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We all suffer from lack of confidence at one time or another, whether it be for a certain social situation, a difficult phone call that we have to make or maybe a presentation that we have to give at work.

Having a lack of confidence at certain given times is not a bad thing - it makes us human, and more able to empathise with our friends and family who may be having those same doubts.

When we have a healthy self-confidence we tend to feel positive about ourselves and about life in general. It makes us better able to deal with life's ups and downs but when our self-confidence is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light. We then feel less able to take on the challenges that life throws at us.

Lack of confidence can become insidious – it can creep slowly into more areas of our life and become debilitating in some situations. If it becomes a long-term problemit can have a harmful effect on our mental health and our day-to-day lives.

Lacking confidence at work can stop you from voicing your opinion or showing your skills. This could hinder your progression and in turn make you feel even less confident. If you have low self-confidence in social situations it can affect your relationships with friends, family and partners. This may hold you back from meeting people or even cause you to isolate yourself socially.

You may start avoiding things you find challenging which in the short term, might make you feel safe. However in the longer term, this can backfire because it reinforces your underlying doubts and fears and teaches you the unhelpful rule that the only way to cope is by avoiding things.

Living long term with low self-confidence can also harm your mental health and lead to problems such as depression and anxiety.

Ways to Help Yourself

Recognise what you're good at – we tend to be good at the things we really enjoy which can really boost our mood.

Build positive relationships – and spend less time with the people who don’t support or appreciate you.

Be kind to yourself – we are so self-critical! Be kind and gentle to yourself as you would be to your partner, children or best friend. Think what you'd say to a friend in a similar situation. We often give far better advice to others than we do to ourselves.

Learn to be assertive – this means respecting other people's opinions and needs, but expecting the same from them. Also look at an assertive person that you admire and pick up hints and tips from them.

Start saying "no" - people with low self-confidence often feel they have to say yes to other people, even when they do not really want to. We then risk becoming overburdened, resentful, angry and depressed.

Give yourself a challenge – setting yourself a goal and then achieving it will massively increase your self-confidence. Start small and increase your challenges as your confidence grows.

If you need further help, consider hypnotherapy.

By accessing your unconscious mind, a hypnotherapist can help you start to take control about how you are feeling about yourself, working with you to discover what may have caused you to develop low-confidence, and help you to feel more confident.

Your inner voice is often your biggest critic, but it is possible to overcome negative thoughts, no matter how deeply embedded they may seem. A hypnotherapist can help you ‘re-teach’ your unconscious mind and help you to see yourself in a kinder light.

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