Feeling Discouraged? Here’s How to Stay Grounded and Gain Confidence

We all face our fears and doubts at one point or another. Aversion only works for so long and then you’re back at square one. So how do you boost your mood, raise your confidence levels, and get things done when you feel like you’re having the absolute worst day imaginable?

Here are three spirit-lifting techniques that work for me every time:

Give yourself a pep talk.

As strange as talking to yourself may seem, doing so can take you out of your own head for a moment. Instead of panicking and stressing out when I’m balancing 20 timely tasks at once, I just take a deep breath and tell myself to focus. You’d be amazed at how far a “you can do this!” will go when you’re discouraged! And don’t worry about what co-workers will think if they walk in on your pep talk – there’s a fine line between having an extensive conversation with yourself and muttering a few words of encouragement.

Break from your norms and accomplish something unexpected.

Don’t mope when discouragement sets in. Instead, push yourself outside of your comfort zone and do something different. Fight the urge to crawl back into bed and give up! I don’t know about you, but I want to get out there and kick some ass whenever I hear that nagging voice tell me that I can’t accomplish something. Give your self-doubts the middle finger and channel your energy into a new project or task. Over time, you’ll learn to transform those negative aspects into positive ones and you’ll gradually boost your confidence as a result. Trust me, it works!

Understand that mistakes you make aren’t the end of the world.

Errors are in our nature and we won’t avoid making them no matter how hard we try. End of story. That doesn’t mean you should adopt an indifferent attitude about your job or the task at hand, but it means you shouldn’t freak out about every mistake! Most errors will eventually get fixed and blow over, so it’s unlikely that a catastrophe will damage your image beyond repair. If you screw up, then take a deep breath and do your best to right the wrong. Calmly tell yourself that your error isn’t the end of the world and use your newfound knowledge to create a better experience next time.

You don’t have to stress out and get down on yourself when things appear bleak. Whether you’re discouraged about starting your own business, finishing that blog post, completing that long-delayed project around the house, or whatever the issue may be, that feeling of helplessness probably isn’t inspiring you to take action. So, climb out of that rut and push yourself to get things done even more effectively than before! Your self esteem will thank you for it.

Which methods do you use to remain sane and obliterate your fears? Do you have any confidence-boosting tips?

Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. Sheโ€™s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. Jill writes for the QLP blog and assists with the companyโ€™s social media accounts. You can connect with Jill on Google+.


  1. JPorretto

    I like your advice about mistakes. I personally always try to take ownership of my mistakes. The more I try to cover them up, the more they linger in my mind. If I just say “Yup, that’s my bad” (To myself or to whoever it affects) I feel like I can move past them easier.

    As long as you learn from them, mistakes are some of the most valuable experiences in life. Great tip Jill!!

    • Jill Tooley

      Thanks, Jeff! I used to beat myself up over every mistake, but I’ve since learned to stop that. Mistakes are nothing more than opportunities for improvement…and believe me, I’ve had TONS of opportunities. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      There’s a band I like called Super Furry Animals, and they have a song called “It’s Not the End of the World?” It’s an incredibly calming song and I listen to it whenever I’m upset that something has gone horribly wrong. Kinda corny, I know, but it really does work! See for yourself: ๐Ÿ™‚

      • JPorretto

        Not bad, not bad. Whenever I get frustrated (Hello Road Rage) I turn to the Beatles. I find it impossible to be too angry when something like I Want To Hold Your Hand is playing.

  2. Joseph Giorgi

    I tend to find that inordinate amounts of caffeine help in boosting my productivity—and by extension, my confidence. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Seriously though, when I get frustrated about “finishing that blog post” or finalizing that latest project, I just power through it to the best of my ability while reminding myself to stop, relax, and take another look before giving said project my final stamp of approval.

    In other words, I think it’s best to just keep moving forward. Doubts and misgivings will likely subside and there will normally be future opportunities to correct (or at least learn from) mistakes. Of course, that’s just my two cents.

    • JPorretto

      I whole-heartedly agree. Keep moving forward, but with an eye towards the past. Now THAT’S progress!

  3. Doc

    Thank you so much, Jill!!!! This post turned my morning around a complete 180 degrees. It reminded me that when you get lemons, make lemonade.

    Another remedy I use is to put a pen/pencil horizontally in your mouth causing you to force out a smile. Studies have shown that this increases your happiness and tricks your mind into thinking you’re actually smiling. Before long, your mood will turn for the best and you’ll forget why you were initially upset.

    Thanks again Jill!

    • Jill Tooley

      Aw, you’re very welcome! Now I’m happy because I helped your morning improve. That means a lot to me! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’ve never heard of that pen/pencil trick, but I’ll have to try it sometime…

  4. Susan Oakes

    Good tips Jill. if ever I have the start of self doubt I go for a walk along the beach and usually what seemed a major problem is back in perspective.

    • Jill Tooley

      Thanks, Susan! I would love to go for a walk along the beach, but unfortunately that’s not really an option here in Chicagoland. I’d imagine that technique would top my list otherwise! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for commenting!

  5. Juliette

    Most excellent post. I’m the same way when that voice inside starts saying that I can’t do something. I can’t resist the challenge to then go forth and make sure I do it and then some. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My thing to help remind me that I can still do what seems impossible is to look at the photos I have plastered all over the wall of my desk and monitor from events and shows and all the Jayne hats I knit. Every single one of those things seemed impossible and daunting at some point but the photos prove that I did it (and am still doing it). They manage to remind me that failure is never an option and that I can make it happen no matter what.

    “Never give up! Never surrender!”

    (Yeah, I couldn’t resist the Galaxy Quest quote. Cause I’m a dork.)

    • Jill Tooley

      Oh my gosh, I was actually thisclose to using that quote in this post! Haha! That’s insane! It seems like you and I uncover new common interests every single day, and I LOVE that. Galaxy Quest is so underrated and it thrills me greatly to see someone else make a reference. Thank you for the insightful comments about my post – this one was definitely from my heart. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I totally forgot to show you the picture of my Dr. Seuss bird wearing the Jayne hat you knitted for me! Here he is, in all of his glory (feel free to steal this picture and use it for whatever):

      • Juliette

        Great minds think alike. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It is such a great movie (even for non-Star Trek fans). Now I’m thinking about writing a Galaxy Quest related post sometime in the next week or two. Huzzah for inspiration!

        I’m so running off with that photo! It’s adorable!

  6. Bret Bonnet

    I passed the fine line line between having an extensive conversation with yourself and muttering a few words of encouragement a LONG TIME ago.

    I think everyone in the office here would agree! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jill, after reading this post, are you sure you don’t live in a van down by the river and that your maden name really isn’t “Foley” (SNL/Chris Farley)?


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