Ever have one of those days life gives you one karate kick in the teeth after another? Most people have experienced times like this in their lives. When this happens, it's normal to experience low self-confidence and second guess all your decisions. Here are some tips I recommend to others that can be beneficial.
1) Ask yourself, "What caused a great deal of anxiety at first but now is relatively easy?"
Self-confidence often waivers when we try challenges that are new, difficult, or both. Try remembering a list of things that were intimidating or anxiety provoking when you were a beginner but come easily now that you're an old pro. It can be difficult to recall examples when you're in a low mood, so do some brainstorming when you're in a better mood so that you have a list you can go back to.
2) Step back to gain perspective
When your self-confidence has taken a blow, it's easy to go into a tailspin to the point that you start asking yourself if you are a loser in life in general. Try to step back and get some perspective. Are you a decent friend? Are you a good worker? Do you take good care of your pets? What are you accomplishments? Balance your thinking. You may not be perfect but you're probably not terrible either.
3) Ask yourself, "Who am I comparing myself to?"
When something knocks down your confidence about decision making often triggers social comparison. Why aren't I doing things like other people? Remember, we may not all be rockstars, but most of our decisions are good ones and you have plenty of accomplishments. Everyone can achieve outstanding accomplishments eventually, but these tend to be few and far between, even for high achievers, and they are interspersed with mistakes and mediocre results. Commonly, we compare ourselves to siblings, neighbors, friends, co-workers, or people we read about online. Behind the scenes, even successful people are making plenty of life mistakes and have behaviors that frustrate them. Life is messy for everyone.
4) Recognize feeling self-doubt doesn't necessarily mean you're on the wrong track.
Like all emotions, self-doubt is an evolved signal system. It has the effect of making us think closely about what we are doing. This system isn't perfect and causes many false alarms, especially in people with anxiety. In fact, it can trigger unhelpful rumination. Feeling self-doubt doesn't mean you're on the wrong track. It often just means you're confronting a challenge that is hard, new, or both. While self-doubt feels uncomfortable, it has benefits too. When self-doubt isn't completely a false alarm, there are plenty of strategies you can use. When you feel regret over imperfect decisions you can try this tip for coping with regret. When you realize you need to improve in an area, it's easier to do this if you focus on improving your habits rather than trying to achieve perfection.
5) Know what you need to weather the storm and bounce back.
Know what works for you when you need nurturing, in order to get through emotional challenges. You can contact friends, family, or discuss with your partner about the self-doubt you are experiencing. Remember, nearly everyone has experienced this so it is nothing to be embarrassed about and does not mean that you are weak. Other physical strategies for coping with stress may include: An early night, naps, exercise, slow breaths, yoga, or meditation. Other options might include a meal, movie, or a weekend trip. If you feel socially isolated, consider reaching out to some weaker social connections, like people you know but are not particularly close.
6) Keep in mind the things that make you feel worse.
Lastly, keep in mind anything you tend to do that makes you feel worse, like staying up late. It's natural to want to stay up when you need to wind down from work. If it's causing issues for you, then you might need to start the wind down process earlier. One helpful tip is to avoid computers, phones, and television an hour before going to bed. The light from these devices imitates sunlight and may cause you to stay awake. Troubleshoot self-sabotaging behaviors such as drinking, drugging, eating, gambling, shopping, or overusing social media or the internet.
In conclusion, pick your favorite few tips from this blog and try them out the next time you are doubting yourself or your decisions. Not every strategy works for everyone, but there are plenty to try, so experiment and see what works for you.