“Fake it till you make it” is a mantra we often tell ourselves when we’re trying to feel confident. And it can work for an hour or a day to plaster on a smile and pretend. If you truly want to be more confident every day, you have to work at it. Here’s how you can build and maintain a confident outlook on life:
Visualise the outcome you want
Take a moment to imagine yourself in the future – the future you want to happen. Build an image that makes you feel proud and happy. Keeping this positive vision in your mind as you pursue your goals helps you to stay focused and not give in to negative thoughts.
Affirmations are a powerful tool used by many successful people. An affirmation is a positive statement about yourself that you repeat, like a chant or mantra, inside your head or out loud. We believe the messages we tell ourselves, so proactively create a positive message that you can give yourself over and over again.
Question your inner critic
We’re often harshest on ourselves, telling ourselves horrible things we’d never say to our friends or family. Next time you berate yourself, question what you’re saying. Ask yourself, “what evidence do I have that I’m a failure?”, or “Does making one mistake really mean my entire life is over?” Learn to turn around your catastrophic thoughts.
Do you worry about pleasing other people and spend your time saying yes to things you don’t really want to do? Confident people create boundaries in their lives and are okay with saying, “no.” You do yourself the ultimate act of respect by demanding respect from others. Say what you mean and be okay with not pleasing everyone all the time.
Take others off a pedestal
People with low self-confidence often idolise other people and can’t see how they measure up. Constantly comparing yourself to others will leave you feeling bitter and resentful. Instead, celebrate what makes you amazing and what’s good in your life. Spend time helping other people and lifting your own confidence up.
Care for yourself
Treat yourself with the same kindness and respect you reserve for others. Keep yourself physically and mentally healthy by creating good exercise, diet, and sleep habits. Make an effort to look good and to choose activities and friends that challenge and excite you, and make you feel good.
Maintaining self-confidence is a skill you hone every day, but it does get easier with practice. What are you going to do today to improve your self-confidence?
Seven out of ten people experience stress or anxiety daily, according to a study by the American Psychological Association. It’s impossible to get rid of stress completely, because it’s an important part of what makes us human. A little bit of stress will help you study hard, mend difficult relationships and strive to achieve your goals.
If you’re feeling stressed all the time, you need some tools to help you manage – and one of the best ways to manage stress is through regular exercise.
How does exercise help with stress?
Exercise does more than just improve your health and make you better able to fight off illness – it’s also a natural stress reliever. When your body feels good, so does your mind. Exercise can:
Physical activity helps your body to pump oxygen around its systems. You get more oxygen to your brain, which helps with clear thinking and concentration. Exercise also feels great because it releases endorphins – neurotransmitters that give us all our happy, feel-good vibes. More endorphins = a happier, healthier mind.
When you exercise, you’re usually conducting repetitive activities that require focus and concentration. This takes your mind off whatever you’ve been stressed about, often allowing space for a solution to present itself.
What kind of exercise can you do?
Even five minutes of aerobic exercise is enough to unleash anti-stress benefits. Here are some ways you can add regular exercise to your life:
Other ways to relieve stress
Exercise is not the only thing you can do if you’re feeling stressed or anxious. We also recommend:
Do you exercise when you’re feeling stressed? Try it and see if it helps you relax.
Fat, ugly, scrawny, pimply, too tall, too short – even though everybody is different, we can sometimes feel as though our bodies aren’t perfect. When you start to believe your looks determine your value as a person, and you fixate on parts of your body you don’t like, then you might be experiencing body image issues.
If you’re not careful, body image issues can escalate into bigger problems, such as:
Why do I feel negative about my body?
54% of teenage girls and 41% of teenage guys are dissatisfied with their looks. A huge reason for this is because of the unrealistic expectations placed on them by the media. Anyone who doesn’t fit the popular idea of what “beauty” or “hotness” is can find themselves feeling inadequate and wishing they could change their looks.
It doesn’t help that fashion also reinforces these stereotypes – you can feel as though you have to dress a certain way to be attractive.
Your peers also play a big part in this – you might develop through puberty at a different rate to others, and they can call attention to it in a negative way. Being rejected by someone you’re into or being pressured to look a certain way can leave you feeling inadequate. You might be encouraged to make fun of the way other people look.
It’s hard to ignore things people say about you, especially if they come from friends, crushes, or family. Remember, you’re not defined by the way you look. Try to spend time with people that make you feel happy and confident, and avoid watching or reading media that encourages you to look a certain way.
Managing body issues and building healthy habits
If you think a friend is experiencing body issues, or you’re feeling bad about your own body, here’s what you can do to help:
Always focus on your positive qualities, and remember that everyone in the world is different – you don’t have to look a certain way to be happy or have an amazing life. Rock your individuality and celebrate your body!
Friends are one of the true pleasures in life. They help make school enjoyable and weekends adventurous. They listen to your problems and make you laugh. They celebrate when you do something awesome, and give you a shoulder when you need someone to lean on.
If you’ve moved to a new school or you’re struggling to make friends, here are some tips that can help.
Practice your conversation skills
Making friends starts with talking to people and finding someone you can connect with. Conversation skills improve the more you use them, so try to challenge yourself to speak with two people every single day. Think up topics beforehand if you like. It may seem awkward at first, but you’ll get better with time. Starting the conversation is the most difficult part, so once you master that, you’ll be sweet!
Listen more than you talk
Research shows that people love talking about themselves, so being the listener can be an important step. If you want to make friends, you’ve got to learn to ask lots of questions. Ask them about things they seem passionate about, or for advice on the best places or eat or new music to listen to. Practice good listening, by focusing on them, not fidgeting, making eye contact, and making it clear they can trust you by explicitly saying you’ll keep the conversation private.
Remember names and greet people
When you pass a new acquaintance in the halls or at your next event, say hi to them and use their name. A person’s brain lights up upon hearing their own name, and this makes them more likely to pay attention to you and remember your interaction in a positive way.
A good way to meet people with the potential to become friends is to join clubs, sports teams, youth groups, and other extracurricular activities that interest you. You already have a built-in topic of conversation and a shared interest.
Develop your confidence and inner strength
The more you work on improving your own confidence and being your own best friend, the more appealing you are as a friend prospect to others. People are attracted to those who are sure of themselves and have a positive outlook on life. Be yourself and feel good about it, and your new friends will follow.
Good friends are worth waiting for
With some people, you click immediately, but with others it can take time to develop trust and rapport in a friendship. Cut yourself some slack – you don’t have to become popular in a week just because it happens in movies. Good friendships are priceless, and they’re worth taking time to nurture and grow.
If you see someone bullying a friend or classmate, it can be difficult to speak up. It’s easier to turn away, or to watch and laugh so you aren’t next. But the person being bullied might be in need of a hero.
When you see bullying at school, in your social clubs, or on the sports field, here are some things you can do.
Why you should help someone being bullied
It takes a brave leader to step in and stand up for their beliefs. By making clear you don’t support the bullying, you show that you have values and integrity and you feel empathy with the victim. These are all values highly prized from leaders.
Also, bullies can drag down everyone around them and make school a scary place. By being part of efforts to stop bullying, you make your school better for everyone! Being called out on their behaviour may also help the bully change.
What to do if you see someone being bullied
Bullying is an insidious problem that has long-term repercussions for both victims and bullies. Take a stand and help stop bullies at your school or community.
If you'd like to seek further help and advice for bullying, feel free to give us a call on 0800 376 633 or free text us on 234.
We all know what bullying at school looks like, but what happens when bullies follow you home and into your own space through the internet? Online bullying happens over devices like mobile phones, computers, and tablets. Bullies might use texts, apps, social media sites, forums, or games.
If you’re being bullied online, this article will help you understand what that means and what you can do about it.
Is online bullying really a problem?
Yes, absolutely. It’s hard to get numbers on how many students experience online bullying because it happens out of school time and often goes unreported, but a 2016 survey showed three out of five women in their late teens have experienced cyber bullying. 14% of teachers have online bullying incidents reported to them at least once a week.
What is online bullying?
Most online bullying involves other people sending, posting, or sharing negative or false content about you online. It often involves sharing personal or private information about you with the goal of inciting others to bully or humiliate you.
Bullies use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share images or comments and incite others to join in the bullying. Many teens are also bullied over text messages on their phones, or over messaging services in social media or gaming platforms. You may go to school with your bullies, or they may be people from anywhere in the world who you don’t know in person.
Other cyberbullying methods include impersonating you or other people online, manipulating images to show false things about you, and sending abusive texts and emails.
Cyberbullying leaves you feeling humiliated, vulnerable, and lonely. Because the bullying follows you everywhere via your devices, it’s hard to escape and feel safe. If bullying posts go viral, you could find yourself being attacked by thousands of people. Personal information shared online by bullies can place you in dangerous situations or harm your ability to get a job or gain entry to university.
What can I do if I’m being bullied online?
If you or someone you know is experiencing online bullying, you should take these steps:
Keep yourself safe online
If you’re bullied or targeted online, it’s not your fault! However, you can take precautions to help limit the problem and ensure you aren’t as easy a target for scams, by:
Bullying is never okay, and if you or someone you know is experiencing bullying, you should speak up. But before you do, it’s important to understand if bullying is definitely going on, so it can be dealt with in the proper way.
A definition of bullying
According to Bullying Free NZ, bullying is defined as physical, verbal, or social behaviour that is deliberate, involves a misuse of power, is repeated/consistent, and can cause harm.
Bullying can happen to anyone, anywhere. It doesn’t just happen at school, people can also experience bullying at social events, sports clubs, at home, and online.
Look for these signs to determine if bullying is happening:
The interactions are not between equals. The bully has some kind of power in the relationship. They may be physically stronger, have more social status, or know a secret about their victim.
It’s a pattern of behaviour. Bullying isn’t one off-incidents or friends falling out. It’s a continued pattern of aggression that hurts and isolates the victim.
It’s intended to hurt. Friends will sometimes hassle each other in a good-natured way. If a friend’s hassling hurts you, you should be able to talk to them about it. They might not even realise they said something hurtful. In contrast, a bully’s intention is to hurt you.
It causes harm to the victim. That harm might be physical intimidation, isolation from friend groups, humiliation from online posts, or low self-esteem because of nasty rumours.
Bullies may choose to act this way because they see it as fun, they want people to be afraid of them, they want to fit in, they’re copying examples from whanau or friends, or their victim makes them feel uncomfortable or envious.
Not all verbal or physical aggression is bullying. For example, bullying isn’t one-off fights or events, or having a difference of opinion between friends or classmates. It’s also not a single act of social rejection, theft (although bullies can also be thieves), or using derogatory comments that offend without meaning to. None of these things are good either, but they may need a different approach to dealing with a bully.
If you or someone you know is a victim of bullying, you should talk to a teacher, parent, or someone you trust.
Perhaps a teacher or parent has informed you that you need to change your behaviour, or you feel bad about the way you’ve been treating someone else. If you want to change your behaviour, this article can help.
Do you know what bullying is?
Bullying is repeated and unwanted aggressive behaviour toward another person that reinforces a power imbalance. Bullying comes in many forms, most commonly physical, verbal, relational, vandalism, or cyberbullying.
Ask yourself these important questions to figure out if you’re a bully:
How can I stop being a bully?
If you realise you’ve been bullying someone, the first step is admitting to yourself what you’ve done is wrong. Congratulations on making it that far – many bullies don’t.
You should think about why you did what you did. What made you feel as though you wanted to be a bully? Perhaps there is something else going on in your life and you were taking out your anger or frustration on another person? See if you can discover the root cause, so you can understand your own behaviour and prevent it from happening again.
Talk to an adult you trust about your behaviour, and ask them for advice on what to do. You may also like to speak to a counsellor.
Apologise to the person you hurt. It takes a lot of courage to admit you’re wrong. Ask them if you can do anything to make up for your behaviour. You should also delete any hurtful posts, pictures, or comments you made online about them.
For more information about what to do if you’re a bully or are experiencing bullying, see the Bullying Free NZ website.
Bullying effects thousands of young people in New Zealand. If you’re experiencing it yourself, the most important thing you can do is talk about it and seek help. Here’s some helpful ways to navigate bullying so you can take steps towards resolving it.
Talk to an adult you trust: Schools, activities and other areas are supposed to be safe for everyone, but if adults don’t know there’s a problem, they can’t work out ways to solve it. Talk to someone with a position of authority who may be able to change the situation.
Keep a log of incidents and dates: This includes any verbal or physical altercations and screenshots / transcripts of cyberbullying. If the situation escalates this log will become important evidence.
Practice safety in numbers: If you are concerned that bullying may escalate into physical violence, try to stay close to a friend or group of friends, even making sure you don’t walk home or between classes alone. True friends can support you during this time and help you see that there’s more to life than the bullying.
Walk away: Bullies gain their pleasure from the attention they receive, so if you walk away and don’t engage with the situation, you rob them of what they want. In many cases this can help resolve the issue – the bully will get bored with trying to hurt you. When walking away, turn your back on them and hold your head high – your body language shows you’re not being messed with.
Find constructive ways to deal with anger: Reacting with anger or hurt to a bully only gives them what they want. It’s tough to hold in your anger when someone is hurting you (or a friend), but if you can’t easily walk away, try humour instead – they won’t expect that. Hold your anger and let it out later in other ways – maybe by going for a long run, or talking to a close friend.
Don’t get physical in return: No matter how a bully treats you, if you react with physical force or violence, you may escalate the situation and end up getting hurt or in trouble. You don’t need to use physical force to stand up for yourself – there are other ways to cope.
Make yourself feel good: You can’t control what your bully will do next, but you can live your life and enjoy it. Do more of the activities you enjoy, or that make you feel strong and confident. Many bullying victims enjoy learning a sport like martial arts that allows them to feel confident in their body even though they don’t intend to ever hurt anyone.
Speak up to others: If you see a bully attacking others, or you notice bullying behaviour around your school, speak up and remind bystanders and other students that it’s not okay. It’s hard to be the one speaking up – especially if the bullies are at the top of the social hierarchy – but nothing will change if everyone ignores the problem.
Celebrate your true friends: Often, bullying comes from people who were close to us or who we thought we could trust. Instead of dwelling on their betrayal, celebrate the people in your life who stand by you. Spend time with them and remind them what they mean to you.
Are you a victim of bullying? If you’re concerned about the behaviour of peers or adults in your life, it’s important to know how to define bullying. Once you understand how to identify bullying, you can take steps to stop it.
Bullying is repeated aggressive and hurtful behaviour that specifically targets a single individual. If you’re the victim of bullying, you may feel isolated, depressed, and ashamed. Bullying may come from peers in your class or on your sports team, but it often starts with friends or people in your friend circle.
Types of bullying
You’re being bullied if you experience any of these tactics on a regular basis:
If you’re being bullied, you can take these steps:
If you’re being bullied, you know that it can destroy your self-esteem and sense of safety. You may even believe that the bullying is your fault.
It’s not, and it’s important that you talk to someone you trust about what’s happening. Bullying should be addressed so it isn’t allowed to continue.