Mental health Q&A: How to build self confidence

Dr Hemant Mittal, neuro-psychiatrist, answers readers’ questions on Mental Health. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every Tuesday.
This week’s answers:

1. Myself Heena Sharma. I am 21 yrs old and pursuing MCA.I have lack of confidence and i am afraid of the phone . A strange kind of fear or hesitation occurs when a call comes from senior or unknown and teacher or sir/ma’am . Face to face i can talk anybody without any fear but on phone i feel very strange n not comfortable. why it is so?? Due to this fear I have lost many opportunities of good jobs and interviews. Actually on phone i lost my language fluency and my mind takes so much of time to make sentences and all .Sometimes i feel like that i forgot all my education n i am uneducated and very strange. Please help me. Thank you .

You have a high need to be in control of the situation.
When you are face to face with someone you can easily change your voice, your facial expressions to try control the expression.
Also you get to know where is the conversation going.
But in case of a telephone you are completely lost. As you don’t how the other person is judging you. And a fear sets inside you.
I would suggest:
a. before attending any important call you can do a simple relaxation exercise – 10 deep breath ins and breath outs.
b. visualisation that you will be successful in answering the call
c. if the problem is very persistent, you can visit your local psychiatrist and ask for an instant anti-anxiety medicine. Which is to be used only in cases of high stress. it is non-addictive, non-sedative. and only to be used as when required.

2. when i am tense at work, i get sudden panic attacks where i feel momentary palpitation. when i put my mind on calming down, im ok again. is this some sign of heart trouble?
No it doesnt seem a heart related issue. It’s more indicative of you having a very high sense of restlessness and anxiety which is manifested in the physical form through such an episode.
a. calming exercises like deep muscle relaxation, self-hypnosis are extremely important in such situations.
b. maintain a good diet and have regular exercises.
c. try positive affirmations technique

3. hello doc, im 28 and working in a good place. prob is im a lil short 4.8, so i feel very low and sad most of the time. pl help
Physical attributes are the first thing we use to compare ourselves with others. These can immediately lead to negativity.
Remember that many great personalities have used the power of their brain over their physical attributes.
a. Lal bahadhur shastri was prime minister of india, was hardly 5ft
b. Aamir Khan, one of india’s finnest actors is only 5ft 5
c. Shah Rukh Khan is only 5ft 6
d. Anna Hazare is only 5ft few inches.

Height doesn’t matter, what matters is your power to express yourself in an effective way.

4. my husband is very defensive all the time. whenever we have an argument, he talks as if im the only one who is wrong and as if im accusing him. how do i make him understand that i am trying to sort out issues
Seems that you and your husband have a “tug-of-war” relationship, where proving each others point becomes more important.
sometimes we subconsciously approach a situation different from the required results
a. sit with him and listen to him. let him pin point your mistakes and you pin point his mistakes
b. many males have a false “superiority complex” in comparison with their wives. They will keep trying to prove a point just for the sake of it. That also comes from their lack of understanding a women, and how to behave with them.
Sometimes they need to be told about it.
c. if things are really out of your control, then consult a professional counselor so that he/she can analyze your and your husbands personality and give you a more detailed approach on what incompatibilities and compatibilities you will have.

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