happy and confident young man

How to build up self-confidence

If you’ve found yourself feeling a bit low and demotivated, it’s likely that you’re experiencing a lack of self-confidence. This could be caused by a number of things, from a disappointing outcome with a job interview through to a sudden life event such as a recent illness or loss1.

Wondering why confidence plays such an important role in our daily lives and how you might be able to boost yours? Keep reading.

Why is self-confidence so important?

Being confident in yourself and what you do is one of the best ways to feel comfortable, happy and successful with your life.

Self-esteem is not something we’re born with, but rather something that we begin building on from a young age. It gives us a push to try out new things, visit new places and meet new people who can ultimately improve our quality of life. If you’re going through a period of low self-esteem, you might find that you spend a lot of time doubting yourself and focusing on your failings instead of considering how you can improve your situation2. Confidence not only impacts your mental well-being, but also your physical health, too. Having periods of lowness might lead you to develop bad habits such as unhealthy eating, smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol3.

Five ways to build up your self-confidence

Building up confidence is often easier said than done. It’s not something which will happen overnight, so you’ll need to take small steps to begin with, such as:4

  1. Practicing self-care

Self care is the act of nourishing your mind and body by simply being kind to yourself. In other words, it’s having regular me-time when you can fully relax and feel comfortable in your own skin.

Self care can incorporate numerous different activities, from enjoying a scenic walk in the countryside through to practicing mindfulness or indulging in a hot bubble bath. It could also be something simple such as slowly savouring a delicious snack or quietly reading a book.

  1. Writing a list of things you’re good at

Thinking constantly about the things that you’re bad at can have a big impact on your mood and self-esteem. Instead, consider the things you are good at and write them all down. You’ll likely surprise yourself with how many you can list!

  1. Limiting how much time you spend on social media

One of the best things you can do to build on your self-confidence is stop comparing yourself to others. While social media can be a great tool for keeping in touch with people and sharing ideas, it can also have a negative impact when it comes to comparing your life with others.

If you’re not confident about your looks or you’re unable to travel due to health or money reasons, viewing people’s holiday snaps or posts about their achievements might make you feel worse about yourself. It’s therefore a good idea to limit how much time you spend on Facebook, Instagram and any other social media sites you may have.

  1. Joining a club or group to meet new people

Growing your friendship group and meeting new people who are interested in your life and achievements is a great way to boost self-confidence. There are numerous ways to expand your social circle, whether that’s joining a fitness group at the gym, getting involved with volunteering or finding a book club in your local area.

  1. Starting to say “no” more

If you have low esteem, it’s easy to say yes to everything (even things you’re not comfortable with) and never stand up for yourself. An easy way to build up confidence is to think more about your own wants and needs and begin to say “no” to things you don’t want to do.

Having a lack of confidence can sometimes lead to other issues such as anxiety and depression. If you feel particularly low and unable to boost your esteem with simple solutions like the ones above, you may want to chat to your GP about therapy or counselling.

Last updated: 30 April 2020

Mental HealthMind & Body