Deborah Smith is a positive psychologist specialising in the science of happiness and mindfulness.
She has more than 25 years’ experience as a psychotherapist and is here to help, so email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m happy to be losing weight but have low self-esteem and feel like I’m being judged, especially when I’m at the gym. How can I relax around others? Elly Rigden, Colchester
Being relaxed and open to other people can be hard if you feel they’re making assumptions about you and you’re out of your comfort zone, such as the gym. But this is often due to how you feel about yourself, rather than anyone actually judging you. I often find people who feel this way are critiquing themselves harshly. If this is the case, work on turning negative thoughts into positive observations. For example, ‘I’m never going to get fit’, can simply become, ‘I’m exercising, so I will get fit’. Also, try this simple confidence boosting exercise before you head out. Stand in a Wonder Woman pose – legs slightly apart, hands on hips, shoulders back – and hold it for two minutes. Studies suggest practising this ‘power pose’ before entering a stressful situation, could lower cortisol (the stress hormone) and increase testosterone, to help you feel more confident and capable.
THREE WAYS TO GO TO SLEEP HAPPY
HAVE A DIGITAL DETOX
At least 30 minutes before bed, switch off all digital devices, to help your mind wind down.
After getting into bed, reflect on something positive you achieved that day. Let a feeling of pride grow within you – this will help you end the day feeling good about yourself.
Before going to sleep, think of three small things you feel grateful for.
Mantra: Life can only be understood backwards
BUT IT MUST BE LIVED FORWARDS…‘ WROTE DANISH PHILOSOPHER SØREN KIERKEGAARD. MEANNING, THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT IS THAT IT CAN REVEAL HOW SOME NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES BRING ABOUT UNEXPECTED POSITIVES