Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel a bit down on yourself, but for no apparent reason? It’s okay, they happen to all of us. Sometimes friends or family will advise you to “just realize how amazing you are!”, but that is a bit easier said than done. Here are some easy, concrete ways to add a little boost of self-confidence to your day, whether you are in desperate need, or you just like feeling awesome!
1 | Let Those Bad Thoughts Out
Sometimes the first, very important step to feeling better is facing what has made you feel bad in the first place. Contrary to popular belief, ignoring the bad feelings and focusing on the good is not always the best way to fight off that dark cloud. In fact, bad feelings can get bottled up if not attended to, and the emotions behind them could overwhelm you (usually at an inconvenient time, as life sometimes goes). An easy way to address and discount your self-doubts is to make them tangible, and then take away their substance. For instance, writing all the negative thoughts on a piece of paper and then ripping the paper up and throwing it in the garbage. For a more modern and trendy way to do this exercise, visit a website for anonymous typing, such as Cathartic. Releasing these unwanted thoughts and feelings from the bounds of your mind could already start to help you feel lifted from their burden.
2 | Reward Yourself for Good Thoughts
Who doesn’t like candy? Well actually, surprisingly candy isn’t everyone’s favorite, but everyone has a little treat or guilty pleasure that they like to enjoy. A fun and rewarding way to boost self-confidence is to think of all the amazing things about you, and give yourself a little reward for each thing you can think of (I’ll use candy as my example because I definitely have a sweet tooth). At times when things feel a bit rough, whip out your favorite treat and a pen and paper, and start listing all the great qualities you possess. Feel free to do this in private, as I know it can sometimes be hard to list attributes as that could seem conceited (but either way, you deserve it!). For each quality you can think of, reward yourself with a piece of your favorite candy!
This method of self-appreciation works on two levels. First, by rewarding yourself for listing positive attributes, you're utilizing operant conditioning, which improves your odds of thinking positive thoughts about yourself in the future. Secondly, you're employing classical conditioning, by associating positive thoughts about yourself with an enjoyable piece of candy. Then, at times when you are already feeling great and happen to eat that same candy again, it can bring back thoughts of how totally awesome you are. For more on that topic, you can visit this link, which does a good job describing those concepts.
3 | Do Something That You Like to Do
Everyone has at least one special talent, if not more. An interactive way to exhibit some of your awesome qualities is to put them to use! Maybe you’re a very talented baker, a painter, or a songwriter. If you’re feeling a bit low, make some cookies, paint of beautiful picture, or write a catchy song! Performing some of your favorites hobbies that are fun and successful for you, can be very rewarding and reminiscent of some of the wonderful things that you are capable of. Trust me, when you are eating those delicious cookies, looking at that exquisite painting, or dancing along to the song you created, you won’t be able to help feeling accomplished and confident in your abilities.
4 | Watch Those Cheesy (But Amazing) Beauty Campaign Videos
Sometimes our self-confidence issues can arise from our opinions of our looks. It is easy to see ourselves as less attractive than other people see us, but the reasoning behind this is all mental. Seeing ourselves up-close and personal in the mirror every day gives us the opportunity to see all of our little flaws. Everyone has flaws, even those supermodels in the magazines who don’t seem to have any inch of flaw on their body. However, ours stand out to us more because we notice them, and then when we look in the mirror they are much more salient. Other people don’t notice these flaws like we do, or even like we think they do. This is a prime example of the Spotlight Effect, a phenomenon in which people think that others notice their flaws or failures much more than others actually do. A fun and relatable way to remind yourself that the way we see ourselves is a bit distorted from the way others see us is to pop open YouTube and find some of those fun “inner and outer beauty” videos. You can watch the one embedded above to get you started!
5 | Random Acts of Kindness
A final fun and easy way to boost your feelings about yourself is to boost others’ feelings about themselves. Going out of your way to give a friend or even a stranger a small compliment can really brighten someone’s day, and in turn brighten yours. This strategy is a double whammy because while bringing an uplifting mood to your day, you bring one to someone else, who may in turn continue the chain.
In the society that we live in today, it is easy to feel down on yourself when comparing yourself to others. It’s important to remember that day to day, you are seeing everyone’s highlight reel, while you experience all of your own ups and downs, so it is not even a fair comparison. These simple tips are easy, free, low time-commitment ways to boost your self-confidence, and keep it there. Now I'd like to hear from you! What are your most tried and true ways of uplifting your self-confidence? I'd love to hear them. Please share in the comments below. Thanks and be well.
about the author
Hi! I'm Jackie, a psychology undergrad at Vanderbilt who loves dogs more than just about anything. When I'm not busy mentoring, you can find me playing or watching volleyball, playing the violin or, of course, watching a ton of Netflix!