It may have been a while since you last doubted your abilities, or it may have been just a few minutes ago. With that in mind, it may not be surprising to hear that 95% of us experience a lack of confidence or self-belief at some point during our careers.
However, what you may not be aware of is just how much confidence affects both your personal and professional life. But before we delve into those issues, it’s worthwhile to discuss what exactly confidence is.
What is Confidence?
Whilst a subjective concept, most of us view confidence as a state of mind. It’s the ability to have an unwavering belief relating to your abilities within a certain situation or during a certain task. If you have confidence, you aren’t doubting yourself or worrying about what could go wrong.
Some people have confidence in some aspects of their lives but not in others. For instance, individuals are often very confident in their personal lives, but struggle with low self-confidence and self-doubt at work.
Confidence itself is a constant balancing act. Have too little of it and you can end up underperforming at work, missing opportunities to progress. However, having too much confidence can lead to complacency and subsequent mistakes.
Why Do Individuals Suffer from Low Levels of Self Confidence?
There are many potential causes for your confidence levels to drop.
Colleagues that drain you and those around them, maybe producing a toxic environment, can bring confidence down. In our personal lives, many are drowning in the constant exposure through social media, to the lives of those who have more than you do. Instagram celebrities, reality TV stars, and even better-off friends and colleagues can leave you feeling low on confidence when you compare your life to theirs.
Nutrition also has an effect on our mental health. If you are eating a diet high in sugar and caffeine, then you are much more susceptible to energy spikes and mood swings that can leave you feeling down about yourself.
Stress and pressure are often underlying causes for those suffering with confidence-related issues. This is particularly the case in working environment. A presentation that didn’t quite go to plan or a meeting with managers that wasn’t positive is enough to knock any employee’s confidence.
So can you build up your confidence if you regularly struggle with self-belief?
How to Build Your Confidence
The first step you can take to boost your confidence can actually be to improve your diet and nutrition. We’ve already established how what you consume on a daily basis effects the body. But even just staying hydrated can have a huge influence on confidence. Several studies have shown the effects on the brain from only minor levels of dehydration – so make sure to always have a drink handy.
When it comes to foods, try mood-boosting foods such as complex carbohydrates for slow-release energy. Also add to your list food rich in vitamin D (e.g. eggs and cereals), vitamin B (dairy and meat) and selenium (whole grains, nuts and seeds). These will all help to prevent the lows associated with energy spikes provided by foods high in simple sugars.
Aside from improving your nutrition, look to surround yourself by people who increase your confidence. Avoid friends, peers, and managers who either drain you or bring you down as much as possible. By avoiding these negative encounters, you can begin to build your confidence levels surrounded by people who support and encourage you, lessening the impact of those harmful interactions.
In high-pressure or stressful situations, try and practice mindfulness. Become aware of your thoughts of self-doubt, and ultimately challenge them. Try and find another way of thinking about the situation that spins it in a positive light. Repeat these thought patterns as many times as it takes for you to head into the situation with confidence that you are going to succeed.
Get Expert Advice on Mental Health and More
Confidence comes naturally to some, but for others it has be learned. Either way, it’s important to remember that everyone is capable of being confident. Take care of your body and mind through good nutritional practices, surround yourself with positive people who build your confidence, and try to challenge thoughts of self-doubt when you find yourself in stressful situations.
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