How to Regain Confidence after depression(or when depressed)

This blog guide will explain how to regain confidence when you are depressed. After reading this article, you will understand what self-esteem is, its causes, how it affects you, and how to improve self-confidence and self-esteem. 

How to Regain Confidence When You Are Depressed

You need to have and express commitment and the drive to regain confidence when you are depressed. To restore confidence, you essentially need to recover your self-esteem. Such restoration involves tackling negative self-talk, replacing negative patterns of thinking with more positive ones, reassessing your outlook on failure, and finding meaning.  

Working on your relationship with and the perception of yourself underlies regaining confidence when depressed. 

Self-Esteem

Self-esteem refers to the way we view ourselves. If you have a high level of self-esteem, you are likely to see yourself and the world around you positively. You have a better ability to cope with life’s stress. 

On the other hand, if you have low self-esteem, you tend to have a negative outlook on yourself and your surroundings, making it challenging for you to deal with adversities.   

Causes of Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem may be the result of:

  • Childhood Experiences
  • Personality 
  • Life Stress 

Childhood Experiences

Low self-esteem typically starts as a child due to unpleasant experiences with friends, family, peers, teachers, and even the media. These sources may have reinforced the belief that you are not worthy or good enough. You may feel like you cannot meet the expectations you or others have of you.

Personality

Your personality plays an integral role in determining various things, including your response to people’s thoughts about you and your susceptibility to negative thinking styles.

Life Stress

Significant life events that induce stress, such as losing a loved one or being afflicted with a severe disorder, can negatively impact self-esteem. 

How Self-Esteem Affects You

Low self-confidence can lead to social isolation, a lack of openness to undergo novel experiences, and a tendency to escape from responsibilities and challenges. 

Evading challenging experiences may provide a sense of safety at first. However, in the long run, it becomes counterproductive as it feeds your self-doubt. Avoiding responsibilities becomes a habit and a deep-rooted coping mechanism to stress.

Doing so could lead to the development or worsening of depression or other mental health conditions like anxiety. As a means of dealing with these disorders, you may develop different unhealthy coping styles like substance abuse. 

How to Improve Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

Fortunately, there are proven ways to regain self-confidence when you are suffering from depression. The following is a list of ways to improve self-confidence and self-esteem. 

  • Work on negative thinking;
  • Journaling;
  • Start the day on a positive note;
  • Support system;
  • Rediscover your interests; and
  • Self-care 

Work on negative thinking 

Negative styles of thinking are often the reason for self-doubt and low self-confidence. It is characteristic of depression and obscures your ability to view yourself and the world around you objectively. 

Beliefs fuel behaviors, and maladaptive thinking act as a breeding ground for engaging in self-sabotaging behaviors. It acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Dysfunctional thinking is like a broken record that tells you how you are unworthy, a failure, and hopeless, among other things. Recognizing these thoughts and working on them is essential to regain self-esteem. To do that, ask yourself:

  • “Is there proof for this belief?”
  • “What does this belief do for me – does it lead to something beneficial or harmful?”
  • “Would others agree with this belief? 

Once you recognize these thoughts and understand their baselessness and harmfulness, you can work toward replacing them with more adaptive ones. Merely reciting affirmative statements is not enough. For affirmations to work, you need to believe them, so they need to be grounded in facts.

Realize that everybody has positives and negatives about them. Having self-confidence does not mean possessing only strengths. It means accepting your weaknesses; it means being confident about who you are in your entirety. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps with this process. Therefore, seek professional help to do this more effectively and appropriately. 

Journaling

When you are suffering from depression, your therapist may ask you to maintain a journal. While you record your negative beliefs, be sure to include some positive ones as well. You can make a gratitude list in your journal every day by noting down a few things you are grateful for, including something about yourself.

You can note down things you are good at, your health, a big or small accomplishment, a kind gesture you performed, or anything else. Reading them now and then or every morning will help uplift your mood and feel good about yourself. 

Start the day on a positive note

Nowadays, people typically start their day by scrolling through their social media, news sources, or checking their emails and messages. The content on social media and the news is often not quite uplifting or make you doubt yourself. For somebody with depression, this can be more challenging. 

Mornings are crucial because they often set the pace for the rest of the day. Therefore, look at things that can bring positivity to your life. For instance, you can go over your gratitude list from the previous night or pick social media pages or news sources like Upworthy or @tanksgoodnews to start your day on a better note.

Support system

Establishing a support system with people who encourage and appreciate you can help you regain self-confidence. Such people will commend your strengths and positive attributes and not emphasize your weaknesses. If anything, they will support you in your efforts to work on them.

Rediscover your interests

One of the depressive symptoms includes a loss of interest in pursuing activities you used to bring you joy. Apart from losing interest, your self-doubt will make you question your skills and abilities to engage in those tasks. Understand that your depression is not allowing you to partake in these activities. 

Gradually try to pursue your interests and hobbies. You can start by noting down what you used to enjoy, things you want to do, and your skills and abilities. Next, engage in a small task and gradually increase the amount in the coming days. You will gain self-confidence in accomplishing these tasks and feel a sense of fulfillment from regaining lost interest.

Self-care

As you already know, self-care plays an integral role in maintaining everyone’s health, including and even more so, in people with depression. 

Coming to terms with your diagnosis is the first step in caring for yourself. Realize that depression does not indicate weakness but can inflict self-doubt, making you feel like a failure. If you have recovered or are on your road to recovery, acknowledge that it is no small feat and makes you an incredibly strong person. Such acceptance can boost your self-esteem.

Next, allow yourself some time. Understand that nobody can gain self-confidence overnight. Recognize minor milestones and accomplishments, including stepping out of the house, meeting somebody, identifying a positive thought, completing a task, or exercising. Acknowledge these things every day, and you will start building your self-esteem.

Finally, and most importantly, foster healthy habits. Maintaining your physical health is essential for building self-confidence and boosting your mental health. Ensure you get adequate sleep, exercise, eat nutritious food, drink plenty of water, and engage in leisurely and relaxing activities.  

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusion

This blog guide explored how to regain confidence when you are depressed. By now, you must have understood what self-esteem is, its causes, how it affects you, and the ways to improve self-confidence and self-esteem. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to Regain Confidence When You Are Depressed

How do you regain confidence after failing at something?

Here are a few things you can do to regain confidence after failing at something.
Show compassion, patience, and kindness toward yourself instead of beating yourself over the failure;
Ventilate your emotions by talking to your friends, family, or therapist;
Journal your thoughts and feelings;
Process your emotions instead of suppressing them;
Reflect on your failure to understand critical takeaways not to repeat the mistake the next time and work toward it;
Emotional learning is also vital as you need to be equipped with abilities that allow you to regulate your emotions in the face of failures or adversities in the future; and
Celebrate minor victories rather than criticizing yourself for not achieving the big goals.

What leads to low self-confidence or self-esteem?

Several things can lead to low self-confidence or self-esteem, including:
Childhood issues related to strict parenting;
An abusive relationship;
A mental health disorder, such as depression and anxiety;
Unsatisfactory performance in school;
A physical condition like a terminal illness, disability, or chronic pain; and
A significant life event, such as a breakup or losing a job

What kind of therapy helps with low self-esteem?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps with low self-esteem by teaching you to recognize and cope with negative and self-sabotaging patterns of thought and behaviors. Psychodynamic psychotherapy can also help with low self-esteem by enabling you to gain insights into the root cause of your self-doubt and insecurities and come up with ways to tackle the problem.   

How can I improve my self-respect?

You can improve your self-respect by practicing any of the following strategies: 

Be assertive when somebody disrespects you. There is a difference between being aggressive and assertive. People with self-respect are not harsh but firm; when somebody disrespects them, they point it out clearly and tell them it is unacceptable.  
Be focused and motivated. More often, effort matters more than the external show of money and success.
Be kind to and respect others. You cannot be kind to yourself without being kind to other people. Instead of demeaning others, appreciate the good in them so you can do the same with yourself.
Take personal responsibility rather than victimizing yourself. 
Be kind, compassionate, and understanding to yourself. 
Practice forgiving others and yourself. Move forward instead of dwelling in the past.
Be grounded in reality and learn to take criticism objectively and constructively, not as a personal attack.  

Does low self-confidence mean you have a mental health condition?

No, having low self-confidence does not indicate a mental health condition. It is a natural and expected response to situations that threaten our self-esteem. However, if you experience it too frequently and in severe intensities, there may be an underlying mental illness like depression or anxiety.  

Is low self-esteem a result of your learning?

Yes, low self-esteem is often the result of your learning. These lessons or experiences are typically inaccurate. The experiences convey that you are not worthy, deserving, or enough, invalidates your feelings and leads to a lack of self-respect. Most people undergo such unfortunate occurrences in their childhood, and these untrue beliefs are passed on like heirlooms. 

What are the indications of low self-confidence?

There are several indications of low self-confidence, including:

Being too apologetic and excessively guilty for your actions daily; 
Problems with decision-making;
An absence of boundaries;
A negative outlook on yourself;
An inability to state your opinions;
An inability to prioritize your emotions, needs, and desires;
Extremely self-critical;
Going out of the way regularly and excessively;
Feelings of unworthiness and incapability; and 
A tendency to follow others instead of having a mind of your own.  

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

Clukey, K. (n.d.). How to Regain Confidence After Depression – 17 Point Guide. Confidence Reboot. Retrieved from https://confidencereboot.com/how-to-regain-confidence-after-depression/

NHS. (2020, February 06). Raising low self-esteem. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/raising-low-self-esteem/.  

Urban, L. (2020, October 14). How to Restore Confidence After Depression. wikiHow. Retrieved from https://www.wikihow.com/Restore-Confidence-After-Depression.  

Young, K. (n.d.). Life After Depression: How to Thrive – What Helps. What Gets in the Way. Hey Sigmund. Retrieved from https://www.heysigmund.com/life-after-depression/.  

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