#Confidence – what can I do to get it? Part 4


In Part 3 of this series of blogs on #confidence I talked about a young man who lacked the confidence to give a presentation at work. Although he had prepared the content for this presentation, and was confident he knew his stuff, he was not prepared for it mentally. His imagination was running riot, predicting all sorts of things going wrong and this was sapping his confidence. No-one is a mind reader, so we just can’t say what will happen in any future situation – good or bad. However, we can learn to manage whatever happens in a successful way. This is what gives us confidence – learning to deal with and effectively manage the uncertainties of life, knowing that whatever happens we will be ok. This young man was using his powerful imagination to foresee things going wrong and could even make himself feel sick at the thought of standing up and presenting. Many people do this – perhaps you know someone who avoids meeting new people or is too nervous to go on a date, or someone who dreads holiday times because they aren’t confident flyers – or perhaps you recognize yourself here? What my client didn’t realize is that this powerful imagination is a great gift – he could learn to harness this ability to imagine himself coping well with whatever may happen. Instead of sabotaging himself, he could use his imagination to develop his own confidence.

The easiest and most effective way to do this is using #hypnosis. Did you realize that hypnosis is a natural phenomenon that we all use every day? It is a state of highly focused attention that we have all experienced. This young man had already inadvertently been using negative #self-hypnosis to convince himself that things would go wrong. He was worrying about his presenting style, the obvious physical manifestation of his nervousness and what his colleagues would think of him when he started shaking and his voice faltered. He was using his powerful imagination to scare himself about something that hadn’t even happened!

I talked with him about anxiety and how this affects the way we think and behave. You can find out more about this here: http://www.yorkmindmakeover.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/anxiety-what-is-it-and-how-do-i-make-it-go-away-part-1/

In the therapy room, he learned how to use hypnosis to turn this around. He learned techniques for staying relaxed and calm including using deep abdominal slow breathing or a one minute meditation to feel instantly a little better. Using hypnosis, I encouraged him to travel forward in time and imagine himself really there on the day of his presentation. He pictured himself getting up in the morning feeling relaxed and calm, going to work and leading up to the time before his presentation slot. He experienced all of this whilst remaining calm – just as he had told me he wanted to feel on this day. I then helped him imagine his presentation going really well, remaining in control of his body, standing steady, even to see himself handling challenging questions from his colleagues, remaining calm and his voice staying steady and clear, and then to feel the sensations of pride and achievement in a job well done. He imagined and experienced a wonderful feeling of confidence. This happens because your brain doesn’t differentiate between what is real and what is imagined – the feelings are the same. If you doubt this just watch a scary movie or a weepy movie – it’s not real but you still have the same emotional reaction as if it was really happening. He finished the session with a huge smile on his face. He was encouraged to go through this exercise again and again at home to strengthen the new neural pathways he had established. Building confidence needs practice and reinforcement, just as in building any new habit.

I wonder if you are now becoming aware of the way you may be using negative self-hypnosis to sabotage yourself? We are all guilty of this from time to time and usually completely unaware of it. However, the good news is, in the same way, you can use positive self-hypnosis to develop your confidence. Why not give it a try? Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and allow yourself to become calm and relaxed by slowing your breathing and relaxing any tension in your body. Imagine yourself in a situation where you would like to have more confidence. Make the scene as real as you can – bring it to life and picture yourself there feeling calm and optimistic, expecting success in whatever it is you are doing. Remember, confidence is all about feeling that whatever happens you will be ok. Picture yourself coping well and feeling confident – allow that feeling to grow and develop. Just experiencing this sets up new pathways in your brain and the more you practice, the more you reinforce this new behaviour. After all – hasn’t your unwanted behaviour developed in the same way? When your new confident behaviour becomes a habit, the old unwanted behaviour will fade and disappear. Eventually this decay means you will find it difficult to remember how it used to be.

In the final 2 blogs in this series I will be talking more about Confidence and what you can do to encourage it to grow and develop. Why not follow my blog and check out whether you can learn anything useful?

I am Susan Tibbett, a Chartered Psychologist and #Hypnotherapist working in private practice in #York. I can be reached via my website at: www.mindmakeoveruk.com



#Confidence – what can I do to get it? Part 3


If you are reading this blog then perhaps you are interested in developing your own confidence and or perhaps you feel that you are a really unconfident person? Well what if I was to tell you that you already have all the resources you need to allow that confidence to grow? I have worked with many people who tell me that they have no confidence, they have never been confident, or that they used to be confident and they have somehow lost it. All of these people have a very narrow focus. They are so busy finding evidence for their lack of confidence that they are ignoring evidence to the contrary.

It can be very helpful to turn this sort of thinking around by looking at what you have already achieved. For some of my clients this has been very difficult but all of them have managed to get themselves to my therapy room. I remind them that meeting a stranger and finding an unfamiliar place all take confidence on their part. Before that, they had the confidence the pick up the phone and call me or write me an email. All of these things take confidence. I wonder what you have achieved that takes a degree of confidence? Perhaps you can include large things like getting an education, or finding a job, or maintaining a relationship or raising a child. Perhaps you can include smaller things like doing something unfamiliar such as taking a different bus or visiting somewhere previously unknown. Perhaps you can include learning the skills which have enabled you to access this blog on-line.

Despite having the confidence to do all these sorts of things, some people still feel they lack confidence. Are you one of those people who feel you are inadequate and not as good as other people so you lack the confidence to do something? In my previous blog I talked about a young man I worked with who was unable to even think about giving a presentation at work without shaking and feeling sick. He was so nervous that he made himself physically ill. We set about finding evidence to build his confidence in this situation:

  • Had he completed all the education and training he needed to do his job well?
  • Did he have the experience he needed for doing the job well?
  • Had he thoroughly researched, prepared and planned his presentation?

We established that he had all the necessary knowledge and experience to successfully present his work to his colleagues. He had spent days planning and preparing his presentation content, slides and handouts. He had done the best he could with what was available to him. He was considered the expert in the team in his particular area and that was why he was the one asked to give the presentation. He knew more about the subject than anyone else in the room. His colleagues were there to learn from him, not to pick fault or judge him. Going through this evidence helped him to see that his feelings of inadequacy were unfounded. Removing this aspect of his self doubt gave the first boost to his confidence.

Over the next 3 blogs I will be talking more about Confidence and what you can do to encourage it to grow and develop. Why not follow my blog and check out whether you can learn anything useful?

I am Susan Tibbett, a Chartered Psychologist and #Hypnotherapist working in private practice in #York. I can be reached via my website at: www.mindmakeoveruk.com



#Confidence – what can I do to get it? Part 2


I have worked with many people seeking help to build their confidence. Sometimes they find a lack of confidence is impacting on their career progression, sometimes they are struggling to form personal relationships and sometimes they are feeling so socially anxious and shy that they are limiting their lives immeasurably. When we start to work together, most of these people tell me they want to behave with an assured assertiveness but are very concerned about coming across as arrogant and cocky when their confidence develops. I’m sure we have all experienced being in the company of people like this, arrogant people who hold court over others, and it is usually unpleasant.

Being confident does not mean you have to be arrogant, loud or annoying. People who behave in an arrogant way may appear confident on the outside but actually lack self-esteem on the inside – and therefore feel a constant need to present themselves as superior to others by bigging themselves up and putting other people down. Arrogance then, is rooted in insecurity and this type of person will blame others or circumstances if things do not work out as they expected, rather than blame themselves. You can see how this way of thinking and behaving can lead to strained relationships, and problems with long term professional success as there is a lack of ability to accept and learn from mistakes.

Truly confident people, on the other hand, are happy and content that their life is enough and don’t need to prove their value by measuring themselves against others. Confidence then is not a belief that you are always right or that you are unable to fail. It is about being willing to acknowledge you can be wrong but knowing that you are ok anyway. Confident people recognize their own strengths but are also able to recognize and praise the strengths and abilities of others, whereas arrogant people can only see their own and often make sure everyone else knows about them!

One of the first things I do when working with people to build confidence is to ask them what will be different when they have it. For example, one young man wanted to be able to stand up in front of his colleagues at work and give a presentation without physically shaking and feeling sick. He was very certain about what he didn’t want but hadn’t really thought about what he specifically wanted instead. His mind was so focused on the shaking and the nausea that this is what happened every time he even thought about giving the presentation. We started by getting a very clear, specific definition of the behaviour he wanted. “When I stand up to give the presentation at work I want to be able to stand still and feel calm inside so I look relaxed. I want to speak in a clear voice, slowly and steadily.” Contrast this with statements such as, “I want to be less nervous and I don’t want to shake. I don’t want to trip over my words when I’m speaking”. Can you see how the first statements are like giving your mind a particular plan to follow to guide your behaviour by telling it exactly what you want? The latter statements give no indication of what is wanted so your mind has no direction and flounders instead, before falling back on old unwanted habits.

If you want to start building your own confidence then this is a useful exercise. Spend some time formulating your own guidance statements and give your mind some clear direction. Once your mind knows where you are heading, it will be easier to develop the desired behaviour.

Over the next 4 blogs I will be talking more about Confidence and what you can do to encourage it to grow and develop. Why not follow my blog and check out whether you can learn anything useful?

I am Susan Tibbett, a Chartered Psychologist and #Hypnotherapist working in private practice in #York. I can be reached via my website at: www.mindmakeoveruk.com



#Confidence – what can I do to get it? Part 1


Sometimes it seems that every novel we read or movie we see has a hero or heroine brimming with #confidence. TV shows bombard us with confident presenters or protagonists who exude that sense of laid back, easy confidence. How many newspaper or magazine articles have you read that tell you how attractive it is to be confident! When you are truly confident, most things in life become easy and more enjoyable. Confidence allows us to pursue and reach our goals whether in our careers, our relationships, in sport or being satisfied with our lives generally – confidence helps us to achieve our full potential. So if this confidence is something we aspire to, how do we go about getting more of it?

Perhaps this all depends on your own understanding of what being confident means. Do you see it as an attitude, a personality trait you inherit at birth, or a set of behaviours? Take a minute to think about that. Which makes sense to you at the moment? What is your own definition of confidence – perhaps take a moment to write it down now so that you can compare it with the definition I am about to introduce. This is important because your beliefs about what confidence is, impact on the way you see yourself, and what you think you can or cannot do about getting more of it!

So, what did you come up with? Here is what I wrote down: I believe that confidence is about being fully comfortable with yourself wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing. It is based on an underlying belief that you have the necessary resources to successfully cope with the challenges life presents to you.

This sense of confidence is different to self-esteem, which is more about underlying beliefs of self-worth. I believe confidence is about how we interact with the external world whereas self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves internally.

Now we all accept that we are not experts at everything, but this has nothing to do with being or feeling confident – confident people can feel awkward or nervous in certain situations, or not very good at some things – it is just that they are at peace with the way they are in those situations! They are just completely comfortable with it. What if I was to tell you that confidence is not something you are born with or without, it is a set of behaviours that can be learned and developed with practice? Even if you have had your confidence shaken, you can learn to rebuild it and make it stronger and more resilient. You can approach novel situations or unfamiliar people knowing that whatever happens you will act confidently and cope well. A fear of failure stops us from doing so many things we wish we could do. We all feel nervous or anxious sometimes but a confident person doesn’t let that stop them. I hope you are beginning to see that the way you conceptualise confidence determines how open you are to believing that you can develop confident behaviour.

The way you think affects the way you feel and the way you behave. The more you learn to behave in a confident way, the more your confidence grows. When you allow yourself to try something new or different, the next time round you feel a little bit easier about trying it again. Even if things don’t go as well as you expected, you have given yourself the opportunity to learn something valuable – that taking the risk wasn’t the worst thing in the world – you tolerated the uncertainty and came through alive! – and that is useful, confidence building knowledge.

In this series of 6 blogs I will be talking more about Confidence and what you can do to encourage it to grow and develop. Why not follow my blog and check out whether you can learn anything useful?

I am Susan Tibbett, a Chartered Psychologist and #Hypnotherapist working in private practice in #York. I can be reached via my website at: www.mindmakeoveruk.com



Depression – why do I feel so bad? Part 6


The good news is you can learn to train your mind and shift out of the depressed brain state. A professional therapist will help you to stop worrying about unmet needs and learn to problem solve, forming strategies for change. This will probably include helping you to identify unhelpful thinking styles and challenging all or nothing, black and white thinking.

#Hypnotherapy is a great tool for helping you overcome your depressed mind state. If you are skeptical about this, remember it is your own powerful imagination that has created and is maintaining that depression. Doesn’t it make more sense to harness that imaginative power – the resource that you already have – and use it to help yourself feel better?

Because depressed people spend a vast amount of time dreaming rather than getting the restorative sleep they need, mornings tend to feel exhausting and are often the hardest part of the day. I help my clients to harness their imaginations and hypnotically plan for this so that it no longer seems as overwhelming. Understanding that once you are up and about your energy levels will recover as the day goes on, can help motivate you to get out of bed in the first place.

A skilled #hypnotherapist can also help you to visualise doing the things you used to enjoy and feel the pleasure it brings you. This makes it easier to motivate yourself to actually go out and do those things again for real. One of my clients used to love horse riding, and imagining riding her favourite horse along a beautiful, wild beach with the wind in her hair, re-experiencing that pleasure and joy, was enormously therapeutic. You can also hypnotically ‘rehearse’ responding to emotional patterns in a more constructive way. Using hypnotherapy you can imagine situations that used to be problematic and see yourself handling things well, solving practical problems or dealing more effectively with people and in situations you used to find difficult. This naturally boosts your confidence and reaffirms your sense of control. Doing this sets up new neural pathways in the brain that can be strengthened with practice. The more you follow a new way of reacting and behaving to old emotional triggers, the more the new behaviour becomes your new way of doing things – and a better habit is formed.

You know that old saying – ‘If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got’? In order to feel better, you need to change something. When I work with people with depression they often tell me how hard it is to get the energy to do anything, let alone change things. This is why the first step is to calm down the internal emotional arousal that maintains the depression by increasing dreaming and stopping much needed restorative sleep. #Self-hypnosis or listening to a #hypnotherapy recording is very helpful for allowing you to get the quality sleep you need.

What else can you do to begin that positive change? It is helpful to practice #mindfulness meditation, which teaches you how to live in the present moment, letting your thoughts come and go without reacting emotionally to them. When you are struggling with that depression you need to be kind to yourself and treat yourself with compassion. Switching your mind to more helpful thoughts, allowing your powerful imagination to let you experience being calm, kind and safe will soothe you. So here’s a piece of valuable Jedi wisdom: “Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon to Anakin, Star Wars Episode I.

If you wake up in the morning and think your day is going to be miserable, you will have a miserable day. If you wake up and focus on what a wonderful gift your life is, you will appreciate what you have and are able to do. We get what we focus on. So even though you may not feel like doing such mental exercises, you need to change something in order to stop feeling that depression. Why not have a go at retraining your mind? Why not build some new qualities and then decide if you want to use them? It is good to experiment with new ideas and discover helpful things. You have nothing to lose except the depression.

There are also some practical exercises you can do to help yourself and I use these ideas with my own clients. We are all different and some things will resonate better with you than others. It can be helpful to write things down. Instead of letting your thoughts take over and rattle round and round in your mind making you feel worse, put what you are thinking down on paper. This serves several purposes – it slows your thinking down (allowing your rational, thinking mind time to engage), it allows you to capture your thoughts so you can identify any unhelpful thinking styles and then challenge them, and it gives you the opportunity to stand back from the thoughts and gain a more helpful perspective.

You can also write down the things you are grateful for in your life. At first you may not recognize them, but I bet you have fresh water coming out of your taps and clothes on your back? When you focus on and appreciate what you have, it stimulates a part of your brain associated with positive, anti-depressant feelings. This focus helps to balance the system, which has been tipped in favour of depressing feelings. In the same way, rather than isolating yourself from those who love you, have a hug and allow the oxytocin, which is naturally released, to make you feel good.

Perhaps you still find it hard to do anything? Remember this is just that depression talking and the trick is to do something to change it. If you have ever experienced even a moment of happiness or joy in your life then you know you can enjoy things when you are not with the depression. So, make a deal with yourself to do your best to work against that depressed brain state. You are not the depression. When you start to think like this you will begin to feel better.

I hope that you have found these 6 blogs on #depression interesting reading. Perhaps you have learned something, challenged something, or thought about changing something. If you have a different perspective to offer then perhaps you could share your ideas too. If you have been inspired to seek help with depression, then there are many dedicated professionals out there waiting to help you.

I am Susan Tibbett, a Chartered Psychologist and #Hypnotherapist. I specialize in helping people overcome depression and anxiety and I work in #York. I can be reached via my website at: www.mindmakeoveruk.com/contact.html

In my next series of blogs you can read about building #confidence.