8 ways to boost your confidence
Of course, we’ve all experienced times where we’ve lacked self-confidence, which can hold us back in many aspects of life. But, when low self-confidence becomes a long-term problem, rather than a fleeting moment, it can have a detrimental effect on our mental wellbeing and our day-to-day lives too.
Here we’ll explore what exactly causes low confidence and our top 8 tips on how to begin building your confidence back up again.
What causes low confidence?
Low self-confidence often stems from childhood. You may notice that young children don’t care what people think, they’ll dance and sing without fear, and take risks like jumping off swings or climbing trees. This is because we are all born with an abundance of self-confidence.
It is only as we transition from children to teenagers to adults that our confidence begins to dwindle, as teachers, parents, friends, siblings, and the media send us negative messages, criticise, or tell us how life should be structured. And, unfortunately, the message of not being good enough or smart enough or strong enough is one that sticks.
Stress and difficult life events such as losing a job, experiencing a break-up or moving away from family and friends can also sometimes harm our confidence. You’ll likely feel varying levels of confidence in certain areas too. For example, if you were praised and encouraged during maths lessons, you’ll feel more confident and capable within that subject. But, if you were criticised more during English lessons, you’ll no doubt feel less confident in your skills.
The good news is, with time and patience, low confidence is something that can be fixed, and it’s up to you to make it happen.
How to increase confidence
To increase your self-confidence, you’ll first need to challenge the negative beliefs and thoughts you have about yourself. Trying to think more positively and practising some self-love affirmations can make a huge difference and really help to shift your mindset.
Here are some other simple ways to boost your confidence and feel better about yourself:
1. Recognise what you’re good at
Whether it’s cooking, driving, parenting or even gaming, we’re all good at something and taking part in activities you know you’re good at is a great way of boosting your mood and making you feel good about yourself. Teaching someone else these skills will also make you feel worthy and valuable, which can all lead to increased confidence.
2. Build positive relationships
As much as we love our friends and the people in our inner circles, sometimes, they can be bad for our mental health. Pay attention to how these people are making you feel and whether they lift you up or bring you down. If they bring you down, try and tell them how you feel or spend less time with them. You need to make yourself the priority! The people you spend time with can have an effect on your thoughts and attitudes toward yourself. So, build relationships with positive people who appreciate you for you.
3. Take care of your body
It’s true that taking care of your physical health will help your mental health too.
While binge-eating junk food will make us feel good in the short term, it can make us feel sluggish and bad in the long term. By fueling your body with nutritious, and delicious, food, you’re much more likely to feel stronger, healthier and energised too, which will make you feel better about yourself.
Staying active and regularly moving your body, from walking and dancing to lifting weights and swimming, all lead to an improved body image, which can result in feeling more confident. Exercising is a great way to unwind and loosen up after a long day too.
People tend to underestimate just how important sleep is for both our mental and physical health. If you don’t get enough sleep, or experience a bad night’s sleep, it can take its toll on your emotions and make you feel agitated and low. According to the NHS, most adults need 6 and 9 hours of sleep every night for a more positive and optimistic outlook.
4. Be kind to yourself
If a friend makes a mistake or has a setback, you wouldn’t go out of your way to upset them further. Instead, you’d lift them up, support them and be kind. This is what you should be doing for yourself too. The next time you’re in a challenging position or fail at something, remember that it’s normal and rather than berate yourself, show some self-compassion.
5. Stop comparing yourself to othersWe’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to others. Whether it’s comparing looks, salary, intellect or simply where you are in life, comparing yourself too often can make you feel envious and bring you down. If you find yourself in the trap of comparison, remind yourself of your own strengths and achievements. It’s also good practice to keep a gratitude journal to help you focus and remember all the good things in your life.
6. Face your fearsConfident people don’t allow fear to get in the way of what they want. So, it’s time to face your fears and apply for that promotion or ask the person you like on a date. While it may be scary and intimidating, it could also potentially lead to something great. The worst thing that could happen is rejection and a little embarrassment, but each time you put yourself out there, the easier it will get and the more confidence in yourself you’ll gain.
7. Get things doneWhen we accomplish things, our confidence soars, and we feel motivated to work towards another goal. Start with smaller, realistic, daily goals first, such as doing a workout, making the bed or cooking a new recipe. You’ll instantly feel better after ticking things off your to-do list, and, gradually, you’ll be able to work up to the bigger things that will make more of an impact on your life.
8. Do more of what makes you happyWe often get so wrapped up in responsibilities and things that have to be done that we forget to spend time doing what actually makes us happy. But, it’s important to make space for your hobbies, whether it’s sitting down to read a book, going for a hike or simply watching your favourite TV show. Doing things that you enjoy will help you to recharge, so you can be your best self.
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