Here's How to Develop Self-Confidence — and Why It'll Improve Your Health
Having self-confidence has amazing benefits for your overall wellbeing. Believing in yourself and your abilities can push you to make some incredible changes in your life on both the personal and professional fronts. On that same note, if you struggle with self-confidence, it can have a negative impact on your daily choices. And developing self-confidence is often easier said than done — but it’s something you can do when you get familiar with the process. Learn more about the importance of self-confidence and how it affects your overall health, and then prepare to make positive changes with tips you can apply in your daily life to boost your self-confidence.
What Does It Mean to Have Self-Confidence?
Self-confidence, at its core, is about your perception of who you are. It's not only about feeling positive about how you look, which people tend to think of when they hear the term. While that, understandably, matters to people because of the society we live in, self-confidence primarily involves having a positive attitude about your skills and your character. It’s about standing firm and being assertive in who you are as a person, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and, ultimately, trusting yourself, notes the University of South Florida’s Counseling Center.
People who are self-confident tend to feel like they have control over their lives. In contrast, however, "low self-confidence might make you feel full of self-doubt, be passive or submissive, or have difficulty trusting others. You may feel inferior, unloved, or be sensitive to criticism," notes USF’s Counseling Center.
People aren’t born with self-confidence, and we all have insecurities and down moments when it comes to the ways we see ourselves. Self-confidence is something you have to work on throughout your entire life. That can seem daunting, but developing and maintaining self-confidence is highly important for your mental health and overall wellbeing.
Why Is Self-Confidence So Important?
Self-confidence is vital for helping you become happier in life. Being self-confident in who you are and in your strengths boosts your mood and can help you make better decisions for yourself. People who don’t feel too confident in themselves often shy away from opportunities and people that could help them improve their lives. Or, they might remain attached to the wrong people or jobs because they feel like they don't deserve better.
Lacking confidence can keep you from pursuing bigger dreams and goals for yourself because you might feel like you don't believe you have what it takes to reach them. That can leave you stuck in the same place — physically, financially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When you do believe in yourself and love yourself, you walk, talk and act differently. And what's even better is that walking in your own confidence can quietly give people the strength and inspiration to do the same.
How Does Your Self-Confidence Affect Your Mental and Physical Health?
Self-confidence is limited only to the ways you see yourself as a person. It can also have effects on your mental health and even your physical health, and it "affects virtually every facet of your life," notes the Mayo Clinic. According to GoodTherapy, feeling self-confident can help reduce anxiety because it improves your ability to overcome a variety of obstacles, whether they’re personal, professional or even physical. People with high self-confidence may also experience less fear around unknown situations because they feel as though they can handle what life might throw at them.
People with higher levels of self-confidence are also less likely to feel stressed out or experience the physical effects of stress. They often have more energy because they enjoy greater peace of mind, and spending less time worrying helps them feel more energized to pursue their goals. In contrast, people with low self-confidence may develop unhealthy life habits like binge eating or avoiding eating, not getting enough sleep or experiencing other issues that can affect their physical and mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that people who have low self-confidence are also predisposed to develop drug addictions, often to escape negative thoughts about themselves.
When you begin to work on building up your belief in yourself, you’ll see measurable results in various areas of your life. At work, you’ll perform better when you feel confident. You’ll also have a stronger sense of perseverance when it comes to challenges. A healthy sense of self-confidence also helps you keep the right people in your corner, rather than maintaining toxic relationships just to feel like you have people around. It gives you the courage to walk away from situations that don’t serve you and what you want for your life.
Tips to Build Up Your Self-Confidence
Building up your self-confidence can take work, honesty and self-awareness, but it’ll help you become your best self. Use these effective tips to strengthen your confidence and start realizing your potential:
- Give yourself credit for your strengths and what you’ve been able to accomplish so far in your life. If you notice yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, stop them and replace them with positive statements.
- Get clear about who you are and what you want out of life. Make a list of all of the goals you've accomplished, as well as the great characteristics you possess, and read it on the days you're feeling down.
- Look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself compliments, especially ones that you may not hear often.
- Try things that make you uncomfortable. Go to a networking seminar or event to meet new people. Take yourself out on a date. Try a new hobby or activity.
- Remember that perfection doesn't really exist. Embrace your quirks and your flaws. They're ultimately what make you who you are and what separate you from others.
- Speak affirmations to yourself throughout the day, even when you're looking at yourself in the mirror. Say positive and bold statements like "I am enough," "My thoughts and opinions are valid" and "I am capable of doing great things."
- Develop new, realistic goals for your life. Create a list of action items to begin working towards them.
- Practice self-care for your overall health. Work on a better diet, get more sleep and practice meditation to clear your mind.
- Find a healthy outlet that makes you feel happy and strong, whether it’s working out or journaling.
- Try to stop comparing yourself to other people. If you have to delete social media for a while, do that too. You’ll remove the temptation to look at other people's highlight reels and feel discouraged about your life.