Are you unsure of yourself?
Do you want to take control, and look and feel more confident?
This easy guide will tell you in 5 simple steps some tricks of the trade to help convince other people (and yourself) that you’re confident, strong and capable!
- Act It! If you’re not feeling confident, your body language can give you away. So sit up straight, hold your head up high, slap on a smile, and look the person you’re talking to in the eye! Top Tip: If that makes you nervous, focus your gaze on the space between their eyebrows to give the illusion of direct eye contact!
2. Dress Up! You need clothing that makes you feel good and looks professional. If you’re in clothes in which you know you look good, it will help you feel it.
3. Talk The Talk! Concentrate on speaking confidently: keep a measured pace, an even tone, and don’t break the flow with lots of ‘um’s and ‘ah’s. Instead of those little interjections, leave a pause while you gather your next sentence – it gives greater emphasis on what you’ve just said and comes across 10x more confident and authoritative!
4. Walk The Walk! Actions speak louder than words, so take the plunge and be the one to take action! Be the one to offer a solution to a problem, be the one who volunteers for a project, or be the one who approaches a stranger at a networking event! If you do it often enough it will become second nature.
5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It! Put all these techniques into practice, and you’ll seen that if you can convince others that you’re confident and capable, you’ll start to believe it to, and then you really will be more confident!
With anxiety affecting up to 16% of the population at any one time, and most of us at one time or other in our lives, it’s important to realise that our gut reactions to anxious thoughts aren’t always the best things for us.
5 Things That Make Anxiety Worse
- Trying to stop the thoughts – Trying not to think about it will only draw attention to the thing that makes you anxious. Saying to yourself ‘don’t think about x’ will only bring ‘x’ to the forefront of your mind. Instead, try accepting and acknowledging your anxious thoughts, and try to be okay with their presence.
- Avoiding the things that make you anxious – If, for example, social situations make you anxious, it’s tempting to avoid them altogether, but that’s actually counterproductive. If you get into the habit of avoiding the things that make you anxious, it reinforces the idea that there’s something to be afraid of. It’s far better to face your fear and prove to yourself that your fears are unfounded – if you go to that party, nothing bad is going to happen!
- Unhealthy coping mechanisms – The phrase ‘Dutch Courage’ comes to mind here. If you’re nervous about something, it can be tempting to have a drink to steady your nerves. Other people might have a cigarette to calm themselves down. But regardless of the negative impact these have on our health, they can actually make your anxiety worse in the long run. If you use alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, etc., as a coping mechanism for your anxiety, you essentially create a psychological crutch which you will come to rely on – and you’ll be less able to cope with your anxiety without your crutch.
- Isolating yourself or moping – It’s tempting when we’re anxious to shut ourselves off from the rest of the world, but when we do that we’re also shutting ourselves off from the things that can help make us feel better. If you’re alone, you will focus on the things that are making you feel bad, but if you’re with friends or doing an activity, you have something else to focus your mind and energy on. Plus exercise and positive social interactions encourage the production of those chemicals in the brain that make you feel good, helping to overcome that anxiety chemically.
- Unnatural breathing – Panic attacks are often accompanied with hyperventilation or heavy breathing, but it’s a two way street. If you start to hyperventilate or breath heavily, you’ll panic more because you’ll start to think that you can’t breathe normally. Instead concentrate on taking steady, controlled breaths to try and return your breathing to normal. This will help slow your heart rate and calm you down.
These statistics are unsettling.
10% of children will experience a mental health problem, but it most cases, intervention comes much later than it should.
There are obvious speculations to be made about why this is – often children’s responses to mental health problems get dismissed as mere ‘naughtiness’ until the behavioural pattern becomes significant (or even dangerous) enough to warrant escalation by teachers or parents.
So What Are The Risk Factors?
- Long term illness
- Parents with a history of mental health problems, alcohol or substance abuse, or problems with the law
- The death of someone close to them
- Parents’ divorce or separation
- Being a victim of bullying
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Living in poverty
- Experiencing discrimination for their race, religion or sexuality
- Being a carer, or having other adult responsibilities
- Prolonged educational difficulties
This list is, of course, not exhaustive, and it is not to say that children who don’t experience these things don’t develop mental health problems.
What Are The Most Common Mental Health Problems in Children?
Children and young people can develop any of the same conditions that adults can, but there are some which have proved prevalent among children and young people. The following list contains some (though not all) of the most common, along with warning signs to look out for.
- Depression – as with adults, children with depression may withdraw from social activities, or experience difficulty concentrating in school (sometimes resulting in a dip in grades)
- Self-Harm – particularly common in teenagers, they may cut, scratch or burn themselves (often on the arms or legs)
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder – children may become reluctant to do particular activities, have difficulty concentrating, or become more fidgety or agitated
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – usually a response to a traumatic event or experience, which can be anything from a death in the family to abuse
- Eating Disorders – this can be purposely under-eating, over-eating, or purging. Look out for secrecy about food habits (either secret eating or hiding uneaten food), anxiety at meal times, or rapid weight loss or gain.
Thousands of university students across the country are preparing for their exams. It’s, understandably, a very stressful time, but what can students do to help keep on top of their stress an anxiety?
- Eat Well: A balanced diet keeps your body healthy, and is vital for you to perform at your best.
- Get Enough Sleep: You need a full night’s sleep (about 8 hours) for your brain to function properly.
- Learn to Recognise When You’re Stressed: If you can be aware of when your stress is starting to become a problem, you can take steps to control it before it gets out of hand.
- Don’t Compare Yourself to Others: Everyone is different – not only will everyone get different results, everyone studies differently as well. What other people are doing doesn’t matter. Focus instead on what’s best for you and doing your best.
- Exercise: Not only does exercise provide a welcome break from studying, it produces chemicals that help combat stress and leave you feeling positive.
6. Take Regular Breaks: Your brain can only focus for so long in one go. Take regular short breaks every 40 minutes or so, with longer breaks every few hours. Scheduling time where it’s ok to check social media (i.e. in your short breaks) will also make you less likely to procrastinate – bonus!
7. Don’t Get Drawn In To Exam Post-Mortem: Worrying about what’s already happened won’t change it. Focus on moving forward – think about what’s coming next rather than dwelling on the past.
8. Lay off the Caffeine: Stimulants such as caffeine can increase your heart rate and contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety.
9.Take Steps to Overcome Problems: Instead of panicking about something you don’t understand, ask for help! If you’re having problems, ask a friend or tutor to go through the course material with you. People would far rather see you succeed – help is there if you only ask!
10. Talk to Someone!: If you’re feeling stressed and struggling to cope, please do talk to someone – a friend, family member, or a counsellor. Most universities have student support service, and are well-equipped and experienced at helping students cope with exam stress.
That last point is perhaps the most important – it’s okay (and indeed, it’s the smart thing to do) to ask for help if you need it.
Good luck in your exams!
A new poll has indicated to Chrysalis Not For Profit that the number of UK employees who are reporting mental health issues at work is on the rise.
Work and stress
As Chrysalis Not For Profit has reported several times, there’s a clear link between work and stress. A survey of 2,000 people carried out by Mind, a UK-based health charity, showed work is the most stressful factor in the lives of 34% of UK employees. 19% admitted that they’ve taken a day off work due to stress, whilst the same number said they couldn’t tell their boss that they’re overly stressed.
A survey carried out by Mind, showed work is the most stressful factor in the lives of 34% of UK employees.