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When I was a kid, it seemed like the world was one big playhouse. I can remember playing with my toys at home, playing at school, and even playing in my grandparents’ backyard. Then, maybe around 3rd grade, I started to feel a weird sensation in the pit of my stomach. It was like fear, mixed with nervousness, mixed with worry. I started to worry about my grades in school, I started to worry about my safety growing up in a dangerous neighborhood, and I started to get nervous that I was getting fat (yes, at 6 or 7 years old, body image issues were starting to grab hold of me).
(Read this post to learn how to heal old childhood wounds and move forward in your life.)
This was the starting point at which my little brain started to take in messages, some direct and some indirect, from the world that I was not good enough. From television, media, family, school, and pretty much every encounter with another human being. My fun, happy little self-esteem was being chipped away, inch by inch. Now as an adult, I look back and realize that was the beginning of my lifelong relationship with anxiety.
Anxiety is the feeling of fear, dread, or uneasiness. It can manifest in the forms of physical changes like feeling very hot, very cold, sweating, feeling nauseous, or rapid heartbeat. Anxiety disorders are circumstances where people are constantly feeling in the “fight or flight” mode even when their life is not in danger. Long-term anxiety can be caused by trauma, abuse, family history of mental disorders, and is associated with certain personality traits. In these circumstances, constant anxiety can have detrimental effects such as mental health disorders and physical illnesses.
(Specifically, dealing with divorce anxiety? Check out this post on how to have more peace after a divorce)
Sometimes a little anxiety can be helpful, as it can help you stay alert when you are in a dangerous situation, or your life is being threatened. It can also be temporary if you are dealing with a one-time event that may be challenging or stressful. Most people live on a spectrum when it comes to anxiety, meaning sometimes their anxiety is higher and sometimes it may be lower. No matter where you land on the anxiety spectrum, dealing with it is not a fun experience. But, there are ways to control your anxiety while continuing to live a healthy and joyful life.
It takes a lot of work to have confidence while you are constantly dealing with anxiety. But it is possible to have a high level of confidence in certain areas of life and still feel anxious in other areas. For example, you may be anxious about getting a new job, learning new skills in that role, and meeting new coworkers, but you may be perfectly confident with your friends, family, and other relationships. In that scenario, you have anxiety because of a specific circumstance, but it is not taking over your entire life.
So yes, it is possible to be confident and still have anxiety. The sweet spot is when you have a high level of confidence 90% of the time with small instances of anxiety about 10% of the time. Life is ever-changing, therefore we never know when or how anxiety will show up in our lives. The best step to take is learning how to be proactive in building confidence (no matter what) which in turn will build mental and emotional strength to deal with anxiety easily when it comes.
Here are a few ways to build confidence, build mental and emotional strength, and reduce anxiety.
There has been plenty of research done that shows how nutrition is connected to our mental, physical, and emotional states. Our gut is the area of our body that holds our immune system. When we are feeding ourselves food that that has been highly processed with added sugars and other chemicals, we are more likely to experience higher than normal levels of stress. The reason is that those unhealthy, unnatural foods decrease our body’s ability to fight colds and viruses, and cause us to continue to crave unhealthy foods. These foods cause more stress which leads to us emotional eating, which leads to weight gain, which leads to more stress. This way of life is a vicious cycle that is very difficult to break.
When we can give our body whole, minimally processed foods like fruit, vegetables, healthy fat, and protein, our body can function better. We have the power to reduce stressful emotions, increase healing, and calm our moods with the foods that we consume. This in turn decreases feelings of anxiety, fatigue, depression, and worry, and helps increase our self-esteem and confidence.
Take a look at your eating habits and decide where you can make small changes that will help you feel better.
(Learn how to take control of your healthy and nutrition with my course, The Confident Woman’s Healthy Lifestyle Guide)
Technology has made human lives easier but in some ways, it has contributed to less daily physical activity. Given that we live in a modern world, we must be intentional about adding physical activity to our daily lives. Research has shown that engaging in physical activity reduces stress, depression, and anxiety, and improves mood, sleep, and digestion. It also affects the hormones that give us a sense of euphoria and joy.
Adding physical activity to your day could be as simple as going for a walk outside around your neighborhood or at a park. It could be taking an at-home fitness class online. Try out some different activities and choose one that you feel you could easily stick with over the long term. Start slow and increase the level of activities over time so that you don’t get too overwhelmed. Once you start feeling the effects of physical activity you will not want to stop.
Meditation is a practice that helps you calm your mind and bring all of your attention to yourself. It allows you to listen to your internal voice without the noise of the outer world. It puts you in a state of non-judgmental observance of the present moment.
There are many ways to meditate such as sitting and deep breathing and listening to your breath. You can chant or repeat a mantra such as “om” or “I am at peace”. You can do a walking meditation in nature where you allow your mind to be fully present with the sights, sounds, and physical sensations at the moment. A consistent meditation practice helps you cultivate a sense of internal peace so that when you encounter external chaos you can separate yourself mentally and pull in your peace.
(P.S. – 5 Self-Care Tips For Busy Women)
Journaling is simple yet helpful when it comes to boosting your confidence and internal peace. Journaling is all about writing out your feelings, emotions, thoughts, accomplishments, dreams, and what you are thankful for in your life.
There are various ways to journal. You can use journal prompts such as the ones I provide in my 30 -day Empowerment Journal Workbook. Journaling gives you the space to express your emotions and thoughts in private without distractions or judgment from others. It can also relieve anxiety when you can write out what is worrying you and help you confront negative self-talk.
I often encourage my coaching clients to journal and use it as a time to create positive self-affirming statements such as “I am valuable”, “I appreciate myself”, or “I love myself”. Journaling can:
If you have never tried journaling, give it a try! Even if you don’t do it every day, just writing 1-3 times a week will help you see a noticeable difference in your life.
(Check out this post for more transformational questions to ask yourself as you journal)
The people that we surrounded ourselves with have a great influence on our lives. When we surround ourselves with negative, needy, depressed, judgmental people, we will start to feel those same emotions.
(Tip: Learn how to deal with dramatic difficult people in this article.)
Our minds can only fight environmental pressures so much, and what we expose them to will eventually seem normal. This is the reason why it is so important to expose your mind to healthy, positive, joyful, non-judgmental people. This can look like a support group, an interest group such as a book club, a travel group, or a community volunteer group.
Having people in your life who share a similar interest that is not family or close friends is very beneficial for your mental health. These are the people that can be supportive of a personal goal or can allow you to express deep meaningful thoughts around ideas that you are passionate about.
If you don’t have this type of group then find one, there are so many online groups and in-person groups. Just search online for an interest that you may have and add a group in your area, and you will find tons of information to get you started.
Everyone will experience anxiety at some time in life, as it is a part of the human experience. However, it’s important to create a regimen that helps to decrease the effects of anxiety so that it does not completely take over your life. Understanding how to build confidence will reduce anxiety and build the mental and emotional strength needed to persevere through difficult experiences.
Ready to start the process of gaining more clarity, confidence, and courage? Start here:
Don’t let more time pass by, reclaim your life today!
Tiffiny has a B.A. in Psychology, and master’s degree in Public Health Education. She worked in consulting for over 16 years, as well as previously owning a fitness and health business. In her personal life, she used personal development, mindset and health strategies to go from being overworked in a demanding corporate career, emotionally drained in a toxic marriage, physically unhealthy, and depressed to becoming an award-winning figure level bodybuilding athlete and entrepreneur. As a women’s empowerment coach, she works to help women get clear on their goals, build confidence, increase self-esteem, take action on their deep desires and create a life they love