Self-confidence doesn’t always come easily, even at the best of times. In fact, for most of us, it can be an ongoing struggle; something we need to keep working at.

But this past year has been crushing, especially for many older people. Having struggled with loneliness, isolation and anxiety like never before, it’s no surprise so many feel their confidence is on the floor.

So, what is confidence?

According to the dictionary, the word comes from a Latin word 'fidere’, which means ‘to trust’. So, having self-confidence is having trust in one's self; believing in your skills and abilities.

Confidence enables us to face the world and to feel and be ready for life’s experiences. It allows us to step out of our comfort zone to do things that are new to our day-to-day lives.

When we feel confident, we’re more motivated. We have more energy. We know nothing is insurmountable. We feel good about ourselves.

This might sound far from how you feel right now, but the good news is there are small, practical ways to help build your self-confidence.

These are my favourite five:

Set daily goals

It’s easy to let the days slip away in lockdown, but there’s nothing like a sense of achievement to give you a boost. Setting realistic goals is a great way to focus the mind and help you use your time more productively.

Make a list of all those tasks hanging over you - from changing the bed sheets to watching that film you’ve always wanted to see - and take on one each day.

Be your own best friend

Ironic as it sounds, when life takes a turn for the worse, people with low confidence are often the first to give themselves a hard time.

A good way to avoid is this: next time you face a challenge, instead of dwelling on it, take a step back and ask yourself three questions: What can I learn from the situation? How can I improve the situation? What result do I want to see?

This simple shift in mindset will help you see everything from a more objective, wiser perspective. 

Dress up for yourself

Unless you’re feeling unwell, mooching around in your PJs all day is almost bound to bring your mood down. Making the effort to look nice when you’re stuck indoors might feel just that: a huge effort, but sometimes it’s the simple things that lift our spirits.

Clean clothes, a little grooming, a touch of lippy or a splash of aftershave can do wonders for your self-confidence. Don’t save it all for best.

Learn something new

Taking up a new hobby can be a great stress reliever as it helps you break out of your normal patterns of behaviour and gives you something else to think about. It also shows you that you’re capable of doing more than you think.

Whatever you’d like to try, whether it’s painting by numbers or mastering your new ipad, just have a go. If you can get to grips with it, you’ll unlock your potential and see yourself in a new light.

Appreciate your life

Sometimes you need to make a conscious effort to see the glass as half full and acknowledge the good things in life. It can help to write down all the great things you’ve done in your long life – there must be many.

Cultivating a positive mindset in this way will make you feel better and improve your entire outlook on life – and this can help enormously when it comes to connecting with others.

Judith Sabah is a Motivationalist, Practitioner in Neuro Linguistics Programming (NLP) and Breakthrough Coach for women.

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