Self-confidence has an effect on everything we do, from job interviews to first dates. Such an important tool should be kept as sharp as possible so that you’re always on top form and mentally ready for anything. Whether you need to build your confidence from the ground up or simply need to put the cherry on top of the cake, these psychology tips to get your self-confidence back on track will do you wonders!
Not sure how good your self-confidence is? Try the Mind Tools Self Confidence Test, there’s a link at the end of the article.
1. Be Superstitious!
It sounds weird but recent research has shown that superstition can boost confidence when the superstitious person is in the presence of their lucky charm, or has heard phrases such as ‘break a leg’ before completing a task. Not only does it increase confidence but it also increases performance on tasks, which in turn increases confidence as the person has experienced more positive outcomes as a direct result of their own actions. In short, four leaf clovers may be lucky after all!
2. Work on Your Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy is an individual’s belief in their ability to carry out a task or deal with situations successfully. It is an idea that lies at the centre of Bandura’s social cognitive theory and it is widely used in psychology today. The general idea is that if you heighten your sense of self-efficacy then you will be more confident as a person due to having more belief in your chances of succeeding.
Here are a few tips on how to increase your self-efficacy:
(1) Get support from your friends and family,
(2) Observe others succeeding,
(3) Create situations you will easily succeed in,
(4) Get constructive feedback to fight against self-doubt,
(5) Try to stay happy and positive.
3. Work on Your Self-esteem
This goes hand in hand with improving your sense of self-efficacy. The two main components of confidence are self-esteem and self-efficacy, many psychologists would argue. For this reason it is important that we start feeling good about ourselves and learn to accept ourselves in order for our self-confidence to flourish. If you have low self-esteem the chances are that your thoughts and opinions of yourself will be low, causing you to think negatively about yourself and reflect on your past mistakes. This mind set is very damaging to self-confidence as you do not have belief in yourself or your actions.
Sources: NHS, Confidence: The surprising truth about how much you need and how to get it By Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Overly Positive Self-Evaluations and Personality: Negative Implications for Mental Health – Covlin and Funder, DOES HIGH SELF-ESTEEM CAUSE BETTER PERFORMANCE, INTERPERSONAL SUCCESS, HAPPINESS, OR HEALTHIER LIFESTYLES? Roy F. Baumeister, Jennifer D. Campbell, Joachim I. Krueger, and Kathleen D. Vohs
4. Think Positive – Use Self Affirmations
When on the topic of affirmations, the phrase ‘I am what I think’ springs to mind. An affirmation is a phrase that a person repeats over and over until it is true. Self-affirmations are phrases such as ‘I am beautiful’ or ‘I am confident’ and they can be used to make us believe in the phrase we are repeating. This is incredibly useful in building self-esteem and confidence as it gives the person saying the affirmations hope and belief in themselves that they would not otherwise have had. So when you’re feeling down in the dumps, keep your chin up and tell yourself: ‘I can do this’.
It might just work!
5. Seek Social Support
When you’re trying to build up your confidence, encouragement from friends and family can really help to give you that extra push. Social support systems are incredibly beneficial during times of stress and change so it is important that you surround yourself with friendly faces to keep you on track when building your confidence.
Sources: Baqutayan, S. (2011). Stress and Social Support. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 33(1), 29–34., Ozbay, F., Johnson, D. C., Dimoulas, E., Morgan, C. A., Charney, D., & Southwick, S. (2007). Social Support and Resilience to Stress: From Neurobiology to Clinical Practice. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 4(5), 35–40., Psychology Today
6. Have Self Compassion
Self-compassion is the act of caring about your own feelings and acknowledging and understanding your mistakes in a kind and forgiving manner. Studies have shown that self-compassion may actually be more beneficial to us than self-esteem, lowering anxiety and depression, and causing us to be more optimistic. Due to the problem targeting nature of self-compassion, people who are self-compassionate tend to be more motivated to succeed as they see their failures from a different perspective. Self-compassion will help with confidence as it will allow you to acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them rather than see them as failures that affect you as a person.
Sources: An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits – Kristin D. Neffa, Stephanie S. Rudea, Kristin L. Kirkpatrickb, Self-Compassion Increases Self-Improvement Motivation – Juliana G. Breines and Serena Chen
7. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
This is one of the most well-known tips for increasing your self-confidence but it is also one of the most important. When we are attempting to build up our confidence it can be a really hard blow to our self-esteem when we start comparing ourselves to others as we start finding flaws in everything we do. In an age of social media, it’s hard not to see things to get jealous over; everyone pretty has an Instagram you just have to follow, Pinterest shows all the cool stuff you wish you could have, Tumblr displays gorgeous location after location. The trick is to just ignore it. Look at what you have around you and think of the things you have been blessed with in your own life. This kind of thinking will make you feel more confident in your lifestyle and in your everyday activities because you’ll be able to see the good in your own life, as well as the good in the lives of others. Try to look at everything in a positive light.
Sources: Downward comparison principles in social psychology. Wills, Thomas A. , Social comparison and depression: Company’s effect on misery. Gibbons, Frederick X. , Psych Central, The Effects of Depression and Mood States on Social Comparison – Katsura SAKAMOTO and Akira SAKAMOTO , Social comparison and negative self-evaluations: An application to depression – Stephen R. Swallow, Nicholas A. Kuiper
Want to know how confident you are? Try Mind Tools’ Self Confidence Test!
Edited By: Lizzie Watson