Hypnotherapy For Self-Confidence - Latest Good Zing Article:

Whatever your current levels of confidence, there is always room for improvement in at least some areas of your life. Confidence is one of those things that no matter how much we have of it, we know that there is the ability to grow further and to feel better in ourselves. 

Recently I was asked by the great guys at Good Zing, who provide trusted health information through their resources, to write a piece on how hypnotherapy can help you to increase your self-confidence. I'm delighted to say that this has now been published on their site and you can have a read using the link below.

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Do You Worry Too Much About What Others Think About Your Actions and Appearance?

Do you find yourself worrying too much about being judged by others? Certainly it's a common thing where issues of anxiety, social anxiety, low confidence or low self-esteem are concerned. 

You may worry about doing something embarrassing, saying the wrong thing, or making an idiot of yourself in front of others. Or perhaps you worry about your appearance and what people are thinking when they look at you, and you assume it's some sort of negative appraisal they are carrying out. Such anxious thoughts about being judged can stop you doing things you really want to do, can make you wish the ground would swallow you up if you are around others and can mean you dwell on events and feel bad afterwards.

And whilst all those thoughts and feelings seem very real to you, research shows that you will be overestimating the extent to which your actions and behaviours are noted by others. 

In the video below I explain more about this effect and the research showing that people tend to believe they stand out in the eyes of others more than they actually do.

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Why You Should Probably Worry Less About What Other People Think About You - The Research on Fear of Failure and Being Judged:

When I used to struggle with social anxiety and low self-esteem, one of my biggest fears was the fear of being judged by others.

I would worry incessantly about what other people thought about me as a person and what I said and did. In my teens I went through a stage where I was obsessed about my hair looking ok so that people wouldn't think I looked stupid. There were times in later years where I could be on the verge of an anxiety attack if I thought others might think I looked weird, or if there was a chance of messing up. I would massively overthink everything I was saying and doing to try and avoid being judged and I had a massive fear of failure because of the rejection and negative perceptions others may have.

And one of the biggest things that holds people back, as far as social anxiety and low self-esteem are concerned, is that fear of what other people might think. It can stop you doing things, or even attempting to do things. It can lead to anxiety and overthinking that others will notice you aren't good enough in some way. It can lead to worry about what people you know, or even those you don't know, might be thinking about you. And it can mean missing out or feeling bad because of the fear you might look bad to others in some way.

But are people really that focused on what you are saying and doing all the time? Do they really spend that much time paying attention to you rather than thinking about other things? Do you really need to worry about what other people think about you because of the fear of failure and being judged badly? 

If you worry about what others think about you and you fear failure then the research should provide you with some reassurance that your fears are probably far removed from the reality.

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Gratitude and Well-Being: How To Improve Your Well-Being and Self-Esteem:

In my last article I wrote all about the impact of gratitude on anxiety, depression and self-esteem (have a read here: The Impact of Gratitude on Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem and Well-being). The research I talked about there shows that gratitude is strongly related to several aspects of well-being and mental health. 

People who have a disposition to notice and appreciate positive aspects in their life and their world tend to be happier, more optimistic, have positive self-esteem and are more positive and they also experience less depression and anxiety symptoms. In fact, gratitude can be considered to offer some protection against depression and anxiety because you are able to encourage and be compassionate and reassuring towards yourself when things go wrong in life and when faced with challenges.

As the researchers concluded, "gratitude is also associated with an improved "relationship with the self," in the form of a more positive and compassionate way of treating ourselves when things go wrong in life, which partially explains why grateful people are also less depressed and anxious" (Petrocchi & Couyoumdjian (2015)).

As I mentioned in that last article, with so many mental health benefits of gratitude, it really does make sense to purposefully apply it in your life. You are more likely to feel happy, have positive self-esteem, a better sense of well-being and experience less anxiety and depression symptoms. 

And if you do want to benefit from these good things then I'll be covering some ways you can do so in this article.

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It's Peculiar People Day so celebrate your individual uniqueness!

Today is Peculiar People Day!! Now I bet you probably didn't know that...and nor did I until an e-mail mentioning it landed in my inbox. Yet it turns out that January 10th every year has indeed been assigned to be Peculiar People Day. So let's celebrate it!

Actually, when I saw the e-mail that mentioned it, I showed it to my wife and told her that they've finally created a day just for her!! I'm hilarious...

I've no idea where the idea came from or who decided that this day every year should be marked in celebration of the strange and unusual. The Days of the Year website describes it like this:

"Peculiar People Day is here to celebrate the leaders of the strange and unusual, those who refuse to succumb to the world’s idea of what is normal and sane. They challenge the status quo and utterly rebuke the concept that that which is out of the ordinary is bad. Whether they simply dress in their own style, or have very clear ideas of what is right and normal, Peculiar People Day is their opportunity to shine."

I'm not sure 'peculiar' is the word I'd use for those who do their own thing and express their own style and thoughts and ways of being. I think it's more about being unique and celebrating being who you are and who you choose to be.

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Self-Esteem: You Gotta Sing Your Own Special Song:

Recently I've been working with a lot of people who are seeking to boost their self-esteem because they believe they aren't good enough or worthy in some way. And of course, whenever they learned this or adopted this, it now affects their sense of self-worth, their belief in themselves and their perceptions of how others will view them and judge them. 

And like all patterns we run, the more you consciously or nonconsciously act, react and think in this way, the more habitual and automatic it can start to feel.

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Comparing Yourself To Others & Self-Esteem:

We've probably always done it, yet comparing yourself to others has hit boom time with the rise of social media. I like to think that, had he been alive today, Shakespeare would have changed his sonnet from 'shall I compare thee to a summer's day' to 'shall I compare how I feel and my own self-worth to your instagram and facebook profiles.'  

Now before anyone accuses me of blaming social media for leading us to compare ourselves with others, I'm not, and I should know it's been around longer because it's something I used to do incessantly before I'd ever heard of instagram, twitter, facebook and so on. There were times I could barely force myself out of the front door because of my anxiety-fuelled comparisons with others and worry about what they might think about me (and it was never something good).

Yet there's no denying that these days it's easier than ever to compare our own thoughts, feelings, perceptions and levels of self-esteem with the filtered, published results that someone chooses to portray online. We compare our inner self worth with someone else's carefully selected public profile. And if you are going through a hard time right now, then those images of smiley, happy people enjoying every moment of life can only make you feel a bit worse (after all, how come everyone else is so happy and you're not, right?).

It's something that comes up in my office, and I can reference a recent client where such a thing was adding to her feelings of low self-esteem.

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Is your inner critic keeping you anxious and stuck?

Are you your own best friend or our own worst enemy? Whether we realise it or not, all day long we are running a self-talk commentary in our heads of what is going on within us and around us. If you have learnt to be self-critical in your thoughts then you may spend your time telling yourself that you aren't good enough, or talking yourself out of doing things you want to do, or convincing yourself that you'll probably fail or make an idiot of yourself.

It's a bit like having a little devil on our shoulder all day long who delights in highlighting your perceived inadequacies, flaws or in naysaying any signs of confidence, hope and progression. 

When I used to struggle with anxiety, I'd told myself I wasn't good enough so many times that I'd stopped even noticing that I was doing it. It became so habitual that I just assumed that the stuff I was telling myself was fact and reality. I was sure that other people would think I was rubbish or boring or an idiot. I was always living on edge at some level in case I was 'found out' for being inadequate. I lived with a mind crammed full of inner criticism which projected my anxiety into each and every situation. I avoided things, I ducked out of things and I prayed no one would notice.

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Life Changing Hypnotherapy - Gaining Self Confidence

Do you ever struggle to interact with other people? I remember how, when I struggled with low self confidence and social anxiety, even the most straightforward of interactions would be an anxiety fuelled process full of potential minefields.

There were times when even standing in a queue in a corner shop would cause my anxiety levels to rise and I would be frantically rehearsing what I would say to the cashier over and over in my mind so I wouldn't mess it up and make an idiot of myself. And yes I did all those other things that socially anxious people do like avoiding people in the street, worrying about what other people thought about me, and spending waaaaayyyy too long thinking about what I was going to say rather than actually being present in the moment.   

And not only is all that worry mentally and physically draining, it also means missing out on doing things you want to do and having to endure rather than enjoy being around others.

So it's always a real delight to me when someone comes to me for help with self confidence and social anxiety when I can help them find a way to make the changes that mean they can happily achieve the things that they want to. 

Recently I worked with a lovely guy called Tom and you can read what he had to say after our sessions below.

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Last weekend I took my children to watch the latest Disney film called 'Zootropolis' at the cinema.

If you've never heard of it, Zootropolis is based around a city where animals of all shapes and sizes live side by side. From elephants and rhinos to mice and lemmings, the animals live in a city, performing every day job and roles (in a world where humans don't exist). My kids and us grown ups thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

So what has this to do with self esteem and being judged (or the fear of what other people think)?

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