Is there something in your life that you would like to do, yet you find yourself holding back? It seems even the most accomplished people who excel in one or more areas of their life, often find themselves gripped by self-doubt in another. This hesitation, uncertainty or lack of confidence to move forward can weigh on you like a ton of bricks. It drains your energy and robs you of joy and optimism.
What are some signs that you doubt yourself?
- You put off making a change or decision that you know is in your best interest.
- You ask yourself (or other the people) the same question over and over again…”Do you think I should?”
- You feel restless at the end of the day-like you weren’t successful even though you can name a whole list of things you got done.
- You notice “physical clues” of resistance, like tight shoulders, a sinking feeling in your stomach or inability to sit down and relax.
- You catch your mind drifting off during the day, replaying your situation and second guessing the choice you want to make.
How can you break free of this cycle of self-doubt?
My clients rely on me to help them create a game plan for getting back on track by releasing this pattern of low confidence. You might expect that I suggest they begin with positive thinking or affirmations, but, I know these tools can’t work if your brain and body aren’t physically able to produce confidence. Your food creates your thoughts, so we begin with nutrition.
Here’s my top 5 recommendations to boost confidence by nourishing your brain:
- Take out the sugar. Sugar causes depression and brings you down.
- Substitute herbal teas or flavored water (add your own orange, lemon, lime, cucumber, ginger) for caffeinated beverages. Caffeine (like sugar) makes you angry and agitated, turning your thoughts to doubt, guilt and pessimism.
- Increase oxygen intake through exercise or deep breathing exercises. As few as 4 deep breaths (count to 10 on inhale and exhale) can activate your Vegas nerve which helps your relax and look at situations objectively. Add sunlight if you can. Sunlight encourages production of serotonin – one of your most important confidence building brain chemicals.
- Engage your senses. If you tend to spend your day primarily using sight, try closing your eyes and listening to music for 5 minutes to stimulate activity in different areas of your brain.
- Sandwich your “try” between actions that you know you are successful with. Take a few warm up steps that will likely turn out as you hope and then slide right into trying something new.
Journaling through these questions enables you to stop, think through your challenge, and move forward with a great deal of speed and agility. Allowing a coach to read your journal and help you reflect on your responses provides added speed that has an invaluable impact. Join the One Whole Health On Line Journal.
I mentioned, serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for your sense of emotional stability, self-confidence, positive outlook, emotional flexibility and a sense of humor. It is estimated that as many as 80% of Americans are low in serotonin. If you are deficient in this brain chemical, you will feel self doubt for no reason. You will be unable to snap yourself out of a state of worry, negativity, guilt or irritability. This is not your fault, nor is a character flaw that you just have to live with. Serotonin can easily be boosted through the correct nutritional repair plan. Assess Your Brain Chemistry and Set Up A Strategy Session to Discuss your brain chemistry with me.
Once you know you are feeding your brain and body for confidence, you can then look at what is holding you back with a clear view. Here’s a process of questions to examine the situation:
- What thought holds you back from making this change or decision?
- Do you know for a fact that this thought is true and will happen? Have you seen proof it will turn out this way?
- What is the worst thing that could possibly happen? Can you handle that?
- What would you do if that worst thing happened? Can you see yourself rebounding?
- What might you gain if you can find a way to take this step, even for a little while? Do you deserve that?
I often perform training exercises with my horse and am reminded of the similarities between training horses and training ourselves. If a horse is afraid to do something – say cross a bridge, go between two obstacles that are a tight squeeze or separate himself from the herd, the only way he will ever conquer that fear is to do exactly what he is afraid of. If you allow him to avoid the thing that scares him, he will never learn. Once you have set yourself up for high confidence by feeding your brain and your body, the only thing left to do is to try. Experiment, play, practice, imagine!
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