Master your emotions and learn how to cultivate confidence

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When it comes to managing self-doubt, fear or anxiety, the key is understanding that your emotions are nurtured, says equestrian mental skills coach Jane Pike. 

Many of us operate under the false belief that confidence comes about as a by-product of feeling a certain way (or no longer feeling a certain way), or as a consequence of favourable circumstances and events.

When you view emotions, especially emotional challenges, as a part of you rather than an experience you are having, it’s easy to get into a place where it feels like your thoughts and emotions are spiralling out of control and sucking all the joy out of riding.

In reality, confidence is a way of being – it’s a decision you recommit to every time you work with your horse. 

Ask yourself:

  • What do I need to feel confident today?

  • What does my horse need from me in order to feel confident?

  • How can I set us both up for success?

 7 keys to cultivating confidence

1.    Know that confidence is a way of being; you don’t experience it, you create it.

2.    Be proactive about investing in thoughts that empower you to be focused and feel positive.

3.    Learn to recognise and quickly stop disarming patterns in your mind that pull you down – you’ll become mentally stronger.

4.    Stop labelling yourself as a nervous/anxious/fearful/unconfident rider.

5.    Understand that just because you think something, it doesn’t mean it’s true.

6.    Learn to be aware of the internal conversations you have with yourself – apply some self-compassion and empathy.

7.    Practise everyday bravery – your confidence will grow and you’ll start to feel more in control of your emotions.

Find out more tips for cultivating confidence in the full article in issue 452, available here.

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