Tips for handling self-doubt

3 tips for self doubt

The most destructive person in our lives is often ourselves when we begin to question our talent, ability and, most importantly, our worthiness. Here are some tips on how to handle self-doubt the way that Chewbacca handles Stormtroopers…

  • Check yourself before you wreck yourself

    • Challenge your thoughts. Write down specifically what you doubt about yourself in a single sentence that begins with “I believe…”.

    • Once you’ve written it down clearly, take time to answer the following questions:

      • Have you always believed this? Why?

      • What is embarrassing about this belief?

      • What is the exact opposite way of thinking about this belief? How would this new belief be helpful?

  • Bust a move

    • Change your posture. When we are critical of ourselves or start having negative thoughts, our physiology changes from a powerful and elegant being-of-light into a hunched-over, husk of what you once were! Contracted and closed postures like being hunched over or with head in hands foster a sense of powerlessness.

      • Roll your shoulders back, elevate your skull to the ceiling and tuck you chin in, now you look like royalty. This is a successful posture which promotes confidence and positive thinking.

      • Stand up with hands on hips or hands in the air like a “V” – Amy Cuddy claims that these “power poses” reflect and communicate power in humans (think of legendary lead-singers or victorious boxers) and in animals (think territorial gorillas or courting peacocks). Studies indicate that these power poses actually boost testosterone and reduce cortisol which will help break free from destructive internal dialogue and encourage you to focus on doing what needs to be done!

  • Chew the fat

    • Verbalise the problem. Talk with someone you like about the things that are on your mind. Holding onto your negative thoughts and listening to you own “inner narrative” can send you into a downward spiral, whereas simply listening to another person’s perspective can reveal many positives that you may have overlooked. Sometimes, just verbalising a problem to someone else makes it seem less terrible - as the old saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem halved".

  • Stop the clock

    • Take time to appreciate where you are today. Remember that your choices so far have successfully got you where you are right now. Critical self-talk is often related to negative emotions (E.g. hurt, sadness, anger, fear, guilt) that are linked to past experiences which, despite providing valuable lessons, are now part of history. Feeling anxious about the future is common for all of us, but the future hasn’t happened yet, and it is full of exciting possibilities! The quote below articulates this very well.

The past is history; The future is a mystery; This moment is a gift; That is why this moment is called the present; Enjoy it!
— Alan Johnson