Confidence: The Antidote to Anxiety!

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 11, Number 4

April is upon us and the snowbirds have all but left Florida. For most of us, tax day is behind us and we look forward to summer vacations. April is also National Humor Month which was created to heighten awareness of how humor can be very therapeutic. Research has shown that comedy and fun can lead to improved morale, a sense of well-being, health benefits, and better relationships. Laughter can be curative and will also lead to reductions in stress. So find something funny to enjoy this month.

This month’s E-Letter focuses on Confidence: The Antidote to Anxiety! This information can be also downloaded from our E-Letters tab on our website. Our email of the month is about Common Passwords and our Ask the Doc question is about finding happiness. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful. We also thank you for reading our E-Letters and for the many comments we have received through our over 11 years of E-Letters.

Practice News

Depression groups. Our ongoing weekly depression therapy groups meet regularly in our office. A men’s support group and a women’s support group are run by Dr. Jim Kaikobad and meets for one and one-half hours. The group is educational, supportive, and confidential and is limited to 8 people. A third and fourth group will be starting soon. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Testings. If you are concerned about your child’s school placement for the next school year, this would be a good time to have them evaluated. Recent questions from parents have ranged from should their child be retained to whether they are gifted to whether they have a disability that can qualify for accommodations at school. Our practice does different types of evaluations to help answer those questions and information about these evaluations can be found on our website. If you have more specific questions, please contact Dr. Kimmel.

Afterschool Tutoring. Tutoring for students in grades 1 through 8 is being offered after school in our offices. Jill Kimmel, an experienced educator, will be helping students to understand and learn their academic concepts as well as provide assistance in doing homework. To find out more about our tutoring services as well as to schedule an appointment, please contact Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Handouts from previous E-Letters can be found at the E-Letters page on our website, We invite you to read and download them if desired.


Our E-Letter this month focuses on an antidote to anxiety – Confidence. Most anxiety is due to irrational fears that have little or no basis in reality. If not to specific objects, such as spiders or snakes, anxiety is often a fear of the unknown and what could or could not happen. Common irrational thoughts include “What if…” questions with some disastrous outcome. For example: What if I am late to work or what if they could see the real me? These fears create worries about events that seldom happen. Anxiety serves to alert us and prepare us to deal with perceived threats, but often our perceptions are wrong. So how do we deal with anxiety?

The answer lies in changing our thinking to be more rational and realistic. One of the best ways to do this is to develop confidence in ourselves. Confidence is the self-belief that we can handle the anxiety situation. It is not just telling ourselves that we can, it is our internal belief that no matter, what we will handle it. And if we don’t, confident people don’t see this as a failure or judge themselves as failures. Rather they learn from the situation and improve. They don’t judge themselves, but recognize failure as a learning experience.

Having confidence leads to success and success leads to building more confidence. The more a person can face difficult situations and succeed, the more they become confident in themselves. No longer are they fearful of the unknown because they believe they are capable of dealing with it. No longer do they fear the “what if’s” because they will either succeed or learn from it. Confident people do not have the fear since they have the expectation of success.

The concepts underlying confidence is self-efficacy and self-esteem. Self–efficacy refers to the belief in one’s own ability to reach a goal. The more success a person has, the higher their sense of self efficacy. Self-esteem refers to how we feel about ourselves. People with high self-esteem cope well with problems, feel competent, and feel accepted and approved of by others.

Confidence is an extremely important skill to have in the business world. If you have the ability to succeed yet don’t believe you have it, you won’t use your skills to the fullest extent. Many corporations have spent large sums of money trying to instill confidence in their key employees. If you have the talent and believe that you do, you will be motivated, focused, and happier in your job than those who don’t believe and are stressed out trying to prove themselves.

People who lack confidence often have perfectionistic thinking. That is, if they can’t do something perfectly, they are a failure. This is black and white thinking where it is impossible to succeed which often causes people to stay in a loop trying to prove themselves, but never succeeding. Others who lack confidence may set overly high expectations for themselves which are unattainable. This sets them up for failure and dejection. Many others are very critical of themselves. Whether learned from childhood experiences or relations within the family, self-critical people tend to view themselves more harshly than others. Even when they succeed, they do not give themselves enough credit.

People who have the confident attitude understand that they will not succeed at everything and that they will make mistakes. They have realistic expectations and a belief that they will succeed. They do not fear the unknown. They believe they can cope with the outcomes and will learn from their experiences. They speak up for themselves and do not seek the approval of others or conform to the crowd. They generally feel good about themselves and have a great deal of self-respect.

The good news is that confidence can be developed. Since it is a belief or attitude of capability, one can develop confidence by changing one’s thinking. By learning and accepting that you can handle any situation, you will feel more confident. The more success you have in tasks undertaken, the more you will feel you can handle new ones. Therefore, it is important not to avoid. Try new situations with the expectation that you will succeed. If not, learn what you can from the situation and do not judge yourself. View problems as challenges not as something to be feared. Consider how you have succeeded in the past and recognize that you are competent. Select gradually more difficult situations and give it your best to succeed. Read inspirational messages and use positive self-talk. Practice affirmations, such as “I am good at what I do”. Value yourself and believe in your own self-worth. Do not be afraid to challenge the crowd and do what you think is right. Reduce stress through relaxation exercise. Finally, seek professional help to overcome past negative or traumatic experiences that may have impacted your self-esteem.

We offer the following information on Confidence: The Antidote To Anxiety! (You can download the following from our E-Letter page on our website.)

Be yourself, Everyone else is already taken—Oscar Wilde


  • Confidence is simply the belief in oneself, in one’s capabilities, one’s self worth, and one’s ability to handle situations
  • Confidence is not about knowing what or how to do; it is a belief that one can learn to do
  • Confidence is the antidote to anxiety; believing that one can and will handle a situation will overcome fears, especially of the unknown
  • Confident people believe that no matter what, they can handle the situation
  • Confident people expect to make mistakes, but they don’t judge themselves as failures, rather they learn from these situations
  • Confident people feel good about themselves and do not feel they have to be like others to be accepted
  • Confident people cope when they don’t succeed and do not catastrophize
  • People who are confident recognize that failing in the past doesn’t mean failure in the future; it is only something to be learned from
  • Confidence requires self-acceptance, liking of one’s own uniqueness and not trying to be like everyone else
  • A person who is self-confident does not worry about negative consequences of their actions or what others may think of them; they look to enjoy or succeed in the situation
  • Self-confident people have qualities admired by others and can also inspire confidence in others
  • Confident behaviors include: being willing to take risks, learning from mistakes, doing what’s right even if it disagrees with others, and being able to accept complements
  • Repeated successes contribute to the development of confidence
  • People who lack confidence have low self-esteem based on irrational beliefs about themselves
  • You can lose confidence by having very high expectations, being overly self-critical, being perfectionistic, and feeling unsupported and alone
  • People who lack confidence tend to avoid situations and consequently don’t give themselves the chance to develop confidence
  • People low in confidence also are low in self-esteem as they tend to avoid taking risks and will depend on the approval of others
  • Confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy as believing in one’s abilities can lead to success which reinforces one’s belief in one’s abilities
  • Confidence can be developed by improving one’s self efficacy, the belief in the ability to reach a goal, and one’s self-esteem, how a person views themselves

      • Change your thinking from irrational negative “can’t do” thoughts to believing you can
      • Consider problems as challenges not as something to be feared or worried about
      • Practice what you are good at to improve your self esteem
      • Accept who you are rather than who you think you should be
      • View failure as a learning experience and not a comment on who you are
      • Read inspirational material, practice affirmations, and use relaxation exercises
      • Seek professional help to overcome negative experiences and improve your self-esteem
      • WE CAN HELP!
        Call us at (954) 755-2885 or email us at

        Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates 5571 N. University Drive, Suite 101 Coral Springs, Florida 33067

        Copyright © 2016; by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.

        As always, we would like to welcome new readers to our e-Letter. We hope that you find it informational and enjoyable. We invite you to share this e-Letter with others. If you have received this from a fellow reader, please send us your email address to include you on our list.

        Ask The Doc

        PM writes: Why aren’t I happy? I belong to a book club, have a full time fulfilling job, and my marriage is good. My children are grown and I exercise regularly. I follow all the advice I read about to make me happy. Yet I’m not. What do you think?

        Dr. Joel Kimmel replies: Well it certainly sounds like you do keep yourself busy doing the “right things” recommended in the self-help books and shows. However, you say you are not happy. Perhaps, there is more to your unhappiness.

        Over forty years of experience helping people, I’ve found that people are unhappy for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s as simple as giving themselves permission to be happy. Strange as that sounds, some people will unconsciously not allow themselves to be happy. They must keep themselves busy with activities or be on guard for potential threats.

        Others may not recognize when they are happy. Their feelings may not be the same as our culturally defined concept of happiness and consequently, they look for something more. So in actuality, they may be happy yet think they are not because they don’t fit the stereotype they’ve seen in commercials or movies.

        Others may have unresolved needs or problems from their early childhood that can surface in their current lives. Sometimes reminders or “triggers” happen that rekindle these old issues. Not having made peace with the past could also be contributing to your unhappiness.

        I find that a key concept of happiness is gratitude, the ability to give thanks and appreciate what one has in life. A lot of unhappy people are stuck in what they don’t have, what they want more of, or don’t value what they do have. Would you consider yourself grateful?

        And there may be other issues. My suggestion would be for you to consider how you, and not others, define happiness. In doing so, you may think of happier times in the past or what you personally define happiness to mean. Then evaluate yourself to see whether you meet this definition. And if so, accept it and stop putting pressure on yourself to be where you already are. If not, strive to do what meets your definition.

        Email of the Month

        We thank Peter R. for the following email:

        10 Most Common Passwords!!!

        Here are the 10 most common passwords:
        1. password
        2. 1233 or 123456
        3. Qwerty
        4. abc123
        5. Iloveyou
        6. Letmein
        7. Monkey
        8. trustno1
        9. Your first name
        10. Your username

        Till May…

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        If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends. Copyright © 2016 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.