10 Healthy Hobbies That Help Build Confidence and Self Esteem

Former First Lady, Michelle Obama is a strong advocate for education. She once said, “Through my education, I didn’t just develop skills…I developed confidence.” Many people would love to learn how to develop confidence too.

Hobbies can be trivial pastimes or interests that fill the time between work or other responsibilities and sleep. Alternatively, they can make a profound difference in our lives. Read on to learn about 10 healthy hobbies that can help build confidence and self-esteem.

Health and Wellbeing

What’s a healthy hobby? On the face of it, a healthy hobby could be one that involves physical exercise. An example could be jogging or swimming.

This idea of health is a limited and unhelpful one. Health and wellbeing are much broader concepts. It includes both physical and psychological health.

Thinking about health and wellbeing as both physical and psychological or emotional recognizes that they are interlinked. Poor psychological health can have a detrimental effect on physical health and vice versa. Aspects of our psychology such as confidence can be linked to physical factors such as nutrition, obesity, blood pressure and more.

Healthy hobbies can, therefore, be defined as any hobbies that have a positive impact on your physical or psychological well-being. A key aspect of your psychological wellbeing is confidence and self-esteem.

1. Meditation

There are many ways of taking up meditation. It may be included as part of a yoga or tai chi class. It’s often a feature of mindfulness training.

There are many different traditions of meditation with a variety of approaches and techniques.

Some traditions emphasize visualization, repeating mantras or chanting. These approaches may work by occupying or filling the mind in order to exclude negative or unhelpful thoughts.

Other approaches emphasize the emptying of the mind. The focus with this approach is on your own breathing, self-examination, and awareness.

These techniques can be helpful by inducing relaxation, reduced anxiety and feelings of wellbeing. Low self-esteem and lack of confidence can arise from difficulty with being anxious or relaxed. Mindfulness practice such as meditation has been proven to have beneficial effects on self-esteem.

2. Creative Arts

Art therapy has long been used to assist people with a range of health issues. It can provide a distraction from worries and anxiety but it may do much more.

Expressing thoughts and feelings through creative art can be a release for your emotions. Communicating through visual arts, writing or even dance might be easier for you than discussing your feelings or engaging with people in other ways.

There is a boost to self-esteem and confidence that comes from learning a new skill and successfully expressing yourself. It’s only a short step to realizing that success in one area of your life could be followed by success in another.

3. Yoga

Yoga can start simply with a beginner’s class. As your flexibility and knowledge grow you can quickly perform more difficult positions. At the same time as your physical capability develops you also develop your breathing control and some mental techniques.

Breath control is very closely linked to anxiety and confidence. Anxiety and stress are associated with shallow and ineffective breathing. Better breath control has the effect of calming the body and mind and helps confidence for example with speaking in public and dealing with conflict.

4. Study

Not everybody has had a positive experience of education. Deep-seated negative feelings can arise out of poor academic performance and bullying in school. These experiences may have turned you off academic study in later life.

Learning as an adult is not the same as learning in school. Learning can be a hobby that rebuilds lost confidence by helping you see yourself as someone who can acquire new skills and achieve good academic results.

5. Travel

Taking yourself out of your normal life can be an opportunity to try out new versions of yourself with no risk to existing relationships. Traveling, especially solo traveling, lets you do this.

Try a short solo trip. You have to interact with people to arrange accommodation, use transportation, and dine out.

Successfully doing this can build your confidence in your independence and self-sufficiency. This can then spill over into your home, work, and social relationships.

6. Cooking

Building self-confidence is sometimes about building a belief in your own capability and valuing that capability. Mastering the cooking arts can help build that confidence.

Share the fruits of your cooking labors with others by taking cakes into work or having people around for meals. People tend to be appreciative guests and it’s a great boost to your self-esteem to be praised for your food.

7. Volunteering for Community Work

Try volunteering in your community. There are always opportunities to do this on a small or large scale. Help at a thrift store, coach little league or visit elders.

Giving something back to your community has several benefits for your self-esteem. You can feel good about your contribution to society and others. Also, it is beneficial to your confidence to take your attention away from yourself and your concerns and turn your attention to others.

8. Music and Singing

Mastering new skills are good for your self-esteem but music can do more than this. Performing takes a special kind of confidence. Sometimes people who have difficulties with their confidence in part of their life can find the confidence to perform music.

If this seems too much of a stretch, try singing in a choir. The experience of singing with others can be both uplifting and life-affirming. The shared challenge of singing in a group tends to make everybody supportive and encouraging.

9. Martial Arts

Martial arts are a fun group learning experience. Nobody is expected to be a black belt from the start and in fact, many martial arts are built on a model of gradual development at your pace. As you progress through the stages or belts you have a sense of achievement and growing confidence that translates into everyday life.

It’s a great feeling to think that you have a skill that your family and friends don’t have. More than that, you could probably kick their buts too!

10. Public Speaking

There are classes in public speaking. This is a skill many people need for work, college, and even in everyday life from time to time. Yet, public speaking is something many people are frightened to do.

Public speaking classes recognize that building confidence is key to successful public speaking. As a result, an emphasis is given to developing confidence building techniques such as visualization, breathing exercises, and affirmation. Try it and you’ll find it helps in other aspects of your life too.

Build Confidence and Self-Esteem

Take time to develop your emotional wellbeing and it will reap rewards. Build confidence by taking up the best hobbies to build self-esteem. Have fun and feel better.

Here are some more ideas to improve self-esteem.

level of self esteem

7 Ways Exercise Can Boost Your Self-Esteem

85 percent of people worldwide say they have low self-esteem. This epidemic affects families, relationships, careers, and confidence.

Low self-esteem can lead to depression and a risk of suicide in some people.

Luckily, there’s one easy solution that makes a world of difference: exercise. Moving the body and breaking a sweat have proven benefits for confidence and self worth. And, exercise covers tons of different activities; there’s one for everyone.

If you want to boost self-esteem for yourself or a loved one, keep reading. Here are seven ways exercise raises self worth and confidence.

1. You Feel Accomplished

How do you feel when you finish a project or reach a goal? You feel accomplished, proud, and satisfied.

These feelings all contribute to a higher self worth. Completing a challenge shows that you are capable and strong. You have what it takes.

Exercise is a channel to grow to those feelings. Setting the goal to work out three times a week is a good starting place. After that first week, you gain momentum to keep going.

Every time you complete a workout, you feel pride and are in awe of your body. Self esteem increases when we appreciate our bodies and believe in our abilities. No matter how “gross” you thought your body was, you can’t deny that it’s powerful.

2. You Get Stronger

Speaking of how powerful our bodies are, exercising makes you stronger. Even if you only do it a couple of times per week, your muscles are getting stronger.

Some workouts are specifically meant for improving strength. If this is a goal, consider trying HIIT classes at a gym or kickboxing. Weight lifting is also great for growing muscle.

No matter what exercise you do, your muscles benefit. And, when you feel your body getting stronger you feel stronger emotionally. If your body can do it, why can’t your mind?

There’s also a value in getting stronger because you can defend yourself. Knowing that you could protect yourself against an attacker is very liberating. It makes you feel empowered and more confident.

3. Stress Decreases

Five minutes of aerobic activity can decrease feelings of anxiety and stress. What would your life look like with less stress and anxiety?

Stress comes from all different types of pressure. Our jobs, relationships, health, and self-esteem all cause stress. Exercising puts a wedge in the low-self-esteem/high-stress cycle.

For some, exercise is a way to release excess emotions, like anger and anxiety. Boxing, interval running, and yoga are all useful forms of exercise for anxiety.

Yoga also has benefits for stress. It teaches you to breathe through your emotions, validate them and watch them pass.

When you decrease the stress in your life, there’s less pressure to be perfect. It allows you to accept yourself and understand that life is a journey. We are all works in progress.

4. Clearer Thinking

A good sweat session improves blood circulation and increases the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that handles memory and learning.

Have you ever noticed how alert and awake you feel after working out? It’s like the brain fog clears and you can process your thoughts easier.

Low self-esteem can be a result of negative thought processes. Instead of arguing that inner voice, we give in because it’s easier. When you have a clear mind, you can use logic and rationality.

After exercising, it’s easier to tell that inner voice it’s wrong. You can point to A, B, and C reasons that you’re a worthy person. Exercise clears the fog in your brain so you can see how great you are.

5. Improves Your Mood

The brain produces a hormone called beta-endorphins. These hormones make you feel optimistic, open, and happy. They also lower stress and reduce symptoms of depression.

You can jumpstart the production of beta-endorphins by exercising. People who enjoy running call this the “runner’s high”. After a good workout, they feel happier and more confident.

Low self esteem is a symptom of a negative mindset; the cup is always half empty. When you have a regular production of endorphins from exercise, the glass is half full.

Self esteem improves when we change our mindsets to one of positivity. Positive thinking fuels positive feelings; it’s a self-fulfilling cycle.

6. Causes Physical Changes

Your self esteem does not depend on how small or big you are. Many people believe that if that only lose those extra pounds, they’ll be happy.

But, that isn’t true. When you have low self-esteem, you’ll always find things about yourself that you need to fix. You focus on the final product instead of the journey to get there.

Working out will lead to a change in your body. These changes, like muscle definition, can be encouraging on your journey. It’s important that you also notice how you feel on the inside when you workout, though.

It’s exciting to see physical changes in our bodies. But, remember that your mindset strongly affects self esteem in the long run.

7. Introduces You to a Support System

Joining an awesome fitness center allows you to meet people in the same boat as you. You’re surrounded by others who know that exercising feels good.

When you exercise in groups, you feel less alone. You aren’t the only one that has low self esteem; it seems like a human condition these days.

Support systems build your self esteem because you see others believing in themselves. Your instructors believe in you because you’re worthy. When you fall off the horse, these people will help you get back on.

Don’t hesitate to find a supportive group of people on your self esteem journey.

Ready to Boost Self-Esteem with Exercise?

Low self-esteem is an issue that affects people from every country at every age. Everyone struggles with stress, pressure, and self-doubt.

Exercise reduces these negative feelings and can boost self-esteem.

You can start the journey to better self-confidence by exercising. Learn about different exercises that will give you a boost. You are worth investing in your health; don’t let your inner voice tell you otherwise.

7 Bad Habits That are Killing Your Self-Esteem

Did you know that 85% of us struggle with low self-esteem?

This lack of confidence can negatively impact every area of a person’s life. While some sources of low self-esteem are deep-rooted, others are the product of bad habits.

Whether you struggle with negative feelings or you’re concerned about a loved one, take the time to read through this list of self-esteem killing habits.

Could one (or more) of these be contributing to the problem?

1. Setting Unrealistic Goals

Do you want to lose weight, land your dream job, or climb Mount Everest?

Those are all amazing goals. But in order to achieve them, you’ve got to break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

If you try to lose 40 pounds in 4 weeks or expect to make a million dollars right out of college, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. The result? Your self-esteem takes a major hit–and you quickly give up on your goal.

Before you set out to climb Everest, try hitting the gym regularly and competing in some local 10Ks. Little by little, you can work toward your ultimate goal (and feel great about yourself in the process).

2. Comparing Yourself to Others

One of the fastest ways to kill your confidence is to compare yourself to your friends, family, and colleagues.

Research has already proved that kids today can experience low self-esteem from spending too much time on social media. The same is true of adults.

Shining snapshots of our friends’ lives make it seem like they have it all. Soon we get into the mindset that everyone is doing “better” than we are–better vacations, better homes, better clothes.

We can also fall into the bad habit of comparing ourselves to colleagues at work. Or maybe you have a sibling or close friend who seems more successful in business or in their personal life.

If you want to improve your self-esteem, stop focusing on what everyone else has accomplished. You’ll never get around to accomplishing your own goals!

3. Not Forgiving Yourself

Do you spend a lot of time dwelling on the past? Do you focus more on mistakes you made than on what you hope to achieve tomorrow, next week, or 10 years from now?

Letting go can be a challenge, especially if you feel you’ve made some serious mistakes. But dwelling on those mistakes indefinitely will only lead to feelings of blame, regret, and failure.

The result? You get stuck in a pattern of negative thinking, and this self-defeatist attitude prevents you from moving forward.

Let yourself off the hook. Learn from your mistakes and be determined to put them behind you. Then read some self-esteem quotes, dust yourself off, and focus on (a more positive) future.

4. Letting Fear Dictate Your Life

As FDR famously said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important.”

We’re all afraid of something. It’s part of being human. When you have low self-esteem, though, it’s easy to let this fear hold you back.

It’s often easier to say, “It’s too hard,” or “I don’t know how to do that.” When fear rules your life, you use it as an excuse not to try anything new. The more time that passes without working toward any goals, the lower your self-esteem will sink.

Think about this: What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Travel to a foreign place? Start your own business? Learn a new language or skill?

Whatever you have in mind, learn to rephrase that negative thinking with a more positive thought. Instead of saying, “It’s too hard,” try, “How can I make this happen? What’s the first step?”

5. Trying to Please Everybody (All the Time)

Not having personal or professional boundaries is another sure way to lower your self-esteem. If you’re a people pleaser who never says “no” to anyone, you’ll eventually run out of time for yourself.

When that happens, you’ll feel as if your life is spiraling out of control. What’s important to you will be shoved to the backburner and (you guessed it) your self-esteem will suffer.

Yes, there will be occasions when you need to work overtime or do a favor for a friend. But when it becomes a habit, you’ll end up frustrated, scatter-brained, and stressed out.

Break this habit by learning how to say “no.” Practice in front of a mirror if you have to. Set clear boundaries about your time with family members and work colleagues–and then stick to them.

6. Physical or Mental Laziness

Lacking confidence in yourself and the way you look? The surest way to perpetuate that cycle is to sit on the couch and do nothing about it.

Research proves that exercise improves mood and self-esteem while fighting social withdrawal tendencies. It also provides a rush of feel-good endorphins and leaves you with a great sense of accomplishment.

The same can be said for not exercising your mind. If you’re feeling down, the easiest thing to do is plop down in front of the television or mindlessly scroll through your phone.

Even when you’re tired, take a few minutes to actively engage your brain. Read a few pages of a book (an actual book) or spend a few minutes practicing a new skill. You might also try meditation or mindfulness and focus your attention on positive thoughts.

7. Constantly Criticizing Yourself

A final bad habit many with low self-esteem fall victim to is negative self-talk.

How many times a day do you think something like:

  • “You’re too fat.”
  • “You’ll never be good enough.”
  • “You’re such an idiot.”
  • “You can’t do anything right.”

If these phrases are a daily part of your thinking pattern, guess what? You’ll believe them–and your self-esteem will become even worse.

Work hard to eliminate such negative thoughts from your mind. Replace them with positive, reinforcing thoughts like, “I respect my body” or “I did well on that task.”

Improve Low Self-Esteem Today

As you can see, bad habits play a large role in low self-esteem.

If you identified any of these habits in yourself, take action to cultivate a more positive mindset. You’re sure to see good results if you do.

Looking for more advice on improving your self-esteem? Click here.

positive self-esteem

7 Tips to Help Your Child Build Positive Self Esteem

Self-esteem, or lack thereof, is a widely discussed topic in schools during the teenage years. For good reason, as poor self-esteem in both boys and girls can lead to negative consequences.

75% of girls reporting low self-esteem also report engaging in things such as drinking, smoking, and cutting. While mostly viewed as a female issue, young boys also grapple with self-worth.

Challenges to self-esteem are nearly synonymous with the adolescent experience. But there are things you can do to ensure your own children build positive self-esteem early in life to carry them through later challenges.

Eager to help your child as much as possible? Keep reading below for seven helpful tips to help grow their self-esteem.

1. Don’t Over Praise

Most parents will express that their child is “beyond their age” or “the next famous scientist.” While it’s good to praise and show endless love to our children, over-praising can lead to problems.

Self-esteem can be viewed as a mixture of feeling secure, loved, and competent. Competence requires time to develop.

If young children are always told they are the best or did the best job they could, they may lose some drive to better themselves. Essentially as they age, they may not be good at failing or learning how to improve a skill.

A helpful tip is to praise your kids as they work on something, not just the final version. Say they are doing a school poser project. Don’t wait until they finish to compliment it.

During the process make note of how hard they are working. Maybe compliment them on how they chose colors. Especially praise them if they ran into issues, but found a way to overcome.

2. Allow Risk-Taking

We aren’t talking about letting your 8-year old go sky-diving. But it is important to let your children explore and take risks so they learn to step outside their comfort zone.

Let your children make decisions for themselves and stand aside even if you know something may go wrong (within reason of course). A good example is if you see your child carrying a bunch of carrots on a flimsy plate with one hand.

Even if you see the food start to fall, don’t make a saving lunge. Let them see what happened, take steps to remedy the situation, or ask you for help.

3. Be a Role Model for Them

Children mirror what they see in parents. If you are struggling with self-esteem, it will be even more difficult to foster positive growth in your children.

Don’t feel embarrassed, you are not alone. Around 85% of Americans deal with low self-esteem at one point or another. So much so that it can greatly impact our professional lives.

Even if you don’t verbalize what is going on, kids will pick up on it. It’s been found that kids are influenced more by actions and body language than what they hear. Especially if they aren’t congruent.

This means even if you respond you’re doing well when they ask, they will pick up on your heavy sighs. They will notice when you seem sad. Do your best to show your children how to cope with stress and work through issues.

4. Provide Feedback for Positive Self-Esteem

It probably feels mean, but as alluded to above, it’s better to openly talk to kids rather than falsely inflate their ego. Providing feedback on how they are doing something, especially when they ask, can be a great thing.

Just remember not to do it in a shaming or critical way. If their room is messy, don’t yell “Why do you always leave your room a mess?”

Instead, highlight the current facts and suggest a solution. “You have clothes lying on the floor. Once you clean them up, you can go play outside.”

This type of statement is likely to spur them to actually do the clean. But it will so help them remember to keep their room tidy in the future.

5. Teach About Growth

Negative thoughts can take hold in children and guide their self-worth for years to come. It’s important to instill a growth mentality so they understand and believe they will improve and evolve over time.

Keeping children out of a fixed mindset is important. This is a mindset where they would believe they are as good as they are going to get no matter what they do. Many adults think like this regarding financial situations, fitness goals, etc.

6. Show How to Learn from Mistakes

To encourage a growth mindset, teaching your child how to learn from mistakes is key. Kids need to know it is okay to fail. They also need to know how to recover from failures.

Tell your kids to think about what they will do next time to avoid the situation they are in. For example, your kid forgot to shut a fence door and the dog escapes.

Don’t get angry. Say, “You forgot to shut the door and our dog could have been hurt. Next time double check the door when you come and go.”

7. Encourage Diverse Hobbies and Activities

One final step you can take to help your child have good self-esteem is to encourage or suggest a few hobbies. Not every child is going to excel at school.

When a child isn’t involved in another activity, they may start to think they aren’t good at anything. If they like music, offer to take them to a children’s choir. Maybe they like being active. Try finding a sport that suits them.

If they don’t seem to be interested in a specific activity, you can try these self-esteem activities. The best part is that some can be done together, with you and other family members.

Watch Your Child Blossom with Confidence

It can be scary thinking how much positive self-esteem your child will have as they grow older. The most important thing to remember is to love your child and give them the freedom and power to conquer issues in their own way.

As long as you are there to support them when they need it, everything will be okay.

Worried your child already has low self-esteem? Check out these few tips for helping them.