You Need a Well-Stocked I Can Do It Toolbox

Life can be difficult, fickle, and downright cruel. During those minutes, hours, days, and (heaven-forbid) months our self-confidence can take a beating. Learning how to bolster your self-confidence isn’t something you can do when you’re in a low spot. You need to be prepared. You need a well-stocked I Can Do It toolbox. So prepare now for those days that plague us all.

You Need a Well-Stocked I Can Do It Toolbox like the on in this image: a white background a pink toolbox with the words I can do it on it represents

Reframe

Just like Thomas Edison, you didn’t fail—you learned a way that didn’t work. You LEARNED. A positive statement. A positive thing out of something that didn’t go as planned. List what you learned. Put it in that I can do it toolbox. And remember, every failure, every gosh-darn-that-didn’t-go-as-planned is one more step toward success. Kind of the turn that frown upside down idea. Look at what you’re feeling down about and deliberately find something good to say about it.

Fake It

The adage, fake it till you make it, can work. Put an optimistic spin on your day even if you have to pretend. Faking it tricks your brain into changing gears. Eventually your brain will catch on. That’s the power of positive thinking.

Don’t Give Up

Quitting can feel good. But it doesn’t keep on feeling good. Hang in there and finish. Even if it isn’t perfect, finishing a tough project is satisfying. It’s also an opportunity for learning. Make note of what you’ve learned and what you might try if you had a re-do.

Build with the Small Successes

Kind of like counting your blessings, you need to give yourself credit for the small successes you have. (This is the step I often ignore—to my detriment.) Keep a list handy. When you’re feeling low isn’t the time to count on your memory. Say it aloud: I am amazing. Read your list out loud. Look at what you’ve accomplished so far! You are amazing. 

Change Clothes

You Need a Well-Stocked I Can Do It Toolbox one that can include dressing in your best clothes like the confident young African American pictured here.

That’s right. Change into clothes that make you feel good. Dress up or dress down. Do your hair in that sexy style you favor. Put on makeup, your best jewelry, and that fancy watch. Straighten your posture, hold that tummy in, and strut your stuff. It’s amazing how a change of clothes can re-set your frame of mind.

Try Different Tools

Sometimes a tool that has worked in the past won’t work in a particular situation. So you need to have a variety of tools handy. Zen Habits has a list of twenty-five ways to boost your self-confidence.

Your Well-Stocked I Can Do It Toolbox

Besides the tools mentioned above, you will want to stock your I can do it toolbox with sensory tools that will lift your brain and emotions out of the low self-esteem valley. The five senses are important to our sense of well-being.

Sight

For sight, it would be ideal to visit the place that makes you feel alive and able to do anything. That’s not always possible, so keep a photograph or two handy. For me photos of mountains soaring or the ocean roaring work.

Sound

You want to have the music that electrifies you. Choose songs that lift you up. Songs such as Fight Song, Respect, My Way, Rise Up, Only the Strong Survive, even a Phillip Sousa march, can work. It can be the sound of a baby laughing, a babbling brook, or your cat’s purr.

Smell

You Need a Well-Stocked I Can Do It Toolbox equipped with invigorating scents like this slice of fresh lemon on a blue background

Some aromas calm you. That’s not what you want. You want the aromas that invigorate. Citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and peppermint are scents that may work for you.

Touch

A small square of silk, a cool river-smoothed stone (thanks Terry!), worry beads, a finely sanded piece of wood or a brass sculpture. An object you touch and it lifts your spirits, reminds you of your successes or a positive experience.

Taste

Strong flavors, old favorite flavors, the tastes that energize you. Not comfort food, but the flavors that make you feel strong and alive. Bold flavors, unusual flavors, even new flavors will give you a boost.

Visceral

Wait? Visceral isn’t one of the five senses we’re taught in school. What is a Visceral? It’s that feeling you have inside—that glow or that I’m-about-to-bust-a-gut feeling. You pay attention to those feelings, don’t you? If not, start today. Journal about what you feel inside when you’re happy and confident. Remember, a journal doesn’t have to be words on paper, it can be sketches, or collages, or a collection of clippings. The visceral reactions you put in your toolbox are the ones from that day when something you worked hard to finish gets an internal atta-girl. Praise from other folk will work, too, but not as well as the atta-girl (or atta-boy) you gave yourself for a job well done.

You Need a Well-stocked I Can Do It Toolbox

A photograph of a black caligraphy pen on top of a journal with "you're capable of amazing things" written in script across its cover.

Why focus on self-help toolboxes? There are so many things that pull us apart these days. Jobs, school, hobbies, creative work, home improvements, distance… The list is endless. 

Even if we have terrific friends and family who love us unconditionally, they can’t always be there to pick us up when we’re down. Besides, if we rely on someone else to do the work, we won’t have the skills to do the work.

Creating your self-help toolboxes makes you better able to handle the difficulties that come with being a caring human being. If you have a mental health first aid kit and a joy toolbox, you need a well-stocked I can do it toolbox too. With your toolboxes, you have to skills to be a strong person in your own skin. Chances are, you already have many of those tools already but haven’t put them together in a helpful way. And there’s a bonus for thinking about these things. It gives you the skills to help your loved ones when they need a little boost. Adding a tool to this list in the comments means you’ve helped strangers and acquaintances on the web, and you’ve helped me too. Thank you.

Do You Need a Distraction?

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to step back from 24 hour roller coaster of Corona Virus News. Not that I don’t understand the significance and the scale of this thing. But my brain and my emotions need a break. I need a distraction—Do you need a distraction too? Music? Learn? Read on. I’ve distractions a plenty.

photo of rubiks cube--do you need a distraction? This might drive you to distraction

Up Beat Sing-Along

Long time readers know I love music. It’s my go-to stress reliever. Here are four songs and lyrics that will lift your spirits. Belt it out. You’ll feel better.

Que Sera Sera—Doris Day

Uptown Funk—Bruno Mars

Bob Marley – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Mary Poppins (1964) – “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” 

Ear Worms

Your family won’t let you sing out loud? Sic these ear worms on them. You’ll all be singing.

Witch Doctor – Ooh Eeh Ooh Ah Aah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing—David Seville

Call me Maybe—Carly Rae Jepsen

Living La Vida Loca—Ricky Martin

Shake It Off—Taylor Swift

Banana Boat Song–Harry Bellefonte

Parody

For those of you who want to laugh at the Corona virus, here are four parodies that I thought you might enjoy.

Do Not Go (“Let It Go” Corona Parody)

Hands washing Hands — Neil Diamond

Put a Mask On Your Face—Benny Benack III

My Corona—Chris Mann

Readings

Perhaps music is just noise to you. But you need a distraction still, don’t you? Try listening to these stories.

Shakespeare—Patrick Stewart

The Winds of Harmattan—LeVar Burton 

Three Science Fiction Stories by Fritz Leiber—Librivox

 Or check out my one of my story time reviews that link to stories read aloud. Try the one about a Japanese Fairy Tale or Operation Haystack.

Other Distractions

Check out my Pinterest Boards. Of course, I’m not the only one there. Search for your favorite author or artist or topic.

Here are some quotes that may help soothe anxiety and stress.

Don’t forget to check out TED Talks for topics you’re interested in.

Image of man fishing off a pier you need distraction--try fishing

And you don’t have to go online. What about that jigsaw puzzle in the bottom of your closet? Play a game of Old Maid or work a book of crossword puzzles.

The Need for Distraction

In uncertain times being frightened, anxious, or just plain emotional is normal. But it’s also exhausting. Take care of yourselves. Give yourself permission to do something fun or silly or creative. You need a distraction or two or three… I need some too. What have you found that helps you?

Musical Mood Makers for You and Me

Music is an almost universal language. It expresses moods and has the power to change moods. And for most of us music touches memories. So I’m asking for your musical favorites today.

What piece of music always makes you tap your feet (or get up and dance)?

This one always makes me want to get up out of my seat:

Can you name a song or movie score that reminds you of a special time in your life?

Are you surprised at my choice? This was a third date movie, the date my sweet husband-to-be invited my thirteen-year-old son along. Kind of cinched the deal.

What song or music do you play when you feel sad?

Do I have to pick just one? Here’s one of the saddest ones I’ve ever heard.

Name your most romantic music.

This one may be the hardest for me to answer. I have a long, long list. Today, I’ll answer with this one.

Which song do you ALWAYS sing along with?

My answer includes many different piece of music but right now there’s one in particular that I’ve sung for years and years.

Which piece of music is the most inspiring?

Yours may not be this one, but it makes me have hope for the world.

Won’t you share one of your musical mood makers?

I hope you enjoyed this enough to share one of your own choices. Please let me know which question you’re answering and the name of the artist (if you know it) and the song. If you link to the video please include only one per comment so you don’t get sent to the spam folder.