Tips on becoming confident in your own skin

Tips on becoming confident in your own skin
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Let's discuss a topic a lot of men and women have problems dealing with, anxiety about our body image. 'Am I thin enough?' 'Is my booty curvy enough?' 'Do I look less manly in a pink shirt?' 'Do I look fat in that swimsuit?'

This week we have Jay Anderson, a registered psychologist and counsellor from  southwest Western Australia at the Southwest Wellbeing Centre.

Jay has worked in the Human Services field for about 20 years, of which the last 10 years have involved therapeutic work.  Jay's passion is "making a difference" and she works with adults as well as children.  She has a strong interest in nature, swimming, animals and the wellbeing of everyone!!.  You will find Jay at www.swwellbeing.com.au

Today she is  talking about the very important topic of becoming confident in your own skin. She has some great tips in store for us. Let's have a look!

By Jay Anderson

We are all individuals, with different personalities, different experiences, different lives and......different bodies. Surprise!? That may not be a surprise to you.......but for many people, being confident can be a big challenge and can impact significantly on their life.  Being confident and being confident with your body are two different things really.


Confidence 

Whether you are a man or a woman, "confidence" is sometimes a challenge.  To be "confident" means to show certainty in something. It is also about showing confidence in yourself or your abilities.  It may be a belief that you can do something well.

This "confidence" issue can be situation dependent.  Most people would feel comfortable, call it "confident" if they are with friends or family.  This could be confidence to speak, or confidence to say your mind. Perhaps it is confidence to ask a question or confidence to wear what you like.

Situations

The situations that many humans would have challenges with would be-
  • Meeting someone new
  • Introducing yourself or talking about yourself
  • Speaking in front of a group
  • Speaking in front of a very large audience
  • Wearing a bikini, exposing the woman's skin/waist.
  • Wearing bathers underwear style instead of shorts (for guys in Australia this is often termed "budgie smugglers" )
  • Asking a question in a group

Lack of confidence ≠ Anxiety

Now, in all of the above situations, this "confidence" or lack of confidence issue should not be confused with anxiety. Many people have anxiety, a specific condition that affects their body in certain circumstances. What I am referring to may involve anxiety, but it is not a "clinical diagnosis" of anxiety. However, it may likely involve some stress related features and behaviours that occur for many " normal" daily functioning people.

Your self-esteem

Being confident does relate to your self-esteem. That is, how you feel about your self. This is directly related to your life so far, your childhood experiences, and your adult memories. Some people have shy personalities or anxious personalities, they are not confident in many social situations. Many people who are functioning well in daily life may still have a challenge around being "confident" in certain situations,

Your mind is the key!

So, what's it all about?  Let's think about how our bodies work. In the field of psychology, how the brain operates is of great interest.  Much focus has been on assisting people with managing challenging situations. A large part of the challenge comes from our mind, and what we are thinking about.

It does, however, also relate to our experiences, and also to our memories.  For example, if as a child you spoke in front of your class and it was a positive experience, you would be more likely to feel comfortable to do this as an adult.
Even in a new situation, you would be able to use some strategies to calm your self and to get thru the challenge. 

However, if you had a challenging childhood, were teased and bullied or experienced abuse in your family environment, it is more likely that your self-esteem would be negatively impacted, and this is more likely to affect how you feel about yourself as well as your interpersonal relationships. 

If your memories of speaking in front of a group were traumatic or you experienced severe anxiety in new situations, then being "confident" would be more of a challenge for you.  So our experiences and our memories affect how we are and what we feel confident to do. 

Also, our physical body is going to respond and react in certain ways. We all know how it feels to be nervous, stressed, worried or fearful. For some people, the anxious response is a strong physiological reaction which affects their ability to function or to do certain things.  The physiology and mental thought processes interact together and  "boom" we feel worried, anxious or less confident. The key to getting through is a combination of self-awarenesses and cognitive strategies. Some people may also need some behavioural strategies, such as relaxation techniques to assist them

How to overcome this challenge?

So my "tips" for "being confident in your own skin" are- 


  • Be self-aware, notice your thoughts......
  • Notice how your body is... What you are feeling
  • Change your posture, hold your shoulders back, stand up straighter and smile

Then- 

Do something that will help your mind and your body
For example, you might need to reassure yourself, "I will be ok, I can get through this"
Or you might need something to help you be prepared, having notes and dot points with you.

Perhaps, if it's about people "seeing your body", then you may need to practice in a quiet place. Wear what you want to wear. Wear what you feel like you need to wear. You may need to go to a place where there is no-one who knows you-walking along a quiet beach in your bikini. You may also decide to walk along a crowded beach where you will blend in. Just remember this, everyone is different -we all have different challenges. That's ok, things can be different!

If you feel the situation is too challenging like you just can't do it, or you get a migraine or your stomach is so upset you spend significant time on the toilet, or you can't leave the house......then you might need some additional professional help. Talk to a counsellor or a Psychologist. Perhaps there are some experiences or memories that are impacting on you now, affecting your "confidence".

Remember that, everyone has difficulties sometimes. You will be able to make some progress. Share your thoughts with someone close to you, someone who will listen and could give some positive suggestions. Set SMART goals. Be brave, try it. Reward yourself. Enjoy life!

Have something important to share?? 

Are you a client of ours who has a story or wants to share something important with us which will help our community of females? Have a look at how you can submit your story here

Take the next step in being confident in your own skin!


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