Katy had always suffered from shyness and anxiety; at school, she would pray that the teacher would not ask her a question. Full of self-doubt and over sensitive. She had two children from different fathers, had been in abusive relationships and now was expecting her third. At last Katy had settled down but the problem hadn’t gone away. It was now severely affecting her job. Every customer drove fear and dread into her, and although qualified, she did not have the confidence to progress.
Antidepressants had not worked, so she thought she’d try a different route – Hypnotherapy.
At the first session, Katy felt her sleep had improved since listening to the CD. She subsequently scaled herself at a six because she felt pleased she was doing something proactive. Earlier that day she’d had an unexpected visitor, and she measured herself at a four as she still felt shy and couldn’t cope with surprises.
Changing her routine
Over the next week, her score went lower as she was fighting off a bug, though she did feel she was becoming less agitated. She recognised that she needed to be more sociable and make dates with her friends to see them. Two weeks in she admitted that part of the problem was her partner’s ex-wife. He had been trying to see his children, but their mother was making it difficult for him. Despite being remarried, she appeared jealous of his relationship with Katy.
She was worried about what other people thought, which prompted me to introduce her to one of the tools I use – the ring of confidence. The method is great for remembering how you feel when you do something you feel confident in doing, no matter how trivial. It could be making a cup of tea or riding your bike; the important thing is that you feel confident. Then you stand in an imaginary circle in the pose of Wonder Woman – yes, you read it correctly.
Amy Cuddy, in her book “presence”, shows us how our posture can affect our moods. We know that serotonin, for example, can be produced when we smile. When we stand like Wonder Woman, our cortisol levels drop. When that happens, we feel more relaxed, and our testosterone levels rise, making us feel more assertive. So in that pose thinking about something you feel good doing makes you feel confident.
Pracitising Wonder Woman
Then the smart part, you think about all the things you feel unconfident about and try and remember what you felt like when confident. Sounds complicated, but it does work, and it works best when you have two of you practising it together. Katy enjoyed this and later that week stood in the pose for 10 minutes in the toilet at work before going out and performing the most sophisticated hair cut yet.
Two weeks later we met again, and she scaled herself at an 8, she felt determined, wasn’t going to let other people undermine her. Her last session she was a nine and was spending more time realising that there are some things you can change and some things you can’t. The key to that was changing the way you thought about it.
She was ready now to have baby number 3, and whenever she felt her confidence slip, she did the wonder woman pose – in private of course.
Also see: Confidence issues