Many older adults are wells of wisdom. Because of their abundance of life experiences, they often have much knowledge and advice to give. Many don’t realize, however, that along with life experience comes various life changes that can cause confidence and self-esteem to decrease.
As we get older, our bodies change, our circumstances change, and our confidence can change because of it. For instance, retirement is a life-altering event you reach at around 65 and may cause changes in confidence. In addition, certain health issues or conditions can cause confidence to change.
Our confidence levels change throughout life, but poor confidence and self-esteem can have a negative impact on mental health and quality of life. Luckily there are easy and fun ways to boost confidence!
How Confidence Changes Throughout Life
According to Harvard Health, confidence changes are a normal part of life. In fact, confidence tends to be low during puberty, increases as we reach late teen years and early twenties, and reaches its height during middle age. Once we reach 60, however, confidence levels can tend to decline again.
This is due to the patterns of life. During our teen years and college years, we may feel an increase of confidence because of the potential we have ahead of us and the motivation to pursue a certain career or education.
During middle age, careers tend to be at their height. Especially if your company or business offers benefits for long-term work, you may be promoted, offered benefits, and feel confident based on these events. During this peak of confidence is also when family relationships are at their most exciting and many adults begin to try new things and invest in new hobbies!
Why Many Seniors Experience Drops in Confidence
The reason confidence may decline during older age and after retirement is largely due to changes in these situations such as no longer working or having children and family move away. Ageism is also largely responsible for issues with confidence. As we get older, our bodies and minds are capable of doing wonderful things. We take care of family members, pursue new hobbies and interests, invest in the future, and live active lifestyles.
Despite these capabilities, you may still be told you are “too old” to do a certain activity or task. This is known as ageism. Every aspect of life has its own obstacles, so it’s important not to let these remarks determine whether you’re able to do something or succeed at a skill.
While these are normal parts of life, drops in confidence are not irreversible! There are many ways to boost confidence and regain self-esteem!
The Importance of Confidence in Seniors
Confidence is important for those of any age, but especially in senior adults. It has been shown to aid in adaptation to new circumstances, physical health and well-being, quality of life, and overall satisfaction. It also boosts mental health, quality of relationships, motivation, and emotional intelligence!
How To Boost Confidence
Here are some of the best ways to boost confidence and self-esteem!
1. Stay Connected
Relationships are important for those of any age and staying connected with family and friends is a great way to boost confidence! Having social connections offers support as you try new activities, go through life changes, and struggle with various health conditions. Having positive relationships and close friendships has been shown to boost confidence and self-esteem.
2. Pursue Your Interests
Maintaining hobbies as a senior has an abundance of benefits for physical and mental health, and one of these is boosting confidence! Pursuing hobbies increases our sense of purpose and confidence in the ability to master a new task and develop new skills. It also increases creativity which can boost self-esteem as we express ourselves.
3. Support Physical Health
Studies show that those with better health have higher levels of confidence than those who have health conditions. While certain health conditions are due to genetics and unpreventable factors, many are preventable with healthy living!
Healthy living and promoting physical health look different for everyone, but by exercising, eating nutritious foods, and ensuring you get the vitamins and minerals you need you can promote your health and wellness and thus boost confidence.
There are various forms of exercise to promote physical health, so pick one you enjoy. If you prefer strength training exercises or yoga, attend a class or practice these workouts at home by watching videos (which are especially available because of the pandemic). You can also engage in aerobic exercise by walking around your neighborhood or taking swim lessons for low-impact exercise
Eating a balanced, varied diet is an essential aspect of physical health. What we put into our bodies is important, so make sure you’re eating foods that provide energy, protein, healthy fats, nutrients, and vitamins.
You can also take a vitamin supplement to ensure you’re getting the vitamins and nutrients you need each day. Try a multivitamin gummy or ask your doctor about what vitamins you should be taking. In addition, taking a probiotic or omega-3 supplement can also support balanced health!
4. Prioritize Safety
If you experience worry about falling or being unsafe in your own home, this can cause your self-confidence to drop. Here are some tips to prioritize safety in your home so you can boost confidence and independence!
- Add a seat in your shower so you can sit down.
- Place a non-slip mat on the shower floor to prevent slipping.
- Add night lights to the hallway and bathroom to help you see and avoid tripping.
- Add a railing for extra stability.
5. Challenge Negative Thinking
Negative thinking can show up during any age, so it’s important to know how to challenge negative thinking and control these thoughts.
Here are guidelines to recognizing these thoughts.
You have a perspective that views situations or actions as completely good or bad. This way of thinking doesn’t allow for mistakes. For example, you may believe you’re a failure if you aren’t good at a task, even if it’s your first attempt.
You tend to filter out positive feedback and focus on negativity instead. For example, you may let one mistake at work or during a task distort your thought process to make you believe you aren’t good at a task.
You may excuse your successes and credit them to other factors. For example, when you do accomplish something, you may say it’s due to another factor instead of your worth or abilities.
You also may have trouble distinguishing emotions and logic. For example, if you feel like you have failed at something, you may convert this into the belief that you are a failure.
- Another sign of negative thinking is negative self-talk. This is when you put yourself down in your head or to others, even if you do so humorously.
If you identify these practices in your own life, here are some ways to combat them.
The first step is to identify them for what they are. Being aware of these though inaccuracies is the first step to fixing them.
Next, challenge them. Ask yourself how much truth they hold and how much logic backs them up.
- Suggest a different interpretation. For example, if you try to pursue a new hobby or task and make mistakes the first time, you may react with the negative thought that you are a failure. Pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and suggest an alternative explanation. Consider the fact that you’re just learning the task and haven’t mastered it yet, or that you’re learning what not to do so you can better at the task!
6. Dress Confidently
Harvard Health recommends wearing something you feel good in. Even if you’re retired, it’s important to get dressed each morning and get ready for the day as usual. This can boost confidence while also boosting productivity!
It’s also important to wear what you want to wear. Clothes are a form of self-expression. When we wear clothes that express who we are, we boost confidence in who we are as well, so pick outfits you feel confident in.
Dressing for Incontinence
Many older adults may experience drops in confidence due to living with incontinence. Incontinence is a very common condition, affecting almost 33 million Americans. However, there can still be a damaging stigma around the issue, and especially around protective underwear.
That’s why we do what we do. We carefully crafted protective underwear that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle and under your clothing so it’s comfortable and unnoticeable. In addition to this, our protective underwear can absorb up to six cups of liquid without leaking. By wearing the correct incontinence underwear, you can boost confidence everywhere you go!
Journaling is not only good for mental health and stress reduction, but it allows for self-reflection and meditation that can increase confidence and self-esteem. It can also help process events and life changes that may alter confidence levels.
Here are some tips for journaling to help you get started!
- Try to write about things that you’re good at. This can be skills, abilities, talents, or just things you enjoy doing for others.
- Write about things you’re grateful for.
- Write about mistakes you’ve made that have helped you become who you are today.
- Write about a person in your life who you look up to.
- Try to write at night or in the morning so it can set the tone for your day and help you process the previous day’s events.
As you get older, you may experience drops in confidence. However, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Confidence can change due to many factors and life changes, but while it’s normal for confidence to fluctuate throughout life, it doesn’t not have to be irreversible.
There are easy ways to boost confidence and self-esteem so you can reap all the benefits and increase satisfaction and happiness with life!