It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from the 13th to the 19th of May hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, and this year’s theme is all about body image. In honour of that, I wanted to talk about confidence and how to build yours. Confidence is not just about your appearance but about your whole self, about how you see yourself and how you feel about yourself. Some tips to build confidence are included below.
1. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones
When you find yourself thinking something negative about yourself, stop in the moment and try to set aside that negative thought. Actively think about an aspect of yourself that you feel good about and replace that negative thought with a positive one.
2. Make a list of your good qualities
Writing down a list of all of the wonderful things about you can be a great way to see how fantastic you are written there on paper. This can be hard if you aren’t feeling confident, but take your time and really find things to write, no matter how small or large.
3. Surround yourself with supportive people
Ensuring that you are surrounding yourself with people in your life who are supportive, who encourage you and build your confidence rather than taking away from it, is such an important aspect of feeling good about yourself.
4. Take good care of yourself
Practising self-care and being kind to yourself is a good way to build confidence; self-grooming, good hygiene, making sure you are doing things that make you feel happy inside, all of these are beneficial.
5. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone
Challenging yourself to try new things or to gradually face things that make you feel a little nervous can allow you to see that you can handle things that you are worried about.
6. Don’t talk down about yourself
Don’t allow yourself to talk negatively about yourself: build yourself up, don’t put yourself down.
7. Accept compliments, don’t brush them off
When people give you compliments say thank you and accept those compliments, don’t brush them off or say that you don’t deserve them; really listen to the compliments people are giving you and allow yourself to feel good about them.
8. Figure out what you are good at and nurture those talents
By figuring out what you are really good at in life, whether this be professional things, hobbies, talents or an aspect of your personality such as being there for others, praise yourself for these skills and really nurture them; spend more time doing the things that you feel you really excel at.
9. Attend counselling if you feel that you need additional help
If you feel your low self-esteem is impacting your life and you need help with it, attending therapy and asking for professional help is a wonderful step; that’s you doing something about it and recognising that you need some assistance to build that confidence up. That’s a sign of great strength, not a weakness to ask for that support.
10. Dress and groom yourself in ways that YOU feel good about
It’s important that you dress and present yourself in whatever way you feel comfortable, not in a way that society deems favourable. Present yourself in whatever way that makes you feel good about yourself so that you feel like your real authentic self.
11. Set goals that you know you can achieve and praise yourself for achieving them
Setting realistic goals that you know you are going to be able to achieve and really excel at can be a brilliant way to build your confidence, even if these are just day to day things that you set yourself at the beginning of the day. Even writing them down in a list and ticking them off as you go, seeing yourself achieve the things you have set out to can make you feel so good inside.
12. Spoil yourself
Remember to spoil yourself and pamper yourself, this is all part of self-care and treating yourself well can have a big impact on how you feel internally.
13. Use positive affirmations
When you look in the mirror tell yourself, whether this be out loud or inside your head, how good you look; how well you’re doing; how much you’re going to achieve that day; how well you’re coping. It may feel silly at first but regularly taking notice and telling yourself all of these positive things can help you in time to think more positively about yourself.
14. Talk to those around you and ask for their guidance
You don’t have to feel alone, lots of people struggle with low self-esteem and talking to people in your life about how you are feeling can help you to get the support you need; voicing your concerns out loud to someone you trust can really help take the weight out of some of the negative thoughts you may be having.