Most people want to conquer their nerves so they can face the world with new-found self-confidence. But deep down, they have a vein of scepticism that holds them back; they feel any attempts to change are doomed to fail.
Great news: It doesn’t have to be like this. You can change if you really want to; all you need is the desire to succeed, and some guidance.
1. Personalise the message
You will have seen books that promise to ‘change your life forever’; you may have read and benefited from them. But many people find that any beneficial effects of such motivational literature are fleeting, and the message is soon forgotten. Why? They do not ‘personalise’ what they read or hear because they don’t really believe that the message was meant for them. Result: They make only a half-hearted effort to act upon it.
2. Establish desire and belief. Ask yourself two key questions.
1: ‘Am I satisfied with things as they are?’
2: ‘Do I want to change anything in my life?’
If your answers are ‘no’ and ‘yes’ respectively, you have the desire to change. New resolutions don’t have to be made only on 1 January; you can take the decision to make a fresh start any time you want. Most people identify personal shortcomings and/or missed opportunities and decide immediately that it’s too late to do anything about them. However, these are rash assessments – it’s never too late to change; and if you can embrace
the belief that you can change, you’re on your way to a happier, relaxed life.
3. Recognise your self-confidence
A lack of faith is often triggered by the competitive world around us, which leads to fears and negative feelings. Examples include the fear of embarrassment, rejection and/or failure, the inability to handle situations, a lack of self-esteem. The truth is, self-confidence is not something that people are either born with or without. It’s simply a product of your present state of mind. And: self-confidence is available to you if you really want it.
4. Face up to your fears
Most fears are irrational. So if you adopt a rational approach, you’ll conquer them. How? List your fears; anything
from spiders to public speaking. Then, go through the list, writing out your reasons for each fear. Confront your list in a rational manner, and see how irrational these fears really are – now you can begin to eliminate these negative elements.
5. Exorcise your fears
Sit or lie comfortably in a quiet room, close your eyes and visualise your mind as a video recorder. On your mental video, play a tape showing each of your fears in turn. After playing each section of the tape, rewind and wipe that part clean in your mind. Then play the tape again and – if it hasn’t been wiped – repeat the process again, until the tape is clean.
6. Learn to relax
If you relax for a few minutes each day, you’ll find this will help you to combat stress and anxiety. Exercise: Beginning with your feet – then focusing on one part of your body at a time – tense your muscles, hold the tension for several seconds, then release it. As you relax each muscle, visualise the tension flowing out of it. Move up your body, from your toes to your calves, to your thighs and buttocks, to your stomach, shoulders, neck, arms and hands. Complete the exercise by tensing and relaxing the muscles around your mouth and eyes. Helpful: devote a few minutes to this each day – and it will soon be triggered automatically at stressful times.
7. Define new problems as they arise
You’ll be aware that you need to take action over some of the things you’re unhappy about. These include being less critical of people around you and adopting a healthier lifestyle. But many self-judgements are subjective; based on perception rather than reality such as negative feelings about your personal appearance. These can be eliminated by adopting a more positive approach towards them. So, change your approach to the world in general; from one that’s predominantly reactive to one where you initiate and set things in motion – in essence, take charge of your life.
8. Take control
The human mind can become a strait-jacket for feelings and emotions; and people sometimes feel powerless to do
anything about this. But you can break free by recognising the natural tendency that everyone has to centre their thoughts on themselves as if they are the focus of everyone else’s attention. We all attach far too much importance to what other people think of us. It’s as if we think that everything we do or say is being studied closely; whereas other people are too busy with their own daily lives to be over-concerned about us.
9. Clear your mind
Another by-product of this ‘strait-jacket syndrome’ is that it allows more into our minds than it lets out. It can cause
our brains to become cluttered up with innumerable little problems that we’re reluctant to deal with. It’s like having masses of unanswered mail piling up in an overflowing in-tray. And, the longer we leave things like
this, the more reluctant we are to deal with the problem, and the worse we feel about it. So, if you can identify this trait in yourself, you’ll also know there is no better time to start tackling it than right now.