I hope that you can help me. I have never been a very confident person and I have always found it very difficult to make new friends. I doubt myself a lot and feel very lonely.
I am a student and recently I have noticed that my worries are beginning to affect my work. I fear that this is how it will always be for me and that I will never be able to experience meaningful connections to people as I grow older. My family have always been supportive, but I am very embarrassed to talk to them about how I am feeling.
All of my family members are outspoken and loud. They have never experienced a lack of confidence and I don’t think that they could understand. Is it normal to feel like this? Are there any positive steps or changes that I can make?
Thank you in advance,
Firstly, please know that it is absolutely normal for you to feel this way. We all experience moments of loneliness and self-doubt, it is only human to do so. It is also only natural that you desire meaningful connections and friendships as you are entering a new phase in your adult life. It is great that you are actively seeking out positive changes and yes, there are plenty for you to try.
Feelings of isolation can prove challenging to overcome. There are numerous studies that link loneliness to both mental and physical health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety and dementia. Therefore, in order to take charge of your fears and doubts, it is essential that you are first able to prioritise and take care of yourself and your health.
– Do you have a good sleeping routine? Tiredness or fatigue makes everything seem a whole lot worse and will inevitably take its toll on your studying. Sleep is vital to ensure you are able to keep your worries under control.
-Are you making the best use of your time? Avoid pressurised situations if it is in your power to do so. Try to start assignments ahead of their deadlines. Make room for plenty of breaks. Meditation is also a wonderful way to feel calm and focused.
– Are you eating healthily? When you are feeling low, it is also more likely that you make the wrong diet and lifestyle choices. Be aware of the choices you are making. It truly can make all the difference.
– Do you exercise? Even gentle activities such as walking or yoga are wonderfully beneficial in combatting the daily ensues of stress and anxiety. Help others The key to building your self-confidence is to have patience with yourself as you try to branch out of your comfort zone. Commit to trying something new every day. Actions of kindness can be a great way to begin.
– Volunteering. Taking some time to help a local charity or somebody in need can help you to feel good whilst also giving you the chance to meet new people.
– One kind gesture a day. This need only take seconds. Try smiling and making eye contact or saying hello to someone passing by on the street. Trust me, it will do wonders for your confidence.
Finding activities, you enjoy can be a great first step in building your confidence. Are there any clubs you are able to join within or outside of the university? Spending time in a new environment and around new people will feel incredibly challenging at first, but it will enable you to confront your fears head on, whilst also granting you the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.
Do not give up on your desire to connect. Keep trying. Do not suffer alone. You mentioned that your family although supportive, may not be able to understand what you are going through. The truth is that they might surprise you. It is important to note that often, even the most confident of people suffer the biggest bouts of loneliness. You have nothing to feel embarrassed about and I would encourage you to open up to your most trusted family member.
Simply talking about your experiences can help you to feel less alone. Most universities will also have a well being service that you could contact, or at least be helpful in providing you with information about the support services local to your area.
Taking the time to make small efforts such as these each day are the first steps to you leading a more fulfilling life. Remember that every positive action you take is one step closer to the building of your inner confidence, to overcoming your doubts and to establishing deep and meaningful relationships.
Have courage Pierre. The strength that you seek, is already within you.
News on Sunday – My Weekly Advice Column
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