How to get out of your head and feel more confident
People who lack confidence, and women in particular, are often living their life inside their own heads. This means that a lot of the things they believe is happening in their world, isn't really.
A client, we'll call her Sue, was an expert at creating her own environment and as a result had lost confidence socially, at work and in relationships.
If she was out socially she'd be so focused on what other people were thinking about her and how negatively they were judging her, that she'd become tongue-tied and unable to have a conversation.
At work she would stress about what would happen if she made a mistake or didn't get work finished on time. In her head this would lead to disapproval, upset and eventually losing her job. Even though she'd had good feedback from bosses, in her mind she was just a small step from unemployment.
Sue has had relationships but because they failed she worries that she won't find anyone. When she starts a new relationship she constantly makes assumptions about what her boyfriend is thinking or what his actions might mean. This causes her to waste a lot of time and energy and not to relax and be herself.
Together with her coach, Sue worked on being aware of when she is creating her own world and making assumptions. From this she could then start to challenge whether her thoughts had any evidence or logic or whether they were actually just her negative thinking.
Three other tips that helped Sue are:
- When you meet people stay focused on them rather than being absorbed in your own head. This means actively listening and really taking notice of what the other person is saying. Not being distracted by thinking about what you're going to say or whether what you just said sounds stupid. Active listening also has the benefit of making the other person feel you're interested in them and builds rapport.
- Accept that you can't know what other people are thinking unless they tell you. So be comfortable with the unknown and choose to believe that most people make positive judgements.
- Practice mindfulness, learning how to stay present in the moment rather than reliving the past or worrying about the future allows you to get out of your head.
Over time Sue has learnt how to distract, challenge or not listen to herself when these thought storms start. This has enabled her to trust and believe in herself more and her increased confidence means she enjoys life far more.