Life is filled with ups and downs and can sometimes throw us curveballs. This can lead to feelings of self-doubt and shake one’s confidence. The downs might seem never-ending and can be very difficult to navigate through. This can have such a lasting effect, that even when things improve, one still struggles with their confidence. Thankfully, there are ways to counter this! One example is doing things that make you smile.
Your general mood and your self-esteem are greatly correlated. Doing things that make you feel good often leads to feeling accomplished, productive, capable, and more ready for whatever life throws your way Therefore, if you do things that make you feel good, you increase your confidence level. When you do something that makes you smile, you are essentially creating positive emotions, thereby increasing positive feelings about yourself.
Steps to building positive emotions:
- Engage in pleasant events DAILY: A pleasant event is something you enjoy and that makes you smile. The other key factor is making time for this every day. You don’t just want to use this as a solution for when you are feeling down, only doing pleasant events to improve a current bad mood. If you regularly participate in pleasant events, it will keep your baseline mood up and lessen vulnerability to triggers of negativity. Make sure to designate at least 20 minutes of your day to this. If possible, it can also be helpful to put 15-20 minute increments of fun activities sporadically throughout your day.
- Be Mindful: Focus your attention on the activity and don’t multi-task. Doing multiple things at once takes away from the enjoyment and lessens the impact it can have on your mood. Try and keep your thoughts on the positive experiences, and shift back your thoughts if you find them wandering.
- Be unmindful of worries: Don’t be consumed by thoughts like when will the positive experience end, all the other things you have to do, or wondering if you deserve this happy moment. It can be very difficult to enjoy positive things if you let anxieties take over. Remember to go back to step two, and shift your thoughts if you find this happening.
- Change it up: Make sure not to just stick to the same 1 or 2 things, which can be monotonous and counterproductive to the overall goal of improving self-confidence. At least once a week, try something different and out of the box to keep things exciting and enjoyable.
This is definitely easier said than done. How can we account for potential roadblocks?
- Time: Scheduling can be difficult for many people. There might not seem like there is time for fun things due to everything else on one’s to do list. Therefore, put pleasant events in your schedule. If you keep a planner, add doing something that makes you smile as a daily task. Whether or not you have a concrete written schedule, it is helpful to allot a set time each day for a pleasant event. Don’t let feelings of “I have too much to do” get in the way. When those thoughts arise, remind yourself that it is important to make the time for things that make you smile, and you can ultimately be more productive if you do so. See below for more tips on the self-talk involved.
- Uncertainty of what to do: Deep down, you know what kinds of things you like to do. Create a list of all the things that you enjoy doing and that bring a smile to your face. Then you can pull from this list when you are blanking on ideas. If you are struggling to make the list, the internet is a great place to look. Use Google or your preferred search engine and use search terms like “fun things to do,” “things that make people smile,” etc. Pinterest can also be a great resource for ideas.
- Lack of motivation: It can be hard to find the energy and enthusiasm to make the time for the things that make you smile. Self-talk is really important here! Create a script that will encourage you to make the time. Read the script every morning when you wake up and at night before you go to bed. Additionally, if you find yourself in the moment struggling to engage in pleasant events, read the script to help motivate. Something like “It is important for me to make the time each day for pleasant events. This will help me be better able to carry out the tasks I have to do and will help me be in a better mood. Not making time for this can lead to burnout and thus, increase feelings of self-doubt and incompetency. In order to avoid that, it is important I make the time for pleasant events.”
Examples of pleasant events:
- Doing something creative (i.e. painting, drawing, needlepoint, etc.)
- Learning a new language
- Learning new skills
- Taking a walk
- Watching T.V.
- Going out to eat
- Playing video games
- Taking a shower or bath
- Watching funny videos
- Going for a drive
- Playing or watching Sports
- Being spontaneous
- Going to a show
- Going to a museum
- Building something
- Throwing a party
- Karate, Judo, or the like
- Listening to music
- Getting a manicure or pedicure
- Getting a haircut
- Wear shocking clothes or makeup
- Getting dressed up
- Getting a massage
- Doing a puzzle
- Interacting with animals
- Taking a bath or shower
- Horseback riding
- Board games
Remember, there is no right or wrong activity. It’s about finding what works for you!