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Six Self-Confidence Tips To Remember!

Updated: May 15

#MomentsForMovement this Mental Health Awareness Week.

Here at Mendip Activity Centre, we firmly believe in the life-changing potential of being active in the great outdoors. Yet, we fully appreciate that engaging in outdoor activities can be daunting and some might find certain activities a huge step out of their comfort zone.

For anyone who feels unsure about trying something new or is hesitant about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, check out the six tips below from local counsellor, spiritual coach and author of 'Being Human: The path to self-acceptance, resilience and happiness', Natalie Read.

Natalie Read - Counsellor, Spirtual Coach and Author

Here are Natalie's six tips to help improve confidence and motivation when trying something new:

  1. Set motivational goals

"Reminding yourself of the benefits of exercise and the difference it can make to you and your life can help you remain committed to what you are already doing or have the motivation to start something new. “I want to exercise to improve my health, boost my mood and help me feel more confident in myself” is a very different statement to “I want to exercise.” It helps you prioritise exercise and motivate you to follow through and stay committed. Other benefits of exercise include: improving brain health, strengthening bone and muscle health, increase life expectancy, help boost mood, self-confidence and reduce mental health symptoms, improve joint health, increase energy and improve sleep."

2. Develop a more nurturing critic

"If you worry about how you come across when exercising or find the experience unpleasant as you have a tendency to be hard on yourself with thoughts such as “You look silly,” “You’re doing it wrong again,” “ You’re not as good as others,” remind yourself that you are most likely your harshest critic. We all have an internal critical voice but the tone, harshness and frequency varies by individual. In most cases, the critic is trying to help you be liked, avoid being hurt, achieve your best or something similar but often becomes distorted and ineffective. To help you critic be more effective, pay more conscious intention to this inner dialogue, thank it for trying to help you and then reframe it in a way that you would talk to a friend."

"Acknowledge you are trying to do something new, you are improving or learning something and that you’re doing your best. If you find this hard to do, try exercising with a friend and give weight to their feedback.

Exercising with a friend is also a great way to stay committed and focused as you can become accountable to each other for your attendance and progress. If you’re not exercising with anybody that you know, you could try asking an instructor. Equally it could be someone who doesn’t come along with you but who you can update on your progress and offer support."

3. Practice mindful exercise

"Instead of evaluating your performance in any sport or hobby with criticism or judgement i.e. that was a rubbish shot, what are you doing et cetera try using mindfulness to help you improve. Identify a goal that you can measure objectively."

For example if you are taking part in a target sport activity, identify the ideal position of your feet, the spot where you want the arrow to hit the target, focus on your breath i.e. feet shoulder width apart, aiming for blue zone, breathe in when you draw back and breathe out when you shoot the arrow.

Observe without judgement how close you are to your objective and praise yourself for getting close to your target. If you miss the target, acknowledge objectively without judgement the next shot needs to be a bit higher or you need to check your stance/arm positioning. Notice the difference versus judging your performance as good or bad.

4. Try a growth mindset

"Another way to help your confidence and performance is to see a longer term picture. Acknowledging that it takes time to learn confidence and competence at a skill or activity and things not going so well on a particular day is part of the learning process towards this longer term goal. It’s sometimes through getting things wrong that we know how to improve. If you were just starting to learn Spanish, you wouldn’t compare yourself to a native speaker or someone who’s been learning for a long time, and you would expect to make mistakes along the way. Instead of I’m not any good at this, try saying I’m not good at this yet but I am learning and growing over time."

"At the end of each session, try asking yourself the following questions. What did I do well? What could I do differently or better next time? By focusing on next time, you’re not dwelling on something you can no longer affect but instead thinking about how to do it differently and what you can strengthen further."

5. Help anxiety to do its job

"If you’ve plucked up the courage to do something new but find the closer it gets, the more you are feeling nervous and likely to back out, remind yourself that feeling nervous is normal. It’s part of what helps you to do well by helping you to prepare for something that feels important or meaningful and perform something well. Feeling excited and feeling scared are two sides of the same coin - we get the same feelings in both scenarios. Telling yourself it’s a normal reaction, the feelings are trying to help you and act on anything that may be helpful i.e. read up about something, do some stretches at home or gentle exercise to build up your confidence to attend and acknowledge your willingness and courage to try something new."

6. You get what you focus on so try picturing what you would like rather than what you don’t

"It’s statistically more likely that a child will drop something if told “don’t drop that” than if you say “hold on tight”. You can see this for yourself by telling yourself don’t think about failure. You picture it in your mind, you then start to look for it. Instead focus on what you want to achieve instead. So every time you imagine starting your new hobby or your performance not going well, find a way to erase that image from your mind and then create a new positive image instead. Imagine yourself performing well, growing from the experience and then take steps to move towards this as if it was already happening rather than acting from a place of lack or fear."

If you would like more confidence insights and advice from Natalie, follow her at @BeingHumanByNatalieRead on Instagram or check out her book 'Being Human: The path to self-acceptance, resilience and happiness' - a handbook to support you throughout the ups and downs of life and can be used reactively to manage symptoms and reassure or, proactively to inspire meaningful change.

Boost your mental health and self-confidence at Mendip Activity Centre. We have over 20 outdoor activities to discover, for all ages and levels of experience - often no experience required! Find your #MomentsForMovement this Mental Health Awareness Week and book your day out to remember here.


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