Just as a person performs physical exercises to improve physical health, it may be necessary to do confidence building exercises to create a healthy self-image. It is important to understand that confidence building exercises are not about becoming perfect or even eliminating challenges and fears; most are more geared toward self-reliance and coping strategies. People with healthy self confidence may be more willing to go after what they want in their lives, rather than enforcing self-defeating strategies that impair progress and happiness.
Many confidence building exercises call for the use of a journal or diary for jotting down thoughts and performing tests. One common journal exercise requires the user to write down all of the things he likes and dislikes about himself. These lists can be a source of both comfort and inspiration; while the good list can remind a person who is struggling with personal negativity or a failure that there are many good traits to be proud of, the dislike list can serve as a checklist of things he or she wants to change and investigate. Another excellent set of confidence building exercises with a journal involve writing down positive things or compliments given by others, to refer to in fits of negativity.
Confidence building exercises often involve turning negative patterns into constructive ones. This is often a three step process of identifying a negative thought, getting to the root of the issue, then coming up with a constructive or positive replacement for the original thought. For instance, if a person thinks “I can't go to a yoga class,” it is important to then ask why this is the case. If the root of the problem is that he or she feels uncomfortable with how they look in yoga clothes, the second step of the exercise is to say “I'm ashamed to go to a yoga class, because I'm afraid I look fat.” The third step of this exercise is to replace the now-specific negative thought with a constructive one, such as, “I am not happy with how I look now, but that won't change unless I start exercising regularly, so I will go to the yoga class.”
Some confidence building exercises involve pre-visualization of an event that is making a person nervous or self-conscious. Interviews, auditions, and performances are all types of events that may cause anxiety and fear of failure. Try playing a fantasy out in which it is the the day after the event and it was a smashing success. Say things like “That was the day I gave the perfect interview,” or “That was the night I got my first standing ovation.” Believing that the event is already successful can actually sometimes trick the brain into dealing with challenges better.
There are many books, websites and therapists dedicated to helping people find workable confidence building exercises. Remember that improving confidence is an intensely personal process that will be different from person to person. Don't be afraid to pick and choose from different strategies or theories to find a combination of exercises that produces results.