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. 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. For example, if you feel confident about a presentation you’re going to make, you’ll focus on delivering your message to your audience. If however, you lack confidence in your ability to communicate, you may worry that no one is listening to you or you might be preoccupied with messing up. Consequently, you might struggle to concentrate and you may stumble over your words—which may reinforce your belief that you are bad at giving presentations.
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.
1) Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
Whether you compare how you look to your friends on Facebook or you compare your salary to your friend’s income, comparisons aren’t healthy. In fact, a 2018 study published in Personality and Individual Differences found a direct link between envy and the way you feel about yourself.
Researchers found that people who compared themselves to others, experienced envy. And the more envy they experienced, the worse they felt about themselves. It can be a vicious cycle. Pay attention to times when you compare your wealth, possessions, skills, achievements, and attributes. Thinking that other people are better or have more will erode your confidence in yourself. When you notice you are drawing comparisons, remind yourself that doing so isn’t helpful. Everyone is running their own race and life isn’t a competition.
2) Take Care Of Your Body
It’s hard to feel good about yourself if you’re abusing your body. Skimping on sleep, eating an unhealthy diet, and refraining from exercise will take a toll on your well-being.
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. Make self-care a priority. When you’re feeling at your best physically, you’ll naturally feel more confident about yourself.
3) Treat Yourself With 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,” can help you feel good even if when you don’t perform as well as you hoped. Rather than beat yourself up or call yourself names, try speaking to yourself like you’d talk to a trusted friend. Cut yourself some slack, laugh at yourself, and remind yourself that no one is perfect.
4) Face 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. Practice facing some of your fears that stem from a lack of self-confidence. If you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself or you think that you’re going to mess up, try it anyway.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare or practice, of course. If you have a big speech coming up, practice in front of your friends and family so you’ll gain some confidence. But don’t wait until you feel 100 percent confident before you proceed. You might never get there. Fortunately, embracing a little self-doubt might actually help you perform better. A 2010 study found that athletes who embraced their self-doubt outperformed athletes who were 100 percent confident in themselves.
5) Try Doing What You Think You Can’t Do
When your brain tells you 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. And sometimes, the best way to deal with negative self-talk is by challenging those statements. Try doing things that your brain tells you that you can’t. 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, your social life, or your education, seek professional help. Sometimes, low self-confidence stems from a bigger issue, like a traumatic event from the past. At other times, it may be a symptom of a mental health problem.
And it is possible to have too much confidence. If you’re overly confident in your abilities, you might not take action. Being overconfident about your ability to ace a test might prevent you from studying. Or assuming that you don’t need to practice a presentation could cause you to be unprepared. So it’s important to have a healthy dose of self-confidence that helps you perform at your peak.