Feeling a bit less confident than you used to be? According to Cosmetic Business, a British survey discovered that 20% of respondents report feeling less confident now than they were before the pandemic. It could be due to months of social distancing, working from home, being in quarantine, or general stress, but the feeling seems fairly common.
In fact, AdCare, an addiction-recovery website, has reported similar results in America. The worst state for low self-esteem caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is Nebraska, with 42% of respondents saying they felt lower self-esteem during the pandemic. Additional state numbers include:
- 41% of Maine residents
- 35% of Alaska residents
- Over 25% of residents from Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio and South Dakota
A survey from OnePoll found that 51% of surveyed Americans report that their feelings about their bodies were negatively affected by the pandemic. 40% said they could relate to a statement about not recognizing their reflections when they pass by a mirror.
And lastly, a scientific study by Science Daily found that COVID-19 stress led women to want to be thinner and men to be more muscular. So as you can see, if you happen to be facing similar struggles, you’re not alone. But is there anything you can do to get your confidence back?
It Starts with a Smile
Science says that when you smile, you feel better, even if it is a fake smile. And people who are happy with their teeth are more likely to smile. So consider ways to boost your smile, and you’ll start to feel just a bit better over time.
The good news is that it is easy to brighten and improve your smile. If being at home a lot made you a bit lazy, now is the right time to get back on track. Start brushing and flossing regularly and make an appointment with your dentist. Get a cleaning and get back into the routine of regular check-ups.
You should also include a peroxide-free teeth whitening gel into your oral care routine. Look for one that whitens your smile without stripping away important minerals that protect your teeth. With regular use you’ll start to see results, and you’ll also feel better about your amped up oral care.
Now that you’re feeling more confident in your smile, you may be looking for reasons to flash those pearly whites. Here are a few smile-inspiring activities to get you started.
Learn New Things
Learning something new is an easy and quick way to get a boost of confidence. It doesn’t have to be something big, but it can be. Just don’t limit yourself to what counts, because everything from reading a book on a new topic, to winning a game or doing well at work counts!
You can also take a class at your local community center or dive into the how-to section on YouTube to learn new skills. There are also classes online, including sites like MasterClass. This one has an annual membership fee that gives you access to tons of classes taught by respected experts. For example, you can learn about storytelling from Neil Gaiman, explore science with Neil de Grasse Tyson, and try Mexican cooking with Gabriela Camara.
Dr. Maggie Warrell, author of “You’ve Got This,” wrote this in a Forbes article:
“Confidence is … the outcome of the thoughts we think and the actions we take.”
Warrell suggests that the best way you can build confidence is by acting. So instead of trying to achieve confidence, carry yourself “as if” you already have it. Sure, it may sound easier said than done, but it is worth a try. When you practice it daily, it becomes easier, and you’ll benefit. For example, the very next time you try something and fail, reframe that failure as a success because you took action and proved that you could handle more than you thought you could. Find the positive and embrace that part of the experience.
You can practice this in small ways daily as well. Just walk into the store or restaurant with a confident stride. Pull your shoulders back, hold your head high and smile with confidence. Take note of how people act to you, and how their reaction makes you feel.
Eliminate Negative Self-Talk
What would happen if you talked to others the way you talk to yourself? Many people have a lot of negative self-talk every day. This essentially means you’re constantly, and harshly, criticizing yourself. Not only is this self-defeating, it can take a very real toll on your self-esteem.
- All or nothing thinking
- Getting stuck on negative thoughts
- Minimizing positive things
- Leaping to negative conclusions
- Mistaking your feelings for facts
- Negative self-talk
One of the best things you can do to boost your confidence and self-esteem is to start to become aware of negative self-talk. When you notice it happening, make a note and sweep the thought away. Pay attention to what triggered the thought as well. This can help you figure out where the negativity is coming from, so you can limit it in your life.
It is not easy to stop negative self-talk, but it is critical in rebuilding your confidence. Give yourself time and be patient; you didn’t learn it overnight, and you can’t unlearn it instantly either!
Talk with Your Kids
How can you help your kids become confident when you’re struggling? It is a real struggle, but it is important to tackle, so they don’t end up in a cycle of negative self-talk, low self-esteem and low confidence. How can you do it? The Marine Corps Community Service Site offers some suggestions aimed at parents of school-aged children. One of their suggestions is to ask your kids for their opinion or advice. Anytime you ask someone for their opinion and advice, you boost their confidence. The same goes for kids, plus it gives you a great opportunity to bond with your kids.
And let’s face it, having your kids look up to you and share their ideas with you is a fantastic way to feel better about yourself as a person and parent!