For people living with Alopecia Areata, confidence and self-esteem can be severely impacted by their condition. AAAF’s Support Ambassador extraordinaire Stef is here to help, with her five tips to increase confidence and self-esteem.
Pretend to be Wonder Woman
Did you know, pretending to be Wonder Woman can actually make you feel more powerful? Now, I’m not giving you permission to hit the streets in a leotard prepared to fight crime. Cue sighs of disappointment. Standing like Wonder Woman, with your feet shoulder width a part and your fists on your hips, actually changes your body chemistry so that you feel more confident. No wonder she kicked so much ass.
‘The Wonder Woman’ is one of five ‘Power Positions’ introduced by Amy Cuddy in her TedTalk, ‘your body language shapes who you are.’ Posing for just two minutes in one of these positions can lead to big changes in your life. When Dr Cuddy (is anyone have a House flashback?) and her team were researching this concept, they conducted an experiment where participants would pose in either a high or low power position and then go into a stressful job interview. At the end of the process, the interviewers, who had no idea which applicants did what pose, were asked who they would hire. They wanted the high power posers.
It seems that Amy Cuddy has stumbled upon a secret super power.
You really can fake it until you make it. The next time you feel like you need a bit of a confidence boost, try one of these positions. Maybe then you’ll feel like a super hero too.
Treat yourself like your best friend
So one of my friends called me up and was like, ‘Stef, I feel fat, useless and unattractive today.’ Do you know what I told her? ‘You are fat, useless and unattractive, so it’s no wonder you feel like that.’ Did I actually? No! Of course not.
When your friend is having a bad day you comfort them and remind them of all the reasons why they’re amazing. So instead of kicking yourself when you’re down, imagine what you’d say to a friend in the same situation.
Emotional First Aid
Sometimes we need to put ointment and bandages on our psychological wounds before they metastasize into something which oozes and smells. That’s basically the contention of Guy Winch’s book, ‘Emotional First Aid.’ Instead of me doing a sneaky copy and paste of the self-esteem section and then getting sued for plagiarism, I’ll share my favourite strategy. It’s kind of like putting a princess band-aid on a scraped knee. Seeing Snow White’s face smiling up at you just makes you feel better.
On one sheet of paper, write down all of your important achievements, attributes and qualities. I want you to write down at least 10 and before you tell me that’s too many, imagine the princess band-aid. Snow White believes in you. You got this. Inevitably our brains are going to be a huge killjoy and remind us of all the reasons why we suck. Write these things on another piece of paper. Choose one thing from the positive list and write a paragraph on why it’s important to you and what role you hope it will play in your life. Now for the really fun part. Take the piece of paper with all the negative things on it and bin it, shred it, burn it or turn it into a make shift basketball. You don’t need to focus on these things. Every couple of days, repeat this process until all the items have been checked off.
Understand that your thoughts aren’t reality
Erkhart Tolle once said, ‘life isn’t as serious as your mind makes it out to be.’ Our brains can be like that person who goes to a comedy festival and doesn’t laugh once. What we need to understand is that our thoughts aren’t always true or an accurate representation of reality. When something enters your head, it’s is not God whispering in your ear. You can tell it to eff off or just laugh at the ridiculousness of the thought. Or better yet, sing the unhelpful thought. It’s a lot harder to take something seriously when it’s being sung to the playschool theme song.
Do something you’ve been putting off for a while
When jobs I haven’t done start following me around like a line of little ducklings, I do the adult, mature thing- convince myself that if I ignore them long enough, they will eventually go away. They don’t. Worse still, I start berating myself for being lazy, unmotivated, unorganised etc every time I put them off another day. As time passes, the prospect of completing these tasks seems more and more awful, until you’d rather clean the bathroom with your tongue than complete that overdue assignment. Not really, but still. Give one of the ducklings you’ve been avoiding some love and I promise you’ll feel better.