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April 26, 2024

How to Get Your Confidence Back After Anxiety

Katelyn McMahon
Registered Psychotherapist, VT #097.0134200
white man with rhinestones above his eyebrows smiles; how to get your confidence back after anxiety
April 26, 2024
7 min to read
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If you’ve experienced anxiety, you know firsthand how uneasy it can make you feel. The constant worry and uncertainty make it hard to trust yourself and the world around you. Needless to say, this can shake your confidence. 

In my experience as a therapist, many of my clients with anxiety also struggled with self-esteem issues. While it’s difficult to say which came first, their anxiety and low self-esteem fed into each other, causing spirals of worry and doubt.

Though the synergistic relationship between anxiety and confidence issues can be painful, you can also use it to your advantage during the healing process. As you learn how to cope with your anxiety, you’re also working on growing your self-esteem.

Try my tips for getting your confidence back after anxiety ↓

7 tips for getting your confidence back after anxiety

These tips aren’t a magic pill for “curing” anxiety and self-esteem issues. However, with time and practice, these strategies can help you feel more confident and secure in your anxiety healing journey. 

1. Remember that you’re your own person

Though it’s in human nature to compare ourselves to others, this can fuel anxiety and low self-esteem. There will always be someone who seems like they’re one step ahead of you. Instead, try to focus on your own journey, recognizing that you have unique challenges (and strengths).

  • Practical tip: Take an audit of your social media accounts. Unfollow or limit your interactions with accounts that make you feel bad about yourself.

2. Follow through with your commitments to yourself

Keeping promises to yourself is a great way to build confidence. When you continuously do this over time, you show yourself that you’re someone you can rely on. Anxiety can make it hard to commit to things, but challenging yourself to follow through on things that are important to you can help grow your self esteem and confront your anxiety.

  • Practical tip: If you’re anxious about going to the gym because you’re worried about how you’ll be perceived, pick an achievable goal to help you build confidence. For example, decide that you’ll go to the gym for 15 minutes three different times this week–and actually do it. 

3. Practice gratitude

I’m not an advocate for toxic positivity, but there’s something to be said for acknowledging the positive things about yourself and your life. Anxiety has a way of making us focus on everything that’s “wrong” or “bad,” so intentionally shifting your attention to the positive can help you gain some perspective.

4. Use relaxation techniques

Chronic anxiety can be a sign that your body is stuck in fight-or-flight mode. Of course it’s hard to feel confident if you’re constantly tense! Practicing relaxation techniques can help your body shift into “rest and digest” mode, which can help you feel more grounded and secure.

  • Practical tip: Find a breathing exercise that helps you get regulated. My favorite (and one that I recommended to all my clients) is the 4-7-8 technique. Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. Repeat as many times as you need.

5. Take care of your physical health

Research shows that there is a link between anxiety, self-esteem, and physical activity (1). Make sure to prioritize your physical health in addition to your mental and emotional health–they’re all related.

  • Practical tip: Find a form of movement that you truly enjoy, even if it’s not what you traditionally think of as “exercise.” Dancing, rollerblading, pickleball, hiking, and pick-up basketball are all examples of fun ways to move your body. 

6. Expose yourself to new or uncomfortable situations (with care)

It’s natural to want to avoid situations that make you feel anxious. Sometimes this is smart, especially when there’s an objectively unsafe or abusive situation. However, those of us with anxiety are often ultra-sensitive to any potential threat, which causes us to sit out on things that we’d genuinely enjoy. Try challenging yourself to confront some of these situations–maybe you’ll find that they weren’t as scary as you thought.

  • Practical tip: Think of a situation that makes you feel somewhat anxious (maybe a 6 or so on a scale of 1-10). Can you challenge yourself to face that fear? Hint: use the breathing exercise to help you get through it. some text
    • Bonus tip: If this feels too difficult, consider using visualization instead. Picture yourself in the situation and handling it with confidence.

7. Foster self compassion

Healing anxiety and increasing your confidence isn’t easy. This journey takes dedication, practice, and patience, so make sure to practice self compassion along the way. Plus, being gentle with yourself can actually support your learning and growth.

Practical tip: Try a loving kindness meditation to cultivate warm feelings toward yourself.

Final thoughts on anxiety and self confidence

These strategies are a great way to start healing your anxiety and improving your self esteem in your every day life.

At the same time, I recommend working with a therapist to see the best results.

In therapy, you’ll be able to get to the root of your anxiety and low self esteem issues. Each person is unique, so understanding your specific emotions and experiences is key. You’ll also get personalized recommendations for steps you can take to improve your confidence.

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Need more answers?

Frequently asked questions

Is anxiety a lack of confidence?

Having low self esteem doesn’t cause anxiety, but the two can be related. There are several different factors that contribute to low self esteem and anxiety, including environmental, genetic, and personal influences.

What are physical signs of low self esteem?

Most symptoms of low self esteem are mental and emotional. However, since low self esteem is associated with anxiety, you may experience some of the physical symptoms of anxiety, including muscle tension, stomach aches, headaches, sleep issues, and more.

How can I get my confidence back after depression?

Anxiety, depression, and self esteem are all related. Many of the tips shared here can also be used to help you improve low self esteem associated with depression. 

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Written by
Katelyn McMahon
Registered Psychotherapist, VT #097.0134200

Katelyn is a therapist-turned-writer with a passion for mental health. She has a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of England and is a Registered Psychotherapist in the state of Vermont. Katelyn has professional experience in aging care, addiction treatment, integrated health care, and private practice settings. She also has lived experience being on the client side of therapy. Currently, Katelyn is a content writer who’s passionate about spreading mental health awareness and helping other therapists and therapy-seekers Do The Work.

Reviewed by
Kristie Plantinga

Kristie Plantinga is the founder of Best Therapists. Along with being on the client-side of therapy, Kristie has had the honor of working directly with therapists in her marketing agency for therapists, TherapieSEO. While working alongside therapists, she learned about the inequities in our mental health system that therapists face on a daily basis, and she wanted to do something about it. That’s why Best Therapists is a platform designed to benefit not only therapy-seekers, but therapy providers. Kristie has a Masters degree in Written Communication and a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Music.

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Show sources and research articles
  1. Pfaeffli Dale, L., Vanderloo, L., Moore, S., & Faulkner, G. (2019). Physical activity and depression, anxiety, and self-esteem in children and youth: An umbrella systematic review. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 16, 66-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mhpa.2018.12.001