How Do You Improve Your Self Confidence?
How To Improve Self Esteem
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes
Self esteem is the opinion we have about ourselves: how we value and perceive ourselves. When our self esteem is good, we are able to manage and enjoy our day-to-day lives a lot more than when our self confidence is low.
From time to time, we can all experience low self esteem. But, sustained feelings of low self-confidence lasting over an extensive amount of time can have a detrimental affect on our mental health and the way we navigate our daily lives.
Low self esteem and confidence can be caused by numerous factors, that may have first been experienced during childhood. These include:
- Worries around your appearance
- Experiencing prejudice, stigma or discrimination
- Problems at work, school or college
- Poor physical health
- Poor mental health
- The breakdown of a relationship: romantic, familial or friendship
- Money or housing worries
- Subject to bullying, abuse or violence
- Job loss
Whatever’s caused your low self esteem or lack of self confidence, it’s important to recognise that you matter, and the way you feel about yourself matters too.
But, how do you improve your self confidence? Below is a collection of tips and ideas you can try to help foster more self confidence in your life. But, remember that different things work for different people at different times. Try not to put too much pressure on any new thing that you try.
If something doesn’t work for you, come back to it another time, or try something else completely. Only try something you feel absolutely comfortable doing too…
How To Improve Self Confidence: Be Kind To Yourself
Firstly, don’t punish yourself for having negative feelings or thoughts about yourself. We’re humans, so it’s natural to experience a complex range of emotions!
Start to take note of when negative thoughts about yourself begin to creep in and try to challenge them with a more positive thought. A good rule of thumb is to talk to yourself as you would your friends. It may feel strange at first, and certainly easier said than done, but the only way we build better habits is to start them!
Practice accepting compliments too! When we have low self confidence, it’s easy to brush away and play down when someone pays you a flattering comment. Set yourself the goal of simply saying “thank you”, and although at first it may feel extremely uncomfortable to do, practise makes perfect!
In the age of social media, remember that everyone shares what they want others to see on their profiles, not the full picture, so comparing yourself to others via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. isn’t realistic. Try to limit how much time you spend scrolling through socials per day.
And hey, when successes do come your way (which they will!), celebrate them! No matter how little they may be, take the time out to praise yourself! And, when you’re feeling particularly low and unsuccessful, try to remind yourself of past successes so you don’t forget what you’ve already achieved.
Cel Pro Tip: Attempt writing a list of things you like about yourself and things you’re good at to read back over whenever you need a boost of confidence! Don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones the positives they see in you too to add to the list – they might surprise you!
How To Improve Self Confidence: Look After Yourself
Getting too little or too much sleep can majorly impact how you feel. Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived report an increase in negative feelings (these can include anger, frustration, irritability and/or sadness). Too much sleep has also been linked to depression and feeling low.
Try to aim for 7-8 hours a night to help your mood and confidence.
Physical activity can really help boost your self confidence by helping you implement goal setting and increasing your motivation. When we sweat our brain is told to release endorphins: the feel good hormones! Exercise will also help you sleep sounder and for longer.
If the gym isn’t a place you feel good in, there are millions of work out videos on the internet and plenty of apps and influencers to follow online. General advice is to aim to do 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise (hiking, gardening), or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (aerobics, running).
Spending time outside can also do wonders for your wellbeing and mental health. Try to venture outside on a walk at least once a day to get your blood flowing, endorphins pumping and breathe in that glorious, fresh air!
Eating at regular intervals throughout the day and keeping your blood sugar levels stable can be a great way of contributing positively to your mood and energy levels. Foods that cause our blood sugar to spike quickly and drop suddenly (which can negatively affect mood) include: sweets, biscuits, sugary drinks, and alcohol.
Choosing foods that release energy gradually can be a great place to start stabilising your blood sugar. Look to pasta, rice, oats, wholegrain bread, cereals, nuts and seeds. Also, make sure you’re getting your 5 a day of fruit and vegetables. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
And don’t forget to keep on top of your water levels! You should aim to drink at least 2 litres of water a day – this is about 8 to 10 glasses – more if you’re exercising. Staying hydrated can help keep us feeling happier!
Cel Pro Tip: Treating our body with the respect it deserves physically, can help your mind to learn how to treat itself positively, mentally.
How To Improve Self Confidence: Assert Yourself
People who suffer with low self esteem and a lack of confidence tend to struggle with saying no to others and/or standing up for themselves. This may mean you take on too much at work or socially, but this can just end up stressing you further and causing even more negative thoughts about yourself and your worth.
Working on asserting yourself and developing the ability to push back when it’s too much, and simply saying the word “no.” can be a big step to taking back control over your confidence and esteem.
If you’re worried that saying “no” may negatively impact a friendship; if they’re your true friends, they should understand.
That said, start to notice how the people in your social circles make you feel about yourself. If there is a person, or group of people in your life that trigger your negative feelings or make you feel bad about yourself, it’s time to leave those relationships behind or have a conversation with them about it, if you feel comfortable enough to do so.
Building relationships with those who make you feel good about yourself, and spending more time with the people who do, will in turn help you learn that you matter, have worth and are loved.
Self confidence is possible, but if you’re really struggling with low self esteem and it’s affecting your day-to-day life, make sure to reach out to a professional therapist, counsellor or your doctor.