. Spend approx. 10-20 minutes each day on your choice of isometric or progressive muscle relaxation exercises.

    • 9. Write in a journal each day, preferably before bedtime, but this can also be done any time of day and more than once if you choose. Don't pressure yourself, just write whatever comes to mind. Leave some blank writing space at the bottom of the page.

    • 10. Read over your journaling. Do you notice thoughts that are particularly negative or sound hopeless? If so, take this time to rewrite those thoughts in a more positive, optimistic, truthful way at the bottom of your journal page. Do this Positive Thought Replacement Homework at least once a day. If your thoughts are racing around and going through a particularly hard time, it helps to do this homework as many times possible throughout the day. As silly as this feels, it is very important that you DO NOT skip this exercise. Repetition is IMPORTANT and will help you get into the habit of becoming more away of your negative inner dialogue.

    • 11. If you are struggling with obsessive thinking, take the time each day to practice visualization exercises and Positive Thought Replacement Exercises.

    • 12. REPEAT this program and the 8 Guided Steps as many times as needed to build a better life for yourself. These steps work best when repeated many times throughout the course of your life - The more you practice, the better you get. Only you can be the master of your life, your perspective, your emotions, your growth! Not only do these steps help you climb out of your anxiety, depression, panic and all the rest, they can help you manage your stress so things don't escalate to the place they once were. The only way to fail is if you give up, so, don't give up! And if you ever think you need the help of a qualified therapist, Life Coach, or want to try a prescription medication because nothing else has worked - then DO THAT! It is okay to ask for extra help!

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