When you receive that pink slip or layoff notice, it's natural for you to start questioning your abilities. “How could this happen?” you may ask yourself. “Was it something I did?” you may inquire. Well, the truth is job loss can and does happen, even to the most responsible and diligent of workers through no fault of their own. Instead of allowing yourself an extended period of self-pity, get mental clarity and start anew.
Employ a positive affirmation. It sounds cheesy, but an affirmation can do wonders in helping you reassure yourself and bolster your fledgling confidence. Select a positive phrase that calms you, and repeat it at the start of each day and then also whenever you feel your tensions rising later in the day, recommends Alina Dizik of CareerBuilder.com. Each time you repeat this phrase, you will come closer and closer to truly believing it.
Try visualization. Author, trainer and psychologist Dr. Lynn Joseph swears by visualization as a confidence building tool. To put this technique into practice, sit down and close your eyes. Think about what your life will be like in one year. Once you have that picture in mind, try expanding to five years. Continue, moving further and further in time and watching your imaginary self experience more and more success. Once you have these images firm in your mind, you will likely feel an increased desire to achieve them, bolstering your work ethic and eagerness to get back in the saddle.
Exercise regularly. Exercising is an effective way to release endorphins and build your physical strength and well-being. As you feel yourself getting stronger and more physically capable with each day of exercise, your confidence in your abilities will increase naturally. Even though this confidence isn't directly related to your job search, it's bound to spill over at least a little.
Meet with other job seekers. When you first lose your job, you can feel like you are all alone in a sea of despair. The truth, however, is that you aren't alone. Put down that pint of ice cream, stop wallowing and head out to meet the many other people who, like you, are highly qualified and temporarily without work. Once you see that you are in good company, you will likely be able to pick up your job search process with improved confidence.
Limit how long you spend searching the want ads. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, you shouldn't spend too long each day engaging in active job seeking. If you rise with the sun and read classified ads until your body is too fatigued to do anything else, you will invariably burn yourself out and increase your frustration. Instead, set aside certain hours to job hunt each day and limit yourself to these hours.
Enjoy your "time off." While everyone else is sitting under fluorescent lights and sitting through dull meetings, you're free to go to the park, spend time with your family, go to the library and go to lectures and talks. Do something that you enjoy, making the most of your time away from the workforce. Check your community's website or newsletter for event listings -- and fill your day with interesting activities. You'll meet interesting people while expanding your knowledge, and there's always the chance one of your new friends will have a lead on a possible job.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.