Blame it on social distancing, quarantining and the new work-from-home norm, but people around the world seem to be suffering from lower self-esteem and self-confidence.
A British survey found that 20% of respondents said they feel less confident than they did before the coronavirus pandemic (Cosmetic Business).
AdCare, an addiction-recovery website, reported similar findings in the United States. The worst states for low self esteem during the COVID-19 pandemic are:
● 42% of surveyed Nebraskans say they have felt low self-esteem during the pandemic, as have …
● 41% of Maine residents
● 35% of Alaskans
● And more than 25% of residents from Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio and South Dakota
In another survey from OnePoll, 51% of surveyed Americans said the pandemic negatively impacted their feelings about their own bodies, and 40% said they could relate to the statement about passing by a mirror and not recognizing their own reflections.
Lastly, a scientific study of men and women found that stress caused by COVID-19 led to greater desire for thinness among women and muscularity among men, according to Science Daily.
As you can see from the handful of surveys and studies above, if you’re feeling less confident, insecure, not good about yourself, you are not alone!
So, what can we do to revive our self-esteem and rebuild self-confidence?
Start With Your Smile
People who feel better about their teeth are more likely to smile, and science says when we smile — even if we fake it a little — we feel better.
Is it time to brush up on your oral care routine? If you’ve gotten lazy about brushing and flossing, now’s the time to revisit your dentist’s advice and get back to regular brushing and flossing. In fact, now’s the time to get to the dentist and resume regular check-ups.
Next, add a peroxide-free teeth whitening gel that brightens your teeth without stripping away important minerals. After just a few uses, you will notice brighter teeth, plus you’ll feel good that you’re protecting and remineralizing your teeth.
Here are some more reasons to smile …
Learn Something New
What better way to smile more and instill a new sense of confidence in yourself than by learning something new. Self-confidence is, after all, the belief in ourselves that we can do something — write a book, run a marathon, get a promotion, win a game.
Many local community centers have been reopening and offering free or reduced-fee classes. You can also find a slew of how-to videos on YouTube, as well as some of the newer emerging sites like MasterClass, which has a fairly reasonable annual membership fee that gives users access to their entire library. Learn to cook from Gordon Ramsay, learn about jazz from Herbie Hancock, or learn about conservation from Dr. Jane Goodall.
Let Go of Doubt
In a Forbes article Dr. Maggie Warrell, author of “You’ve Got This,” writes: “Confidence is … the outcome of the thoughts we think and the actions we take.”
Warrell says the best way to build confidence is through acting. Carry yourself as if you already have the confidence you aspire to have. Easier said than done? Try it. Next time you attempt something and fail, take action in spite of your failure. Look at the failure not as failure but as though you can now handle more than you thought you could.
Or, simply walk into your local grocery store or favorite restaurant with a new stride. Shoulders back, head held high and smile confidently at others. Notice what happens — how do others act toward you? And how does that make you feel?
Now, be aware of those negative thoughts that creep into the forefront of your brain.
Quash Negative Self-Talk
Part of our own self-doubt comes from the inner voice that criticizes us, tells us “you can’t” and fixates on all the “dumb” things we do. Mayo Clinic lists six thought patterns that erode our self-esteem:
- Thinking in terms of all or nothing
- Dwelling on negative thoughts
- Discounting positive things that happen
- Jumping to negative conclusions
- Mistaking feelings for facts
- Negative self-talk
One of the best steps you can take with building your self-confidence is being aware of negative self-talk. As soon as the thoughts arise, mentally sweep them aside. If you notice that certain things trigger these thoughts — watching too much news, scrolling through social media, for example — limit your time spent on these activities.
After all, would you allow anyone else to talk to you the way your inner critic does? Not likely!
Connect With Kids
It’s hard to help your kids boost their own self-confidence when yours is lacking too. The Marine Corps Community Service site has a few suggestions for parents with school-age children, including asking kids for their opinion or advice on topics. Asking someone else for advice helps instill confidence in themselves, plus you’ve started a healthy conversation that you both can benefit from.
And what better way to boost your own self-confidence than by having a child look to you for your advice and opinions too?