bad habits

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.

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.

confidence exercises

9 Effective Confidence Exercises That Improve Self Esteem

“Nobody is born with self-confidence”, says Denis Waitley, a famous U.S. motivational speaker, consultant, and writer.

If a person seems to have unbelievable self-confidence, it’s because they’ve worked on it for years. Self-confidence is something you build gradually. It’s an ongoing process that never ends.

A negative review online, a flat rejection by investors, or a refund request from a customer can all make our self-confidence plummet. Well-meaning but sometimes critical comments from our loved ones can also knock our self-belief.

What’s more, we have to confront our own inner critic that continually tells us we aren’t good enough. When overwhelmed by so many things that jeopardize our self-confidence, we must take responsibility for building it up ourselves.

Here are nine effective confidence exercises you can try in order to improve your self-esteem:

Accept Yourself

You’re one unique individual on this planet. It’s important to not blame yourself over things you can’t do well.

Instead of grumbling about your weaknesses, do some self confidence exercises to make your life better. Want to learn a new skill? Enroll at your community college.

Accept who you are.

Think about What’s Impacting Your Self-Esteem

We all have different things that affect our self-esteem.

Your confidence may have gone down after a series of bad life experiences or one particularly difficult experience, such as:

  • Being abused or bullied
  • Ongoing stress
  • Difficulty finding employment or losing your job
  • Mental health problems
  • Physical illness
  • A difficult divorce, separation, or relationship

Or you might have had self-esteem issues for as long as you can recall. If so, it can be difficult to know how exactly you feel and apply changes to tackle your low self-confidence.

Whatever the cause, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ve got the right to be happy about whom you really are. It can be hard to stop bad habits, but you can try confidence building exercises to feel good about yourself, one step at a time.

Learn How to Be Assertive

When you’re not your own biggest fan, it’s easy to think that other people hold the same view.

You may find yourself bending over backward to assist others because that’s the only way people will like you. If your gesture isn’t appreciated, it might make you feel even worse.

Good deeds are always welcome, but going out of your way to please people may leave you without enough energy to work on yourself, which can impact your mental health.

You can try these self esteem exercises to boost your confidence:

  • Learn to turn down requests: think twice before agreeing to do anything you’d rather not
  • Take responsibility for your own decisions
  • Set boundaries around what you do for others

You may find it hard to ditch these habits at first, but making some changes to become more assertive can be liberating. And it becomes easier the more times you do it.

Work Out

Apart from being beneficial to your overall health, working out improves focus, helps with memory retention, relieves stress, and keeps depression at bay.

It’s more difficult to be anxious if there’s no extra energy to expend. Aside from being difficult and sometimes uncomfortable, exercise improves every area of your life.

So get moving and find time to look after yourself.

Dress Sharp

“When you look great, you feel great”, goes a popular saying. This old saying has plenty of truth in it.

When you dress well, it has a good physiological effect, leading to improved interactions with others. You’ll also notice changes in how you conduct yourself, which boosts your comfort level in everyday situations.

Dressing sharp is a simple and instant way to up your confidence, according to various studies.

Talk to Others

It’s important to talk to other successful individuals to get a better take on your life. Listening to their achievements and challenges can make all the difference in helping you feel better about yourself.

You also can learn how to overcome the hurdles in your life.

Reflect on Your Future

Take your time to really think about what you want to achieve in life. Live your life for yourself, not for others.

Spend plenty of energy and time thinking about what you want out of life. After determining what you want to achieve, put it down on paper and use it as inspiration.

Focus on the Positives in Your Life

You may automatically believe you aren’t good at something. Well, did you know this can stop you from trying new things or doing things you love? This can make you feel even worse about yourself.

You should try to:

Accept compliments. Take note of them and refer to them when you start doubting yourself.

Celebrate your successes and don’t downplay them. Regardless of how minor they may appear to you, find time to pat yourself on the back and think about what you excelled in.

Write down what you admire about yourself. This might include aspects of your appearance, your personality, and what you love doing. If this is difficult for you, ask a family member or friend to help you out.

Fake It to Make It

You’ve heard this term before, haven’t you? Well, this mantra is very relevant when it comes to your own self-confidence.

If you get into a situation where you’re not very confident or you’re vulnerable, this is the best time to turn on your fake-it-till-you-make-it attitude. Use the traits of confident individuals and get through your immediate situation.

At that moment, find a role model you consider as confident and charismatic, be it a movie star, a character, or someone you’ve felt safe around before.

In time, these habits will become second nature to you and will certainly pay off.

Try These Confidence Exercises Today

Building your self-confidence and self-esteem requires time, patience, and trial-and-error on your part. Try to be more realistic and fair on yourself, and you’ll be amazed by the results. All the best!

For additional information about self confidence exercises, be sure to check out the useful posts on our blog!