How to Be More Confident

Self-care tips for better confidence

Verywell / Jiaqi Zhou

Self-confidence is a feeling of trust in your abilities, qualities, and judgment. Research suggests that confidence is important to health and psychological well-being. Learn how to be more confident and some of the benefits of increasing your trust and belief in yourself.

What Is Confidence?

Confidence can refer to a general sense of belief and trust in your own ability to control your life or it might be more situation-specific. For example, you might have high self-confidence in an area of expertise but feel less confident in other areas.

Having a healthy level of self-confidence can help you become more successful in your personal and professional life. Research has found, for example, that people who are more confident tend to achieve more academically.

Confidence can also play a role in the motivation to pursue your goals, with studies linking higher levels of self-confidence in athletes with increased motivation to practice their sport of choice. Your level of confidence even affects how you present yourself to others.

How to Be More Confident

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to increase your self-confidence. Whether you lack confidence in one specific area or struggle to feel confident about anything, these confidence boosters can help.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Do you compare how you look to people you follow on Instagram? Or maybe you compare your salary to what your friend earns. Social comparison theory explains that making comparisons is natural. But it isn't likely to help boost your self-confidence. It may even have the opposite effect. 

A 2018 study published in Personality and Individual Differences reports a direct link between envy and the way you feel about yourself. Specifically, researchers noted that when people compared themselves to others, they experienced envy. The more envy they had, the worse they felt about themselves.

How do you build confidence when you notice that you are drawing comparisons? First, remind yourself that doing so isn’t helpful. Everyone is running their own race and life isn’t a competition.

If you’re feeling envious of someone else’s life, it's also helpful to remind yourself of your own strengths and successes. Keep a gratitude journal to remember the areas in life where you are blessed. This can help you focus on your own life versus the lives of others.

Surround Yourself With Positive People

Take a moment and think about how your friends make you feel. Do your friends lift you up, or do they bring you down? Are they constantly judging you, or do they accept you for who you are? 

The people you spend time with can influence your thoughts and attitudes about yourself, perhaps more than you realize. So, pay attention to how others make you feel. If you feel bad about yourself after hanging out with a particular person, it may be time to say goodbye

Instead, surround yourself with people who love you and want the best for you. Seek out others who are positive and can help build your confidence. In fact, self-confidence and a positive attitude go hand-in-hand.

Take Care of Your Body

It’s hard to feel good about yourself if you’re abusing your body. On the other hand, if you practice self-care, you know you're doing something positive for your mind, body, and spirit—and you'll naturally feel more confident as a result.

Here are a few self-care practices linked to higher levels of self-confidence:

  • Diet: Healthy eating comes with many benefits, including higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. When you fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods, you feel healthier, stronger, and more energized, which can result in feeling better about yourself.
  • Exercise: Studies consistently show that physical exercise boosts confidence. For instance, 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.
  • Meditation: More than just a relaxation practice, meditation can help boost self-confidence in several ways. For one, it helps you to recognize and accept yourself. Meditation also teaches you to stop negative self-talk and disconnect from unhelpful mental chatter interfering with your confidence.
  • Sleep: Skimping on sleep can take a toll on your emotions. Conversely, good-quality sleep has been linked with positive personality traits, including optimism and self-esteem.

Caring for yourself is an important part of feeling confident. Make sure you are getting what you need to feel good about yourself and your abilities.

Be Kind to Yourself

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness when you make a mistake, fail, or experience a setback. It allows you to become more emotionally flexible and helps you better navigate challenging emotions, enhancing your connection to yourself and others.

A 2015 study connects self-compassion with self-confidence. So the next time you're in a challenging situation, recognize that being imperfect or falling short at times is a part of being human. Do your best to navigate these experiences with compassion toward yourself.

Practice Positive Self-Talk

Negative self-talk can limit your abilities and lessen your confidence by convincing your subconscious that you "can't handle" something or that it is "too hard" and you "shouldn't even try." Self-talk that is optimistic, on the other hand, can help foster self-compassion, overcome self-doubt, and take on new challenges.

The next time you begin to think 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. Then find a way to turn those thoughts around into more positive self-talk.

Here are a few examples of ways to challenge pessimistic self-talk and reframe your thoughts into a more positive way of thinking:

  • Instead of telling yourself "I can't handle this" or "this is impossible," try reminding yourself that "I can do this" or "all I have to do is try."
  • Instead of telling yourself "I can't do anything right" when you make a mistake, remind yourself "I can do better next time" or "at least I learned something."
  • Instead of saying you "hate" public speaking, use a milder word like "don't like" and remind yourself that everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

Face Your Fears

Stop putting things off until you feel more confident—like asking someone on a date or applying for a promotion. One of the best ways to build your confidence in these situations is by facing your fears head-on.

Practice facing some of your fears that stem from a lack of self-confidence. If you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself or think that you’re going to mess up, try it anyway. Besides, a little self-doubt can help improve performance. 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 gain more confidence in yourself. In the end, this can help prevent you from taking risks that will result in major negative consequences.

Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares strategies that can help you learn to truly believe in yourself, featuring IT Cosmetics founder Jamie Kern Lima.

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Confident vs. Insecure Characteristics

When your goal is to become more confident, it can be helpful to understand the different characteristics between someone with self-confidence and someone who is more insecure with themselves. Here are just some of the differences between the two.

Confident People
  • Celebrate other people's success

  • Stay open-minded

  • Think positively

  • Willing to take risks

  • Able to laugh at themselves

  • Decisive

  • Always learning and growing

  • Admit mistakes

  • Accept responsibility

Insecure People
  • Judgmental and jealous of others

  • Close-minded

  • Pessimistic

  • Fear change

  • Hide flaws

  • Indecisive

  • Act like a know-it-all

  • Always make excuses

  • Blame others

Benefits of Self-Confidence

Being confident in yourself just feels good. That said, having self-confidence can also bring many additional benefits at home, at work, and within your relationships. Here's a look at a few of the positive effects of self-confidence:

  • Better performance: Rather than waste time and energy worrying that you aren't good enough, you can devote your energy to your efforts. Ultimately, you'll perform better when you feel confident.
  • Healthier relationships: Having self-confidence not only impacts how you feel about yourself, but it helps you better understand and love others. It also gives you the strength to walk away from a relationship if you're not getting what you want or deserve.
  • Openness to try new things: When you believe in yourself, you're more willing to try new things. Whether you apply for a promotion or sign up for a cooking class, putting yourself out there is a lot easier when you have confidence in yourself and your abilities.
  • Resilience: Believing in yourself can enhance your resilience or ability to bounce back from any challenges or adversities you face in life.

Recap

Improving your self-confidence can have a range of positive effects on your life. In addition to helping you feel better about yourself and your abilities, it can make your relationships stronger and make you more resilient to stress.

A Word From Verywell

Everyone struggles with confidence issues at one time or another. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to help you feel more confident. In many cases, learning how to act confident can actually help you feel more confident.

Sometimes low self-confidence might be a sign of a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. If your self-confidence issues interfere with your work, social life, or education, consider talking to a mental health professional. A therapist can help you better understand the problem, recommend treatments, and work with you to develop skills to build your confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can you be more socially confident?

    If your confidence tends to lag in social situations, try to change your perspective. Instead of looking at group interactions as a stressor, view them as an opportunity to work on building your self-confidence. Taking someone with you who makes you feel confident can also give you the self-belief needed to feel more comfortable around groups of people. Creating the social event yourself may help as well because you will know what to expect and have some level of control. If social situations cause you great anxiety along with reduced self-confidence, talking to a mental health professional can help.

  • How can you be more confident in a relationship?

    One way to develop confidence in a relationship is to recognize your worth. When you know the value you bring to others, it helps you feel more confident in yourself. It can also be helpful to stay in the present and not worry about the past or the future. If your lack of confidence in relationships is due to a fear of being rejected, remember that not everyone is compatible. Just as you might not be for them, they might also not be for you—it's nothing personal.

  • How can you be more confident at work?

    If your lack of confidence in the workplace is tied to concerns about your performance, check in regularly with a superior to see how you're doing. Ask for feedback about areas where you can improve, then work on them to feel more confident in your duties. It can also be helpful to consider where you excel at work and perform these activities as often as possible. If you do make a mistake, admit it, learn from it, and move on. No one is perfect, so you shouldn't expect yourself to be either.

  • How can you be more confident about your body?

    If your confidence is tied to your physical appearance, developing a more positive body image can help. Instead of focusing on areas of your body that you dislike, spend more time appreciating the areas you feel good about. Also, don't compare your body to anyone else's. No two bodies are the same and each has its own strengths. Remember that there is room in this world for people of all shapes and sizes.

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