Life in 2014 can feel like one big competition. When most of us are vying for likes, re tweets and endorsements for everything from getting anew job to baking a particularly impressive apple strudel, it’s no wonder that many of us are a mess of insecurity. According to a 2006 study, women’s self-esteem peaks at the age of nine. With this incredibly bleak fact in mind, here are some ways to help boost your confidence, without going under the knife or even applying an Instagram filter…
Don’t cyber-stalk your friends
Do you live in constant fear that one day one of those‘Check who’s viewed your profile’ apps will actually work? Profile surfing is an easy way of procrastinating and feeds our need to compare ourselves with our peers. But, tempting as it is to trawl through photos of that party you weren’t invited to, the Instagrammed, ultra-happy faces you see on your News Feed are not only unrepresentative, but can also be incredibly depressing. Ban yourself from stalking, and limit your social media use to just a couple of checks a day to avoid temptation.
Boost your smile
Whether it’s lip-fillers or liposuction, having ‘work done’can feel like a natural and necessary part of self-improvement. But, if you are desperate to change the reflection in your mirror, why not just work with what you already have? Treatment such as tooth whitening and orthodontics can completely change your look, without being invasive or overpriced. Many practices, like the Norwich dentist which acted as the official dentist for the London 2012 Olympics, offer almost invisible braces, so you don’t have to be a post-adolescent metal mouth to get a decent smile. These kinds of brackets are also easily removable if you have a hot date.
Exercise, but don’t go crazy
If you want to increase your confidence, going for a short session at the gym or for a swim can be a mood booster. Not because burning more calories is likely to make shopping with your smug, eternally skinny friend any more tolerable, but because it can give you a sense of purpose and put you in control of your body. The NHS even recommends exercise as a treatment for depression, and suggests it can also prevent a person from becoming depressed.
According to a 2011 study, simple acts of compassion, such as talking to a homeless person, not only have a positive effect on the world around us, but also improve our self-esteem and make us happier overall. Do one kind thing for a friend or colleague each day, whether it’s making them a cup of tea, liking their latest selfie or listening to that painfully dull story about the dinner party they hosted over the weekend.
To end on a cheesy note, the only person you should be competing with is yourself. Ditch the Facebook envy, be kind to those around you and hop into the pool, and things may start looking brighter – even without upping the contrast on your new profile picture!
By Natasha Preskey