Helping Shy Children To Become Confident

As an NLP4Kids Practitioner, one of the most rewarding aspects of my work is helping a child to overcome what is often perceived as “shyness”, and in the process enabling them to discover and connect with the confidence and happiness within themselves.

In reality I have found that shyness in a child is actually another way of saying that they lack confidence in themselves (whether it be socially or in terms of their abilities). A shy child – or one who is lacking in confidence – is naturally going to find it hard to excel or be their best, for the main reason that they are also likely to be battling with self-doubt or negative belief-patterns.

It can be helpful to know that within all of us, children and adults alike, there is an infinite capacity for happiness, confidence, self-belief and motivation – which we often don’t realise is there. When we find ourselves “lacking” in these positive qualities it is likely to be because, unwittingly, we are simply blocking our own connection to them – with negative thoughts and beliefs.

And whether we realise it or not, when we allow ourselves to entertain negative thoughts and beliefs, the effect can be compared to us administering a toxic substance to ourselves daily, which undermines and obstructs us in all that we want to do.

So one of the first things I do is to chat informally to the child to put them at ease, and find out a little about them and what makes them tick. I am also looking to see what kind of things might make them anxious, why and when. More often than not, it is about helping the child to feel better about themselves, because on some level, I find that most shy children have an underlying perception about themselves that they are not as good as others.

Unfortunately, one of the problems with having a negative (unhelpful) belief is that, because of the way the mind works, it can often produce a vicious circle of negative “self-fulfilling prophecy” in reality. For instance, if a child forms the belief that they are not as good as others, or that others will always be better than them, the resulting effect for most children is that they will simply not even bother to put in the effort or try to do their best, holding themselves back and “protecting” themselves from the disappointment that they feel is likely to be inevitable. This can often manifest itself as a lack of motivation or even negative behaviours, and is entirely self-defeating. Hence, unwittingly, they are contributing to making the negative belief that they hold to become a reality.

So helping a shy child to feel better about themselves can often involve identifying and changing any unhelpful beliefs, and helping them to “re-frame” the way they see themselves and others.

Amongst many wonderful things, NLP4Kids provides the means of helping children to understand themselves, as well being able to identify and change negative thought or belief-patterns that are creating a problem. Helping a “shy” child to be able to choose and create more helpful and healthier beliefs means the world has already just changed for that child in immeasurably positive and helpful ways.

In my view, using NLP with children is a master-stroke because it provides fun and exciting techniques that enables the child to feel almost as if they are playing, and yet as a result they find they are feeling better, and are more confident and in control of themselves going forward.

One of the most exciting things for any child to learn is that they have more control over themselves and the way they feel than they previously realised. Helping a shy child learn how to connect with their inner confidence in just a few moments is quite often life-changing there and then!

In fact, it was in one of these instances that I helped a shy child, held back up until then by his diagnosis of “dyslexia”, to be able to read aloud from an official press release (it was all we had in the clinic room!) in it’s entirety and at normal speed. His mother’s expression (and mine) will stay with me for a long time to come. When a child connects with their inner confidence, infinite possibilities really can open up for them, which they are helped to recognise and experience for themselves.

Once a child can recognise how their thoughts affect their feelings (and vice versa) it opens the way for them to be able to feel in control, and to be able to create more on-going happiness and confidence for themselves.

When a child recognises that there is more than just one way for them to be, this in itself is liberating in the extreme. Helping them realise that they also have a choice in how they think, feel and react in any moment is empowering and is a priceless resource that will continue to serve them well in the future.

How to Regain Control Over Anxiety & Panic

I recently took a phone call from a friend, who was suffering what I can only describe as an anxiety or panic attack. She was only able to speak to me for about 5 minutes before having to go to a meeting, but during the phone call she broke down in tears – and the rest was a little incoherent.

In-between sobs (hers, not mine) I managed to ascertain that she felt overly anxious about her new job, and some people she had to deal with. Aware that we only had a very short time before she had to go to the meeting, I gave her some information that, on reflection, I feel everyone could benefit from knowing. So here I am sharing this with you (and please feel free to pass this on to anyone who might be interested).

  1. When we approach a situation with a negative expectation, we are far more likely to bring about (or even create) a negative outcome. Conversely, when we approach things with a positive expectation we are much more likely to influence things towards a positive outcome.
  2. Anxiety tends to occur when someone repeatedly imagines things happening in the future, (eg a social event, a conversation, a task, a meeting) – but instead of seeing things happening the way they would like, they see it go wrong.
  3. The more that this negative scenario plays on your mind, the more you will produce the emotional responses to this version as if it is happening for realexcept that it isn’t! It’s just a fantasy (so why not make it a nice one!)

(The subconscious part of your mind can’t tell the difference between fact or fiction – hence why watching scary movies may have you jumping or sweating or feeling sick, producing physical reactions to the emotions produced in watching the film – interesting don’t you think??)

So here’s a few things you can do to help reduce or overcome anxiety:

  1. By consciously making an effort to think about or visualise things happening in the way you would want them to, you help yourself develop a mindset that is open and more receptive to creating your desired outcome.
  2. Differentiate between your “helpful” and “unhelpful” thoughts – helpful thoughts will generally make you feel more positive, open to possibilities and connected to others, while “unhelpful” thoughts generally limit you and hold you back.
  3. Using positive affirmations can help to re-train the brain into a more positive and helpful mindset. Try repeating statements to yourself along the lines of “I am ok”, “I can do this”, “I am calm and in control”, “I know I am capable”, “everything is fine” – you will know when you have found a good affirmation for you as you’ll notice how it makes you feel when you say it…. 🙂 Once you have found your affirmation(s) – say it to yourself often!

I should also add that if anxiety is excessive or has reached the point of panic attacks, there is likely to be an underlying negative-pattern triggering it, in which case a couple of cognitive hypnotherapy sessions can certainly be of real benefit.

I hope this is helpful, either for you or someone you know. If you have any questions or queries regarding any of this, feel free to get in touch, I’ll be happy to help however I can.

My best wishes,
Jenny 🙂


How changing your mindset can change your life…

How changing your mindset can change your life…

Have you ever stopped to think about how powerful your mind is? In truth, it is so powerful that there is little you couldn’t achieve with the right mindset. Whether you would like to feel better about yourself or be more confident, perhaps lose weight or quit an unwanted habit, it really is your mindset that makes all the difference – between happiness and unhappiness, success and failure, and whether you effectively “sink or swim” in any crisis.

For this reason it’s extremely important to develop a mindset that will help you achieve what it is you want – rather than what you don’t want. Because all too often we can go through life without really understanding the impact that our mindset or attitude will have on the events that we experience. We can get locked into a particular way of thinking or behaving, and without making a serious effort to change it, it can all too easily become an entrenched way of life.

But actually, by changing a simple thought-pattern, you can begin to change your experience of life.

Try having a think about the average quality and nature of your thoughts and self-talk – would you say they have a positive and encouraging tone, or a critical and judgemental tone? Positive thoughts generally make you feel better and open you up to possibilities, while negative thoughts tend to restrict you and limit your capability.

Ask yourself which of these categories your thoughts and self-talk is more likely to fall into:

Positive, encouraging / Negative, discouraging

Nurturing / Critical

Understanding, patient / Judgemental, impatient

Accepting / Intolerant

Proactive, happy to take action / Passive, happy to be led

Loving / Unloving

If you find that you tend to have a lot of negative or critical self-talk, it is likely that someone you have known has said such things to you in the past and you have internalised it.

Here’s some tips you can try to help yourself overcome any negative self-talk:

1) If you can recognise where those negative or critical thoughts come from (do they remind you of someone?), you can start to change how you feel about that thought-pattern, as you realise those thoughts are not really true but just someone else’s inappropriate comment.

2) Try challenging any negative assumptions you may have about yourself. If you question and challenge your negative assumptions as you become aware of them, you can start to weaken and dismantle them. A negative assumption or belief is simply a thought that you no longer question and so it goes unchallenged. So question it again – is that negative belief really true?

3) On a slightly lighter note, you could also try mucking about with unwanted negative thoughts. This might sound like a contradiction in terms, but if you can identify a negative phrase that regularly crops up in your thinking, try imagining the words being said in a funny voice or by a cartoon character, or perhaps being sung with silly music in the background. Sounds mad, I know, but it can actually begin to diminish the negative impact of the thoughts – try it and see!

Remember, creating positive change really does start with changing a simple thought…

Do get in touch and let me know how you get on, it’ll be great to hear from you!!

Best wishes

Jenny Amir
Cognitive Hypnotherapist
Creating Positive Change