Category Archives: Confidence

How to kick out self-doubt


That feeling of self-doubt?


What is the opposite feeling of confidence building?

Some would describe this to be a feeling of self-doubt.

I wondered if ‘self-doubt’ is an actual feeling.


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Self-doubt as a decision ‘not to try’.

How about if for a moment we looked at self-doubt as a reaction to the feeling of the uncertainty of what lies ahead.

Self-doubt then becomes the ‘habit’ we fall into out of familiarity. By not taking action, it represents a way to stay safe.

However, this can also lead to a lot of self-punishment by the thoughts and beliefs that grow about our inadequacy to act. We then create assumptions relating to our capabilities.

And yet when we give something ‘a-go’ by taking action it provides us with a chance to flourish and succeed or fail and learn for next time. Either of which can also gradually build confidence.

Catch 22 – Now I’m Curious!

Because I didn’t take action, I doubt my ability to take action, and this can lead to over-thinking the next time something similar comes up.

So maybe it’s the initial hesitation which leads to feelings of apprehension which result in self-doubt.

That feeling is triggered and reinforced the next time we make a decision not to try because we are using thoughts to over worry.

“Hang on a moment, what could go wrong? Am I ready for this? It doesn’t feel comfortable. I could be embarrassed because everyone will see I lack XYZ and think I’m a numpty.”

You get my drift.

We forget that thoughts are just thoughts and we give them the power.

Just like a knee-jerk reaction if we judge ourselves for having that adverse notion we are giving more power to the excuse for inaction.

How painful is that? Does it lead to a sense of resentment or build up a fear of the unknown?  How different would it be if you didn’t have to be scared?

What if instead, you chose to take just one tiny step at a time? Now, that leads to taking action and a feeling of self-achievement. (phew!)

Because the smallest actions added together builds confidence minimising self-doubt.

I wonder who first coined this idiom?

‘It’s easier said than done!’

What could be a mind-reasoned antidote?

 “The person in my head saying ‘you can’t’ doesn’t exist – so why would I listen?” Trevor Sylvester

The emotions we feel that lead to self-doubt. A therapeutic angle.

The brain as a pattern matching organism

To keep us safe the brain has evolved to store experiences that indicate when we could be moving towards pleasure or when we need to stay away from perceived pain.

And it does this by unconscious pattern matching through time and signalling a feeling that feeds our beliefs. These feelings are initiated within the body first and can trigger an automatic stress response known as fight, flight or freeze.  You may have heard of this.

Nature’s way of protecting us can make a person act or not act depending on the fear of a danger perceived.

For modern humans, the imperative for approval from others to fit in and do not suffer emotional hurt can be strong.  This equivalence for survival was recognised quickly by our ancestors.  Imagine the physical experience and what they learned from the wrath of a Sabre Tooth Tiger.  Or the longevity afforded by belonging to a tribe.

This alert translates into our modern-day experiences.

It’s been said that ‘evolutionary change is far slower than social change.’

For modern humans the unconscious imperative is to protect us by using feelings, thoughts and behaviours learned initially from birth and through childhood.

Miscalculations based on early learnings can hold us back.

The good news is that there is a way to resolve and update the brain in what has become faulty pattern matching.

Try out a different perspective

We’re all human, and that means its normal in life for all kinds of emotions to come up.

  • What if you could believe that those scary thoughts due to feelings of uncertainty have no basis in your present reality. In this moment.
  • What if you could learn to use ‘future’ projections as a way to become more prepared over time.  At a pace that’s right for you.

For example, the harrowing vision of an interview going wrong might transform into something much better.  All from making time to build skills in communication and interview techniques. Add on trying those new skills out in chosen environments and watch how your motivation improves.

  • Now, what one small action can you be taking to achieve that learning path as your first objective?
  • If you can treat the actual interview as a training ground, it could reveal ways to improve for the next time.

And you can feel the difference when your brain is trained to have a new focus for improvement.  Maybe there is less need for self-flagellation.

Intriguing huh?

Generating more confidence.

If you allow yourself to think that just like the rest of us it is possible to update old patterns of behaviour, then you can start by slowly introducing small action steps.

The more you do this, the more chance you have to diminish heightened emotion gradually.

Keeping in mind that there is also a natural element of anticipation when going for or trying out anything new.  That nervous feeling becomes like the state of curiosity and excitement.

Join me this time next week for some coaching tips which may help you to break free of the habit of self-doubt like:

  • The hesitation to act.
  • The inner critic that feeds the decision not to try.

Sign up by clicking here       To receive a free guided relaxation audio download.

“ Here’s to eliminating doubt, building your confidence and self-worth.”  Maria

Build your confidence and put doubt in its place through taking action.

kick out self-doubt

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Have you already tried other approaches or self-help tips and found that your mind is getting in the way of progress?

Click my image to make contact. Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy may be something you could consider to help you break the extremes of self-doubt.  Just part of the steps towards being able to appreciate and enjoy the many aspects of being you.

What a client said “I look at myself and what I have achieved – staying calm, not getting too stressed with situations, (at work) feeling more confident, speaking up in a large group or feeling more comfortable with leading my team meeting and realize that I have come a long way from where I was when I first met you. ” [Click to continue reading this review]

Interested in more of my blogs on confidence click here

Books and Kindle:

A classic self-help book how to turn doubt, fear, and indecision into confidence and action. Valued by many people today as it was on publication 20 years ago.  Susan Jefferey’s- click on: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway available on Amazon.

Gratitude on a winters day

Thinking about Gratitude:

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It’s those fleeting moments of joy in your day that can make all the difference to your day. How to train your brain to notice them more.

#gratitude #acts of kindness #happiness

Yesterday I was out in the freezing cold of London on my way to visit the dentist! It turns out I had an excellent toothy peg cleanse. (fab hygienist skills – thanks), with no pain involved. As a reward, I followed my appointment with a beautiful cup of hot java at the local organic food café. I recalled this particular quote which I added to a photo I snapped in my garden one summer.

I wondered have you ever found happiness where you least expected it?

Go on spoil yourself or someone else today. After all, it’s the simple actions that can bring the most joy to our self, or when we take special care in doing something for another.

It’s good to become more aware of fleeting moments of happiness because they all add up to the possibilities of feeling better.

Gratitude journal: A positive psychology technique.

What does gratitude mean to you? Some may say it’s looking for those things that have changed for the better in your life.

Whereas to appreciate could mean that even if something was frustrating while you were experiencing it, you could look back now in appreciation of what you learned.

So even if it’s hard to feel grateful, we can still appreciate an insight which adds to our resources for resilience.

When you reminisce, what are those things in life where you feel a sense of gratitude?

Broaden your perspective:

For example, have you thought of being grateful for eventually understanding a hard problem you have been trying to solve?

If there where people in your life you feel thankful for who would those people be?

Broaden the circle of gratitude:

Include actions from people you don’t know like the smile that the cashier at the supermarket gave you.

The difference that makes the difference to your day.

Consider the possibility that the more we recognise and appreciate the things in life, (our efforts no matter how small, the kindness of others), the more we get those things in our life.

It’s like a brain training exercise to notice even those fleeting moments of happiness and positivity.

Hmm here’s to the taste of a good cuppa coffee or tea after a dental-cleanse! ;-D

Making gratitude a pleasurable task:

Allowing your unconscious to collect three positive things to look back on at the end of each day can continue to give you a better experience in life.

And when you write them down you have a lovely collection of memories to boost you if there should be a grey, cold winter day.

You may be interested in a few tips from those who practice happiness in their daily live click to read an earlier blog on this.

What is gratitude and its role in positive psychology – definitions and tools

If you’re interested in increasing your knowledge on this topic take a peek at this site by clicking here


Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

There’s no time like the present. If there is something you’ve been meaning to get sorted to help you feel better, or to build confidence then take courage.  If you’d like some help to get there – click on my image to find my contact me page and drop me an email.  


Last call for stoptober quit smoking

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The End of The Year Is Nigh!!!

Stoptober quit-smoking

Stoptober a washout? Shake off this ‘naughty trickster’ and stop smoking.

As ‘Stoptober’ comes to an end, there is just a couple of months to go before CHRISTMAS and as quick as you can say ‘mistletoe,’ we break through into a NEW YEAR.

It can be effortless, or more challenging to stop smoking. Depending on what triggers have brought you back to the nicotine addiction in the past. However, it is also possible to put those triggers in the past where they belong and become future-proof free. With Christmas coming up you may find it helpful to have some extra tools for remaining a non-smoker up your sleeve too.

Tried hypnosis?

Hypnosis is known to be a natural and complementary alternative to stopping smoking because it works on the mind.

The Simmons Method?

What people learn using this method, alongside the elements of Cognitive Hypnotherapy deepens your understanding, breaking triggers and associations, giving you tools to help to banish cravings.

We’re looking at how we can retrain your brain to stay free of the smoking, while you get on with living your life and your body thanks you for how it performs because of how you respond.

Imagine being a non-smoker, or you may prefer to call yourself someone who used to smoke and no longer does.  Even if someone else is smoking around you, you’re not bothered because you’ve become indifferent to it.  That means you care less about that old smoke. Instead, you’re making choices towards more healthier options whatever they may be that’s personal to you.

Imagine preferring instead clean fresh air and healthier behaviours in resolving stressful situations.

Interested in learning more?

stoptober quit-smoking

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Drop me a line to set up a free no obligation telephone conversation.

Others have, and now they are more active because of improvements to their health.

And if finance is crucial to you then note that being smoke-free can have you laughing all the way to the bank! Given one client’s smoking habit she saved over £4000 year through breaking up with tobacco and who I call the nicotine trickster!

Get serious – get free…

Increase your chances for better health and longevity… and if it floats your boat then don’t forget your prosperity in the cash you’ll save… Ka-Ching!!!

You may find the following link interesting (click below to view):

Tobacco & Nicotine – Be prepared for a big surprise when you quit smoking.


Build your confidence – Fixed to Growth Mindset


When you build your confidence, it can mean changing your mindset from fixed beliefs about yourself while experimenting and trying out something new or developing those skills you already have.

Changing that self-talk to encourage a growing self-esteem.

Growth mindset

Growth mindset helps discover your potential

A fixed mindset very often is based on assumptions that we can’t change. That somehow our identity and a level of intelligence are fixed. “This is just the way I am.” I’ll always be like this, so there is no way for me to achieve this!”

As an alternative, cultivating a growth mindset can acknowledge that we may not be able to do everything to the same standard as someone we emulate, and that’s okay. But without having a go, we would never know our full potential. “I’ll try it out by taking small steps and practice every day at 7 am.” “I’ll join a class and learn the basics to see if this suits me.” “You never know who I might meet, let’s just have a go for fun.” “It may just lead to something amazing or unexpected, and that could mean better opportunities!” “So what if it doesn’t work out, I’ll be proud to say I had a go.”

Why not try thinking beyond a fixed mindset? Enjoying the journey can very often be more rewarding than crossing the finish line.

Transforming old fears and feelings

Imagine the difference if you were to be able to transform unhelpful fears into feelings of excitement When dipping those toes into a challenge to sense a difference within yourself that supports your moment to moment.  The excitement that comes from the perspective of learning and improvement, rather than fear of failure. We can be open to developing our potential and ultimately our capacity for fulfilment, meaning, and purpose in life.  Does this sound or feel’s too scary?  If it’s to do with your mind and limiting beliefs, that’s something we could begin to work on together.

Change your mindset:  build-your-confidence

 What if the beliefs we held about our abilities didn’t have to be set in concrete?
Build your confidence

Based on the work of Carole Dweck and the psychology of success and written by Maria Popova







Review snippets – Clients personal experiences in…

Regaining Confidence…

“I was unsure of what to expect…but Maria…completely understood where my confidence issues were and managed to help get my life and career back on track….[ Read in full]

Build your confidence for interviews and leading work team…

“I look at myself and what I have achieved – staying calm, not getting too stressed with situations, feeling more confident, speaking up in a large group or feeling more comfortable with leading my team…[Read in full]

Call to Action

Ready to make a difference? Schedule a conversation

Other blogs on change and confidence;

Confidence the power to change

Changes new ways of being

Rewire your thinking brain!

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Change the brain from the inside out

Change your perception change your thoughts

I once had a client who came to me believing that she couldn’t change her negative patterns of thinking and behaving.  She believed she had “wonky brain wiring.”  One of the most powerful things she learned was that the ‘beliefs’ that created her thoughts were not necessarily true.

Its really  possible to change the landscape of the brain in its ability to produce more positive, kind, authentic and supportive equations.

It starts with a subtle nudge towards a change in your perspective.

So that over time any unhelpful attitudes you may have learned begin to change. Those limiting beliefs that have been unique to you can transform into a healthier self esteem, self awareness and self confidence.

What difference would such a change bring to your life?

So rather than seeing the world as happening to you and responding accordingly, you shift towards a mindset where you can make different choices.  Building upon those resources you already have within you AND creating new ones.

This shift is called gaining an internal locus of control. It can break old patterns that your brain has been running due to, for example, outdated life scripts and well worn habits.

When we set our intention to make the decision to create change we can be freed to open up new perspectives.  That means creating changes in how we respond towards our self (what we can control) and those things external to us (or outside our control).

What’s not to like about the possibility for updating the way the brain works, if it means creating even better versions of the self?  So that irrespective of what happens in your day you feel a natural freedom to choose the meaning of it and how you respond to it.

The Brainy Science bit:

The brain is ‘plastic’  – or to be more accurate – patterns of thinking can change because of something called Neuro-plasticity within the brain.  (Try saying neuro-plasticity!)

Here’s an interesting snippet from article I came across recently on this point:

“The mainstream view in neuroscience and medicine today is that the living brain is actually “neuroplastic”—meaning that its “circuits” are constantly changing in response to what we actually do out in the world. As we think, perceive, form memories or learn new skills, the connections between brain cells also change and strengthen. Far from being hard-wired, the brain has circuits that very rapidly form, un-form and reform. This capacity is the foundation for the brain’s distinctive way of healing. ” Article Wall Street Journal : Our Amazingly Plastic brains.

*  Neuroplasticity: Any habit molds the very structure of your brain in ways that strengthen your proclivity for that habit.

Scientific article of brain plasticity…source

As a great guy once said,  “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”  Wayne Dyer.




Ocean of Thoughts

Illustration of blue sea underwater with air bubbles

Oceans of thought




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With your safety in mind.

Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so”… The Bard

Anxiety with constant worrying.

When a client came to me for help, he expressed how the anxiety was made worse by his experience of persistent negative thoughts.

He hoped that Cognitive Hypnotherapy could help him to break that cycle.

It made me wonder about the nature of thought and why it can have such a hold on us?

“If I don’t worry about it then it will get worse…”, I just can’t cope… “I’m afraid to make the wrong decision”…    because, because, because.

For many people who are suffering from anxiety, it can feel as if those unwanted thoughts are tumbling around like old clothes with no escape from a locked spin dryer.

* “Personal well-being provides an important insight into people’s thoughts and feelings about their quality of life.” 

The National Office of Statistics details research in the understanding of how different age groups rate their well-being differently.

By influencing policy makers, it’s hoped to help those specific age groups most in need.

Who or what holds power to release independent anxious thinking?

– what do you need to believe to let the negative consequences you’re imagining, go?

The thing is that the unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what is in your reality and what you believe for your future as a consequence of an anxious thought.

“If I screw this up again I’ll lose my job and then…” fill in the imaginary blank”.

These internal emotions bring to mind a set of rules based on fear, not only are they genuinely felt they can leave people in a quagmire of rumination.   Such thoughts have a minimal basis in present reality, but they can disturb sleep, mess with your appetite and cloud any clarity of thought.

The clarity you need which, allows you to be creative because a peaceful mind can very often surprise us with levels of perception and the ability to suss out progressive steps.

Get real!

The thing is if you woke in the morning with the thought “ I don’t want to be thinking that negative thought today” –  oh-oh to late you’ve already considered it.

You see, what we bring to mind, comes to mind and in order not to bring it up in your mind – the brain will hunt for that very thing.  (Here’s an experiment; ’don’t think of a blue tree’ – what just happened?).

Broadly speaking thoughts can be ‘bound’ (literally) by our perception of reality which for some becomes limited by our past experiences.  Once we step outside our ‘safety zone’  the mind may seek to protect us.

So what if we could reduce levels of anxiety by enjoying the thrill of becoming better versions of ourselves.

Lifting the curtain on the magic trick

The thought is an illusion especially if it hasn’t happened yet. Sometimes we need to learn how to let that thought go, and this can begin through acceptance and action of a different kind.

When a client felt burdened by worries at work then he became caught in a cycle of anxiety and depression, he lost sleep, increased his daily amount of alcohol and couldn’t think clearly.

He saw his life as swirling down the plughole while he imagined losing his family.  By looking for the solution to his ‘problems’ through fear it built up his anxiety.

He found that learning things like self-hypnosis and relaxation, plus experiencing other therapeutic techniques, got him to the point where he could switch his focus. Let unhelpful thinking go, and be open to better solutions.

He felt enabled to do more to strengthen his and his families emotional needs.

The Mind/Body connection

For him that meant also getting fitter, healthier, finding a creative hobby and spending quality time in having fun with his wife and children.

This helped him to step out of the old unhelpful cycle. By seeking a progressive way to deal with ‘real’ issues he stepped towards ‘real’ solutions in his present. He even considered a change in his career.

To his surprise, ‘all was not lost ‘just because he decided to relegate any unhelpful thoughts.

He turned more towards growth, and with patience, he learned that

‘thought is harmless unless you believe it’,  it was the attachment to the negative thought that caused his suffering in the first place.”

Gradually realising how a more balanced outlook can lead to improvements in confidence and self-esteem in many delightful ways.

If you were offered a golden key, with the opportunity to release that old pattern of thinking by letting it go, choosing a fresh perspective, would you take it?

Ready to take that first step?

Anxiety worry everything

Contact Maria Cognitive Hypnotherapy

Source: GB Office of National Statistics February 2016 – article source. An analysis of personal well-being data. Search for –

Measuring national well-being ‘At what age is personal well-being at its highest’ Michael Steel

UK study: Collected over a period of 3 years, 2012-1015 with a sample of over 300,000 adults.

Confidence…the power to change

“If you were out in the future doing what you want to do, what would you need to believe that you don’t believe now?”

The power to change

One step at a time

Plenty of people who are affected by ‘lack of confidence’ get the help they need to conquer their issue through hypnotherapy, You too can find relief from that feeling,  by seeking to gain more understanding and by learning techniques to create change.  By contacting me at my East London practice we can work together to help you turn things around.  You could get back the control to reduce those old feelings and use your liberated confidence as a vehicle to drive your aspirations by making them real.

What is confidence to you?

It’s said that confidence is how we view our own capacity to do something. Low confidence is when we view our abilities to accomplish or create skills as being minimal. When we lose the ability to feel that sense of self-assurance we can find it hard to move forward with our lives.

Interestingly, self confidence is similar but not the same as self respect which relates to our view of ourselves.  Some clients with low self-confidence report that the core of their problem is a sense of ‘not being good enough’.  So when it comes to ‘going for it’  they remain stuck because they feel that by stepping out of their comfort zone the risk to their self-esteem is too high.  Does that sound familiar?

*** Tips that help people feel more confident coming up soon…

Everybody is different and the reasons for a lack of confidence  can be really simple or fairly complex.

Now nobody is 100% confident all of the time, but all of us are stronger than we think we are, it can be the mind that gets in the way of the expression of our strength.

Cognitive hypnotherapy is an effective way to find the root cause of your confidence issues and help you to deal with them efficiently.

Why people need to be self assured?

So many aspects of our lives are impacted by self confidence. It has an effect on how we manage speaking in public or even just how we talk to friends or colleagues one to one.

We need this ability to allow us to take possibilities we may otherwise disregard.We need to feel competent and able to progress in everyday life.

If you find yourself suffering from low confidence you may experience shyness in public, you might find yourself feeling self conscious and self aware socially. You may be turning down job offers because of a resounding belief you are not able to do the job.

Exactly why do people have confidence issues?

Low self confidence can be generated by one particular trauma that influenced how you view your talents. Maybe it came from a childhood full of difficulty and negativity from your peers. In some cases people can discover their confidence is damaged having not realised it was a problem.

A few negative events can really affect us significantly – maybe a redundancy has left you more tormented by rejected job applications than you formerly would’ve been.

Sometimes its easy to overlook how much events have affected us negatively and how those effects may be preventing us from moving forward. Sometimes, the reason is far less traumatic and simply a case of the person not recognising their skills and abilities or not knowing how to apply these skills and capabilities effectively.

Some signs you could have low self confidence are:

Constant self doubt, avoidance of certain situations for fear of feeling uncomfortable, difficulties speaking confidently, dismissing your own needs or not identifying what they are or disregarding or avoiding beneficial opportunities you would like to seize, but find something is blocking you.

Can it be helped?

It most definitely can. The first step is finding out what created your low self confidence in the beginning. Because in Cognitive Hypnotherapy we look at the issues that have triggered your problem yet focus much more on those steps that effectively move you forward towards your solution.

Using hypnosis and other therapeutic tools tailored to your needs, you will be supported as you move towards those changes you want in the way you are thinking, feeling or behaving.

There are lots of options for those living with low confidence, and it’s upsetting to think that its only your mind blocking you from personal growth in life. But you can get help and by identifying this now, and by doing something now,  it could prove very empowering!

When its only your own mind that is the obstacle, you have a chance to turn that around and move forward, changing into the person you would like to be.

Tips that help us feel more confident:

“We need a sense of self-confidence to drive our aspirations and make them real…”

1. Keeping up with the Jones?

Self-confident people don’t have to be like everybody else – they recognise that  it can be exhausting trying to be seen ‘as-like’ other people around them. In fact confidence means feeling more comfortable with being who you are.

By learning to accept your own uniqueness – relaxing with your own way of being and recognising that being different doesn’t mean you have to doubt your decisions, you can begin to discover your personal strengths.

2. Recognising your personal strengths and confidence

Speaking of which – focusing on your personal strengths regularly, no matter how big or small, is a great way to remind yourself that you have positive attributes. One client was admired by her family and colleges because of her home made chocolate brownies, another could play any string instrument.  Or it could be the ability to drive, ride a bike, swim, roller skate, make people laugh, be methodical, or show empathy  – whatever it may be there will be something you can do which others maybe even millions of other people can’t do.

3. Emotional intelligence and confidence

Handling uncertainty – None of us can know for sure that something will go well, by taking the stance  ‘Whatever happens I’ll be okay!’ we grow an emotional intelligence which is bigger than limiting ourselves through a categorisation of just either success or failure.

4. Prepare to fail and stay on-top

Being self-confident means being able to relax comfortably with the certainty that you can handle uncertainty  AND even if this means that we sometimes fail, seeing this as a learning process we can utilise when we try again later.

Did you know that Edison failed 10,000 times before he was successful at producing a working light bulb? Thankfully he didn’t stop after his first attempt!   Quote: “I’ve not failed I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work!”  Moral?  Never doubt – self confident people can smile a little and not take themselves too seriously by learning to manage less successful attempts and not damage their self-esteem.

If you really want to get to grips with your specific issue please contact me for an initial chat and to set up and appointment – you know “you deserve to be the best you can be.”

To your good health,