A Lesson in Self-Confidence from Winston Churchill

self-confidence

My wife and I went to the cinema recently to see the film “Darkest Hour”. The film tells the story of Winston Churchill during the early days of his time as Prime Minister of Britain during the Second World War.

It’s a fantastic film and I really recommend you go to see it if you haven’t already done so.

One of the things that stood out for me was the incredible courage and self-confidence shown by Churchill at this point during the war, when Britain’s fate in the war looked very uncertain. The German armies were marching across Western Europe defeating all before them and an invasion of Britain seemed inevitable after the imminent loss of the vast majority of the British army in Northern France.

Churchill had formed his war Cabinet of senior politicians and advisors to help direct the British war effort but from the very start it seemed that rather than supporting him, they opposed Churchill’s plans to evacuate the British army from France and begin the fightback against Germany.
Even the two most senior members of his own party, Chamberlain and Halifax, opposed his plans to fight and tried to persuade him to negotiate a peace treaty. Churchill was adamant that a peace treaty would be futile and the only course of action was to fight.

Where on earth did he find the self-confidence to stand up against such overwhelming pressure and lead Britain to eventual victory in the war?

No doubt there are many factors that contribute to self-confidence but one of the most important ones is having the help and support of people around you. In Churchill’s case the rock that he was able to lean on when he needed that support was his wife Clementine. It was Clementine who encouraged him to take on the role of Prime Minister and she was there to support and encourage him when the pressure to back down and negotiate a peace treaty would have been almost irresistible.

In Churchill’s own words “My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.” He knew how important it was to surround himself with supportive people!
None of us are ever likely to face a situation as perilous as Churchill but we all face challenges in our daily lives.

How do you feel when problems crop up? Do you feel confident in your own ability to deal with them or do you always have that nagging voice in your head which says “I can’t do this”.
Don’t worry if you do – we all experience this feeling known as self-doubt from time to time. So what can we do to relieve these feelings of self-doubt and build confidence in ourselves?
One of the first things you need to do is follow the example of Churchill in his Darkest Hour. You see one of the major causes of self-doubt is people who either fail to support you or who actually fuel your negative feelings.

Don’t listen to people who bring you down. They are like a poison for your mind and a drain on your energy.

Be careful of your friends. If you have friends who are frequently negative about things then start to politely distance yourself from them. Don’t allow their negativity to rub off on you.
Churchill’s closest allies in his war cabinet should have been his political colleagues, Chamberlain and Halifax, but they were constantly negative about his plans and tried to talk him out of what he believed in.

Churchill’s response was to distance himself from them and instead listen to supportive people such as the King and his wife. People who believed in him and encouraged him.
Be aware of friends who think they are doing you a favour by talking you out of doing things. This will subconsciously reinforce any thoughts you have that say you can’t do things.

Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you or reassure you when times get tough. Friends and family can be good sources of support but I know of people who find a supportive stranger such as a therapist or coach to be effective too.

Identify those people who support you, and nurture your relationships with them. They will be important for giving you strength and confidence when feeling down.
There are many ways to help improve your self-confidence but the first thing you should do is follow the example of Churchill by surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people and distancing yourself from those who are negative.

This will help you develop the confidence you need when faced with your own darkest hours.

 

 

How Eating A Healthy Diet Can Help Beat Stress

As most people know, eating a healthy diet is great for your body. It promotes good nutrition and gives you energy. But did you also know that it’s a great stress management technique?

According to experts, eating a diet of fruits and vegetables can improve your health and prolong life. In my own quest to get healthy many years ago, I decided to go on a diet. The foods I was eating made me feel a lot better, and as a result, reduced my stress. The food I had been eating up until that point was high in fat and cholesterol.

Foods that are high in cholesterol have a tendency to make you feel stale and lethargic. This is why it’s so important to eat these foods in moderation.

Eat slowly. When you eat slowly, you really get to experience what you are eating, and as a result, you feel more satisfied when you’re finished.

When you eat healthily, you feel better. You have more energy, and not surprisingly, you are happier. Healthy foods have the tendency to make you feel happy. And this would only seem natural. A healthy body is a happy body, right?

The important thing to remember when using diet as a stress management technique is that some foods are better than others. As a general rule, fruits and vegetables make you feel better than a bag of Doritos or a corn dog. Throw in a piece of baked salmon or skinless chicken, and have a recipe for a healthy meal.

When you eat junk food or food that is heavy in grease, you may feel guilty afterward. You know you’ve gone off your diet, if you were on one, and you just consumed a bunch of nasty substances, such as fat and cholesterol.

To relieve stress, consider eating a diet of fruits, vegetables and real food. Real foods are those that occur naturally in nature, such as berries or plants. Also, foods made from dairy products, such as cheese, are equally as healthy.

When you eat these types of foods, you will feel more energetic, and you won’t get hungry so quickly. Unhealthy snacks, like cookies, have very low nutritional content, so you get hungry more quickly afterward.

And of course, a lot of people suffer the inevitable remorse that often follows eating unhealthy food. This causes you to stress. When you eat healthily, you will find that you feel better overall.

Not only do you have more energy, but you feel good about yourself, because you’ve made healthy food choices.

In stress management, it’s critical to clear your mind of negative thoughts. By eating healthy foods, you do not have to feel guilty and stress out.

When combined with regular exercise, eating healthy can have tremendous benefits that will in turn improve your mood.

One other thing to remember is to eat until you’re full. Don’t eat until you’re overly full, even if you’re eating vegetables. Believe it or not, you really can have too much of a good thing!

Don’t go hungry, either. Going hungry has the tendency to make you grumpy, and will put unnecessary stress on you.

In addition to helping lower cholesterol and shed inches from your waistline, some foods can actually reduce your stress.

In fact, drinking more water, at least eight ounces a day, will help you feel full, so you won’t be tempted to snack.

Eat plenty of whole grains. Though many people say carbs make you gain weight, they are a great source of energy. Eaten in moderation, carbs help your body fight bacteria and help your brain stay healthy and alert.

If you’re looking for a low calorie meal that will make you feel relieve stress, try baking some chicken and steaming some broccoli. Cut a potato into slices and top with some cheese.

You will find as the evening goes on that you feel a lot more energetic and at peace with yourself. Be proud of yourself for eating healthily. A meal like this contains around 350 calories and stays with you for a long time.

Foods that boost your mood include the following:

• Fish
• Broccoli
• Peanuts

The important thing to remember when selecting a diet to reduce stress is that you should eat what makes you feel good. If a food makes you feel sluggish and stale, pass it over and opt for an apple.

When combined with exercise, you will find that a healthy diet will reduce your stress levels significantly.

Not only will you get your body in form, but you’re taking a step in the right direction to keeping stress to a minimum.
Now go out there, and grab yourself an apple. Your heart and mind will thank you for it!