“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
With the new year approaching in three months, it’s time to think about our New Year’s resolutions and self-improvement. Why not start with the betterment of your mental health. According to researchers, almost half of adults in the United States will experience a sense of self-doubt, anxiety or depression in their lifetime. Although easier said than done, self-doubt/anxiety isn’t something you should be upset about simply because it is so common. We all have self-doubt. The challenge is, some people think they don’t need to ever have it. Some people are using it as a tool to stop moving towards their dreams, instead of progressing towards their goals. With that said, here are four helpful ideas on how to kick yourself doubt to the curb so that you can still go after your dreams!
Distinguish between realistic and unrealistic self-doubt
Sometimes your self-doubt makes sense and other times its completely out of nowhere. This is what we call realistic and unrealistic self-doubt. Realistic self-doubt is when you’ve agreed to do more than you can reasonably take on in that moment. In contrast, unrealistic self-doubt is “not reasonable in light of your current skills and resources.” In order to distinguish between realistic and unrealistic self-doubt, ask yourself practical questions. Once you are able to ground yourself again will you then feel the weight of self-doubt be released from you.
Self-doubt is simply just a negative thought. The best way to re-route those thoughts is to reprogram your brain. The brain is a highly programmable organ. For example, if you often get self-doubt before a presentation in school or at work try re-programming your brain from thinking you can’t handle it to simply sharpening your presentation skills. Read a few books about it and practice at home in front of a mirror or with a friend. Then you’ll feel more confident and relaxed in situations where your negative thoughts try to take control. Recognizing negative thoughts and redirecting them to positive thoughts changes your brain over time. If done consistently, your brain will be re-wired to default to positive thinking. As cliché as it may sound, thinking positively allows for positive things to happen in your life, emotions included. Every time a thought of self-doubt pops into your head, redirect it immediately to something positive. Build this habit ruthlessly and over time, you’ll see a change in your thought pattern, I guarantee it!
Talk to someone about your feelings.
Thankfully, technology has made is so much easier to contact our closest friends and family. So, take advantage of FaceTime, and text messaging to talk through your situations with people who want the best for you. When you keep your thoughts inside, they can become distorted and not in tuned with reality. Saying those thoughts out loud can often help you to hear how exaggerated these thoughts have become. When you talk about those doubts with someone that is supportive you can get a change in perspective ultimately kicking those thoughts to the curb!
Blast some motivational music!
This is the time to listen to Lizzo “Truth Hurts“! Let someone else’s enthusiasm, motivation and constructive optimism flow over to you. Podcasts, videos, books, and movies with an optimistic perspective can help you overcome your self-doubts. These types of materials often provide practical solutions for dealing with life’s challenges, so you will feel empowered to act on those new positive thoughts! Remember, you are not alone. Self-doubts are most often just monsters in your head that your mind may use to keep you from making changes and to keep you within the comfort zone. Take a breather and remember all of the times in the past where you overcame self-doubt and felt good about it.