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Self-confidence is when you believe in yourself and your abilities. It sounds simple, but it can be a tough thing to build up. And of course there’s the fact that dealing with mental health issues can affect how you feel about yourself. We’ve put together some handy tips to help you out. If you find yourself struggling with these tips, it’s a good idea to seek help from a mental health professional.

1. Look at what you’ve already achieved

Make a list of all the things you’re proud of in your life, which might be getting a good mark on a recent exam, or learning to surf, or some other achievement. Celebrate your successes, whether big or small. Keep your list close by and add to it whenever you do something you’re proud of.

When you’re low in confidence, pull out the list and use it to remind yourself of all the awesome stuff you've done. Remember: your achievements are unique to you. Try not to compare your achievements with other people’s.

achieve your dream

2. Think of things you're good at

Everyone has strengths and talents. What are yours? Write a list. Recognising what you’re good at, and trying to build on those things, will help you to build confidence in your abilities. Ask other people what they think you’re good at, and add those strengths and talents to your list.

3. Set some goals

Set some goals, and then work out the steps you need to take to achieve them. They don’t have to be big goals. Just aim initially for small achievements that you can tick off a list to help you gain confidence in your ability to get stuff done. They can even be things like baking a cake or planning a night out with friends.

goal is to win

4. Talk yourself up

You’re never going to feel confident if you have negative commentary running through your mind telling you that you’re no good. Think about your self-talk, and about how that might be affecting your self-confidence. Treat yourself like you would your best friend and cheer yourself on.

5. Get a hobby

Try to find something that you’re really passionate about. It could be photography, sport, cooking or anything else! When you’ve worked out what your passion is, commit yourself to spending time giving it a go. Chances are, if you’re interested or passionate about a certain activity, you’ll be motivated and will build skills more quickly.

What can I do now?

  • Remember that it takes time and persistence to build your self-confidence. Learn more about self-talk.
  • Check out ReachOut Forums – a safe and supportive space to connect with other young people who have experienced and worked through self-confidence issues.
  • Consider seeing a counsellor or psychologist to help develop strategies to build your self-confidence.