5 Ways You Can Improve Your Self-Confidence As A Teenager

Updated February 2, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Without the right strategies and some intentionality, it can be hard to build or maintain a strong sense of self-confidence throughout your teen years. A lot is changing in your life, you’re in the process of figuring out who you are and what you want, and there’s often pressure to fit in with your peers. That said, building up your self-confidence now can help you save your mental health and set you up for success later in life. Let’s take a look at a few effective strategies for doing so.

Looking To Build Confidence?

What Is Self-Confidence And Why Is It Important?

The dictionary definition is, “a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment”. It can apply to any aspect of yourself, from your academic or athletic abilities to your appearance to your personal characteristics. A sense of confidence can help you put yourself out there, set and achieve goals, weather challenges, build healthy relationships, and cultivate good mental health. Without it, you may experience a fear of failure or judgment that holds you back from going after what you really want. Plus, knowing how to create and hold on to self-confidence can benefit you for years to come. 

Tips For Increasing Self-Confidence

Increasing your self-confidence is like building any other skill in that it takes patience, practice, and commitment. Here are a few tips you can try to work on it over time.

  1. Care For Yourself

It can be hard to feel confident in yourself if you’re not taking care of your body and mind. To give your confidence a boost, try cultivating healthy habits.

If you’re eating well, exercising often, and getting enough sleep regularly, it’ll likely be easier for you to see the positives in yourself and your life and not get as bogged down by negative or self-deprecating thoughts. Being able to show yourself love in the form of self-care can remind you that you’re deserving of this type of care, which can boost your confidence over time.

  1. Practice Setting Boundaries

Learning to set boundaries for what you do and do not want or feel comfortable with is a way to increase your confidence, too. The experience of standing up for yourself and being safer and happier as a result can help you feel more capable and in control. Boundary-setting is also an important skill that can help you with relationships in your adult life. 

If you’re unsure of how to get started or feel daunted at the prospect of standing up for yourself, you can practice speaking up for what you want or need when the stakes are low at first. For instance, you can put forth your own topic idea when working on a group project at school, or you can say no to extracurricular activities you don’t have time for or simply aren’t interested in. Over time, you’ll likely grow more confident in knowing what you want and communicating that to others.

  1. Avoid Mental Filtering

Mental filtering is just one of over a dozen common cognitive distortions, which are flawed, unhelpful ways of thinking and speaking to ourselves that can cause us pain. Noticing them is the first step toward being able to shift them, since they’re usually automatic thoughts that many of us aren’t normally aware of. 

Mental filtering means magnifying the negative aspects of a situation and minimizing or ignoring the positive ones. Once you start noticing this tendency in yourself, if it occurs, you can work on shifting it. Try not to minimize your achievements or overemphasize your mistakes, and regularly remind yourself of your good qualities and accomplishments. Positive self-talk has been linked to less anxiety and better performance in a variety of situations, both of which can boost your confidence. That means making an effort to replace thoughts that show signs of mental filtering with more positive ones can have significant benefits. 

  1. Practice Mindfulness

It’s never too early in life to learn how to cultivate mindfulness. It can offer a host of advantages, including being present to experience joy more fully and not getting as overwhelmed when negative emotions arise, both of which may also help you feel more confident. Studies have also shown that mindfulness may be linked to better mental health outcomes in general, including lower levels of depression and anxiety. To get started, you might try a free guided meditation that you can find online, or practice pausing a time or two throughout your day to ground yourself in your breath by inhaling and exhaling deeply a few times.

  1. Speak With A Therapist

Some studies point to a link between low self-esteem and depression. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, it can be important to get appropriate treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in particular is an effective treatment for depression, including when delivered virtually, so there’s no need to hesitate when seeking help for this condition. However, note that even if you don’t have concerns about a specific mental health condition, getting guidance from a trained therapist can be useful. They can help you uncover past trauma, limiting beliefs, or other cognitive distortions that may be holding you back from being as confident as you’d like. They can also assist you in identifying healthy ways to manage your emotions, take care of yourself, and grow your confidence overall.

If you’re interested in the convenience of online therapy, there are plenty of resources available. Virtual therapy platforms like TeenCounseling can match you with a licensed mental health professional who you can speak with via phone, video call, and/or online chat. They can help you address the concerns or challenges you may be facing and work with you on strategies for building a sense of self-confidence that can help you now and in the future.

Takeaway

Having a healthy sense of self-confidence can help you in various aspects of your life, from school to relationships to overall mental health. The tips in this article may help you increase yours over time.

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