When you possess good self-esteem and confidence, there’s no doubt it opens up a world of opportunity, but what happens if you don’t? A report for Mental Health UK tells us that only a small amount of adults in the UK report positive mental health (13%), 4 in ten reporting feelings of depression and a quarter have experienced panic attacks. Those statistics are concerning but they are not insurmountable. So why are people feeling a lack of self-esteem and confidence?
First of all, what is self-esteem? Forgive me if you already know, but sometimes, people need a gentle reminder. Self-esteem is feeling good about yourself, respecting yourself, feeling positive about your persona and being able to take on every day with confidence.
The Role of Social Media
With the rise of social media displaying images of happy, beautiful and self-assured people living celebrity lifestyles, it’s no surprise there are so many out there feeling inadequate with low self-esteem. Of course, those pictures only display the very best of people –it is practically impossible for every single human on the planet to live up to that expectation because it isn’t a true reflection of real life. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the social media pressures and then there are other pressures too.
Have you Felt Rebuffed?
You may well just be the shy type, or you get butterflies at the thought of doing something that takes you out of your comfort zone? Maybe you’ve experienced rebuffs in the past and those knocks have stayed with you.
Luckily, self-esteem and confidence is something that you can build on. They’re so important too, when you have confidence and you feel good about yourself, you don’t let doubt stand in your way. You have the power to take on complicated tasks or try new things, safe in the knowledge that you should succeed! You also don’t let knock-backs affect your mind-set and you feel happier within yourself.
Self-esteem and confidence are the keys to positivity, so let’s look at 9 ways to build them up:
1. Stay in Tune With Your Inner Voice
Did you know that the average human has up to 70,000 thoughts a day! Now imagine what happens if most of those thoughts are positive thoughts! You’d feel great!
If you generally feel negative, you can bet your bottom dollar that many of your 70,000 thoughts will have some sort of negative connotation. By trying to stay in tune with your thoughts you can turn those negative ones into positives! For example, if you wake up and your first thought is that you’re dreading the day ahead. Quickly switch it around to reminding yourself of something nice that you’re going to do – even if it’s as small as chatting to your friend later! Or why not decide to wear your favourite outfit. The important message here is when you remember, turn that negative thought into a positive, it will help.
2. Remind Yourself of Your Positive Attributes
Are you a good listener? Do your friends turn to you for sound advice? Perhaps you’re a fantastic dancer – or you have the most beautiful eyes? You may well have worked your way up the corporate ladder or you run your home with military precision! You could be an artist or have a talent for singing? The point is, every person on earth has so many wonderful aspects of their personality but it’s easy to forget what they are. Make a list of what you’re good at (keep focussing on positive thoughts) and add to that list every time you remember something you know you do well or something about you that others appreciate. Put that list somewhere you can see it and if you feel a sense of self-doubt, read that list.
3. Be Good to Others
When you do something nice for someone else, you feel good about yourself! So, pay a stranger a compliment, offer to help a friend or just do something small like make a cup of coffee for a busy colleague. When you’re appreciated, you instantly know that you’ve brightened someone else’s day and it releases feel-good endorphins. Remember how good it feels when someone does something nice for you? When you know you’ve made someone happy, you feel fantastic!
4. Take Some Exercise
Sometimes it’s hard to get to the gym! Not only is time precious – filled up with work, family, friends and chores, for lots of people, the thought of exercise is enough to send them running in the other direction (pardon the pun). However, exercise is what you need to release those happy hormones again and is a superb stress-reliever. Exercise makes you feel better about yourself and if you do go to a gym, it gives you the added bonus of being surrounded by people giving you a sense of community. Exercise is part of self-care and that’s vital for everyone to do, to feel good. Even if you’re not partial to lifting weights or using the step machine, a daily walk in the fresh air for 20 minutes will make you feel much lighter inside.
5. Show Yourself Some Love
Following on from exercise as self-care, if you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be able to build confidence. Self-care is really important and encompasses a variety of different things, from taking a luxurious bubble bath with candles to being mindfully kind to yourself. Make time to do things you enjoy, take in a happy movie with a good friend, spend time with your loved ones, read a book that encourages positive thinking. Boost your confidence by buying a new top that you know suits your colouring. Feeling good about yourself goes a long way to self-esteem building and confidence.
6. Sleep Well
If you don’t sleep well, you won’t function well. Sleep problems create anxiety and when you don’t get sufficient rest, you are far more irritable. When you have a good night’s sleep, you feel much more able to cope with the day ahead. If you do have sleep problems, making sure you relax for a good hour or so before bed can help as can having a dark room and banishing all electronic items from the bedroom. Be sure to stop using your iPad or tablet/mobile phone a good hour before you go to bed because their bright lights can interrupt sleep patterns.
7. Eat Well
Eating well will also help you feel better about yourself and a nutritious diet nourishes the body and mind, while stabilising mood. If you don’t eat, you don’t feel good, fact. The body needs an abundance of vitamins and minerals to function properly so make sure you enjoy a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and “good” fats along with plenty of fruit and vegetables and schedule a proper breakfast, lunch and dinner.
8. Don’t Drink or Smoke
Turning to cigarettes, recreational drugs or alcohol is a temptation especially as they can boost mood. However, that mood-enhancer is only for the short term and obviously damages your body in the long-term. Remember, dependency on any of these addictive things can stop you from dealing with your problems. It’s fine to have an alcoholic drink once in a while but when it becomes a regular occurrence, it becomes problematic. The bottom line is don’t use cigarettes, recreational drugs or alcohol as a crutch.
9. Set Yourself a Goal!
Challenge yourself. If you believe in the impossible, it will happen! Set yourself a goal – perhaps it’s rock climbing, or to complete a half marathon? Maybe you want to try for that promotion? Or it could be you‘d like to broaden your social life. Write down the goals you want to achieve and choose one at a time, if you want to recruit a friend or a colleague to help – don’t be frightened to ask, remember – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Set yourself a time-scale and make it a project. When you achieve one of your goals, you’ll feel an incredible sense of accomplishment and that’s a real confidence booster.
These tips are designed to help give you a self-esteem boost or greater confidence. However, if you do feel depressed or anxious on a regular basis, you might find some benefit in visiting a professional counsellor or making an appointment with your GP. It’s important to explore the reasons why you don’t feel yourself and a professional will guide with further tips and ideas to boost your mood so you can make great strides in life.