What is the relationship between confidence and anxiety?

Most people feel awkward at times, however, those who are experiencing overwhelming anxiety tend to also suffer from chronic low levels of confidence. Anxiety performs tricks on how we view the world: it twisted what is actually occurring into what it wants you to think is happening (Hope and Wellness, 2019). People who are experiencing anxiety and low self-esteem tend to be on the lookout for any signs that might translate into inadequacy. And even if there are not any signs, a person with anxiety might imagine that there are. The more a person believes that they are perceived in a negative way, the more these labels tend to stay with the person. They start to believe that is who they really are, and, in terms of a self-fulfilling prophecy, the negative behaviours they feared may actually become reinforced by these beliefs (Hope and Wellness (2019).

Another factor involved in the relationship between anxiety and confidence is that when a person is experiencing anxiety, they tend to overestimate the hold that anxiety has over their lives and underestimate the coping skills that they have previously effectively used.

Jain (2016) believes that confidence is the exact opposite of anxiety, so by increasing our confidence, we can actively reduce our anxiety levels. So how do we take some steps towards increasing our confidence? Firstly, we need to stop listening to our inner critic (Hope and Wellness (2019). Carefully consider the unhelpful things that your inner critic is telling you and then evaluate these thoughts – are they actually true? Conversely, think about a more compassionate response to these criticisms.

A further way to boost confidence is to stop comparing yourself to others. No one has had your exact life experiences up until this point, so it makes no sense to compare yourself with other people. Instead, set goals for what you want to accomplish in life (Hope and Wellness, 2019).

A small step to increasing confidence is to recognise and congratulate yourself on five things that you have accomplished during the day. This is a wonderful way to end the day before going to sleep. Once this becomes an ingrained habit, you could perhaps increase this list to ten things that you have achieved every day.

If you are struggling with anxious feelings, close your eyes and imagine a time when you felt confident and powerful, or if you can’t immediately recall a time, imagine the most confident person you know. Imagine how you would feel and how you would stand. How would this confident you or the confident other person behave?

Finally, a wonderful way to build confidence is to practice altruism. This may be contributing to your community or practicing random acts of kindness (Hope and Wellness, 2019). We feel good about ourselves when we do meaningful actions to better the lives of others.

How do you build confidence in your life?


Hope and Wellness (2019). Destroy your anxiety by building up your confidence.

Jain, R. (2016). What is the opposite of anxiety?

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