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We all have times when we lack confidence and don’t feel good about ourselves.
But when low self-
When our self-
What causes low self-
You may have found it difficult to live up to other people’s expectations of you, or to your own expectations.
Stress and difficult life events, such as serious illness or a bereavement, can have a negative effect on self-
How does low self-
The problem with thinking we’re no good is that we start to behave as if it’s true. “Low self-
If you have low self-
“In the short term, avoiding challenging and difficult situations makes you feel a lot safer,” says Professor Williams. “In the longer term, this avoidance can actually backfire because it reinforces your underlying doubts and fears. It teaches you the unhelpful rule that the only way to cope is by avoiding things.”
Living with low self-
How to have healthy self-
In order to boost self-
“You need to look at your beliefs, how you learned them and why you believe them,” says Professor Williams. “Then actively begin to gather and write down evidence that disconfirms them.”
Learn to spot the negative thoughts you have about yourself. You may tell yourself you are "too stupid" to apply for a new job, for example, or that "nobody cares" about you. Start to note these negative thoughts and write them down on a piece of paper or in a diary, suggests Professor Williams. Ask yourself when you first started to think these thoughts.
Next, start to write down evidence that challenges these negative beliefs: "I am really good at cryptic crosswords" or "My sister calls for a chat every week". Write down other positive things you know to be true about yourself, such as "I am thoughtful" or "I am a great cook" or "I am someone that others trust". Also write down good things that other people say about you.
Aim to have at least five things on your list and add to it regularly. Then put your list somewhere you can see it. That way, you can keep reminding yourself that you are OK.
“It’s about helping people recognise they have strengths as well as weaknesses, like everyone else, and begin to recognise those strengths in themselves,” says Professor Williams.
“You might have low confidence now because of what happened when you were growing up,” he says. “But we can grow and develop new ways of seeing ourselves at any age.”
Other ways to improve low self-
Here are some other simple techniques that may help you feel better about yourself.
Recognise what you are good at
We are all good at something, whether it’s cooking, singing, doing puzzles or being a friend. We also tend to enjoy doing the things we are good at, which can help to boost your mood.
Build positive relationships
If you find certain people tend to bring you down, try to spend less time with them, or tell them how you feel about their words or actions. Seek out relationships with people who are positive and who appreciate you.
Be kind to yourself
Professor Williams advises: “Be compassionate to yourself. That means being gentle to yourself at times when you feel like being self-
Learn to be assertive
Being assertive is about respecting other people’s opinions and needs, and expecting the same from them.
One trick is to look at other people who act assertively and copy what they do. “It’s not about pretending you’re someone you’re not,” says Professor Williams. “It’s picking up hints and tips from people you admire and letting the real you come out. There’s no point suddenly saying, ‘I’m going to be Chris Hoy’, but you might be able to get your bike out and do a bit of cycling for the first time in ages.”
Start saying 'no'
People with low self-
“For the most part, saying no doesn’t upset relationships,” says Professor Williams. “It can be helpful to take a scratched-
Give yourself a challenge
We all feel nervous or afraid to do things at times. People with healthy self-
Set yourself a goal, such as joining an exercise class or going to a social occasion. Achieving your goals will help to increase your self-
Where to find help for low self-
You may feel you need some help to start seeing yourself in a more positive light, therapies -