Joy Harden-Bradford, Thriveworks Atlanta, was featured in College Lifestyles magazine on how to Boost your Confidence.

“A large part of developing confidence is related to creating opportunities in which you can succeed,” -Joy Harden-Bradford, PH.D.

Whether its dealing with stress, break-ups or relationship issues, Harden, who is a licensed psychologist, makes it her mission to be your confidant and voice of reason while diving into your issues to ultimately help you become a more happy and fabulous individual.  Here’s what she has to say.

College Lifestyles: What are five excellent ways to boost someone’s confidence? Why?

Dr. Joy Harden-Bradford: “The more successful you feel in a given area, the more confident you typically feel about yourself. Some ways to create these opportunities are:

– Develop a new hobby or interest– this allows you to try something new and also allows you to potentially meet new people. Sometimes confidence suffers because we get stuck in a rut.

Volunteer– There are few things that make you feel better than giving back to others. Find an organization or group that has special meaning to you and give them your time.

Spend more time with loved ones who are supportive and affirming– This is important because spending time with the wrong people can actually be detrimental to your confidence. But spending time with family and friends who support you and affirm you typically feels really good. Sometimes we just need to hear how great we are!

Get active– Exercise and other physical activity releases endorphins that make us feel better. When we are active we tend to forget about other things that are bothering us and it also does wonders for our bodies. When we feel better about how we look, we tend to show that to the world.

Set a goal and achieve it!”

CL: Do you think classy co-eds struggle with overcoming body and self-esteem issues when they are trying to define who they are, or what they will be, in the transition between teen to adult? How?

JB: “Absolutely! There are probably not many other times in a young woman’s life when she is more self-conscious than in the phase between teenagers to young woman. Typically these years are marked by constant comparison to what others look like, what they are wearing, who they are dating, how popular they are, etc. Not to mention, there can be a lot of pressure from family and friends to be and do a certain thing that it is very easy to have your voice drowned out by that of others. This period of time is marked by lots of transitions and if we do not already have some sense of who we are and where we are headed, it is very easy to get off course.”

CL: How have your experiences in the past been with maintaining confidence?

JB: “Like most women, there have been periods in my life when I have been less confident than other times. What has always helped me is being goal-oriented. When you are focused on something outside of yourself, it’s easier to be less self-conscious.”

CL: Relationships with others can affect one’s confidence positively or negatively. How can someone balance between having positive relationships and not becoming co-dependent? How can one eliminate those negative relationships?

JB: “As I alluded to previously, healthy, positive relationships can make a world of difference in many different areas of your life. We are not built to function in a vacuum, so some level of interdependency is necessary, but one should not be totally dependent on having someone else in their life to feel whole. Healthy relationships are all about finding compliments to ourselves, not people to complete us. I think that when we feel less than whole, we fall into unhealthy relationships looking for others to complete who we are. Eliminating unhealthy relationships begins with recognizing the fact that you are in one. Therapy can be a great way to talk with an objective outsider who can help you to recognize patterns in your relationships and help you to learn to set healthy boundaries.”

CL: I know that you have had experience working with college students. Having had this interaction, what advice do you have for these classy co-eds?

JB: “Enjoy your college years and make the most of this time. Travel abroad if you can! It’s the one thing I did not do that I regret. It’s so important to get outside of your comfort zone and see other parts of the world. College is the perfect time to do this as you can often get at least some type of financial support to aid with your travel. Not to mention, going to another country by yourself is an amazing confidence booster! Learning that you can conquer your fears or stretch yourself goes very far in teaching you that you can do whatever you set your mind to doing. I would also encourage college students to take your mental and physical health seriously. The college years are when you may be more independent and able to set healthier patterns and lifestyles for yourself. This time is also marked by lots of transitions which can bring on psychological stress. It’s important to pay attention to whether you are seeing changes in your mood or acting in ways that are not typical. Most colleges have counselors on staff that you can see for free or a very low cost. Take advantage of this service!”

CL: What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment?

JB: “I’d have to say that my biggest accomplishment up to this point was receiving my Ph.D. at the age of 27. I am the first one in my family to obtain a Ph.D. and it was a big deal for my entire family! It was a huge undertaking but something that I knew I needed to do the kinds of things I wanted to do in my future.”

If you ever need someone to talk to, contact Joy at