Strategies for building Self-Confidence

EVERYONE STRUGGLES WITH TRUSTING IN THEIR ABILITIES

By Amy Morin, LCSW

Self-confidence is defined as a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment. Self-confidence is important to your health and psychological well-being.

Benefits of Self-Confidence

  • Openness to try new things. When you believe in yourself, you’ll be more willing to try new things. Whether you apply for a promotion or sign up for a cooking class, believing in yourself is key to putting yourself out there.
  • Better performance. When you feel confident in yourself, you’re able to devote your resources to the task at hand. Rather than waste time and energy worrying that you aren’t good enough, you can devote your energy to your efforts. So ultimately, you’ll perform better when you feel confident.
  • Better resilience. Confidence, or believing in yourself, can enhance your resilience, or ability to bounce back from any challenges or adversities you face in life.
  • Improved relationships. Having a healthy dose of self-confidence can help keep your relationships happy and healthy. One reason is that people with self-confidence tend to set stronger boundaries, prioritizing their own needs and emotions. Having self-confidence not only impacts how you feel about yourself, but it helps you better understand and love others. It also gives you the strength to walk away if you’re not getting what you deserve.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to boost your self-confidence. Whether you lack confidence in one specific area or you struggle to feel confident about anything, these strategies can help.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY

It’s hard to feel good about yourself if you’re abusing your body. On the other hand, if you practice self-care, you know you’re doing something positive for your mind, body, and spirit, and you’ll naturally feel more confident. Here are a few self-care practices linked to higher levels of self-confidence:

Diet. Eating well comes with many benefits, including higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. When you fuel your body with the right foods, you feel healthier, stronger, and more energized, which can result in feeling better about yourself.

Exercise. Studies consistently show physical activity boosts confidence. A 2016 study published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found that regular physical activity improved participants’ body image. And when their body image improved, they felt more confident.

Meditation. Experts say that meditation can help boost self-confidence in several ways. For one, it helps you to recognize and accept yourself. Meditation also teaches you to stop negative self-talk and disconnect from any mental chatter interfering with your self-confidence.

Sleep. Skimping on sleep can take a toll on your self-esteem, whereas good, quality sleep has been linked with positive personality traits, including optimism and self-esteem.

PRACTICE SELF-COMPASSION

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness when you make a mistake, fail, or experience a setback. Speaking to yourself harshly, won’t motivate you to do better. In fact, studies show it tends to have the opposite effect.

Thinking, “Everyone messes up sometimes,” as opposed to, “I’m so stupid. I ruined everything,” is an example of having self-compassion and can help you feel good even if when you don’t perform as well as you hoped.

USE THE POWER OF POSITIVE SELF-TALK

Using self-talk that is optimistic can help you foster self-compassion, embrace self-doubt, and take on new challenges. On the other hand, negative self-talk can limit your abilities and lessen your confidence by convincing your subconscious that you “can’t handle it” or that something is “too hard” or that you “shouldn’t even try.”

The next time, you begin to think that you have no business speaking up in a meeting or that you are too out of shape to work out, remind yourself that your thoughts aren’t always accurate.

EMBRACE SELF-DOUBT

Sometimes, people put off doing things—like inviting someone on a date or applying for a promotion—until they feel more confident. But sometimes, the best way to gain confidence is by doing. Try doing things that your brain tells you that you can’t

If you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself or you think that you’re going to mess up, try it anyway. Tell yourself it’s just an experiment and see what happens.

You might learn that being a little anxious or making a few mistakes isn’t as bad as you thought. And each time you move forward you can gain more confidence in yourself.

Everyone struggles with confidence issues at one time or another. But if your self-confidence issues interfere with your work, social life, or education, you should consider seeking help from a mental health professional.

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