10 Effective Ways to Boost Your Confidence When You Have Psoriasis
Do your psoriasis flares ever make you want to crawl under the covers and hide? If so, you’re not alone. It’s common for people with psoriasis to struggle with self-esteem. But confidence is an essential component of mental health and well‑being. It helps us to appreciate our unique value and makes us more comfortable with our place in the world. When we feel confident, we spend more time enjoying life in the here and now, rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.
People with healthy levels of self-confidence tend to have better relationships and more successful careers than those with low self-esteem do. The good news is that self-confidence is not static, it fluctuates throughout life, which means there are plenty of effective confidence-boosting strategies for you to implement in your life. And here, mental health experts and counselors share their best ones for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
1. Practice Positive Affirmations
“Keep reminding yourself that you are much more than your psoriasis, that it is something that you have and not something that defines you. This might be hard to practice, but by repeating affirmations to yourself, your brain builds a psychological barrier that improves your mood as well as your self-esteem.” —Ridhima Ohri, MHC, psychotherapist with Bethany Medical Clinic in New York.
2. Use Your Strengths
“A great way to build confidence in yourself, even if you feel insecure about your appearance, is to find the one or two qualities about yourself that you appreciate, and that you know others appreciate or can appreciate. When you are at work, find the thing that you are good at, and build on that strength. Offer to help others by using your strengths and create an identity with yourself and the people around you that goes beyond how you look.” —Gina Marie Guarino, LMHC, of PsychPoint Mental Health Center, an online resource hub for therapists.
3. Be Upfront with People
“Create an elevator pitch of sorts. Have it in your pocket ready to pull out when you know you have a visible flare-up, or even during times when you don't but you want to get ahead of it and let someone know it’s something that you deal with. So, when it pops up in the future, there will be fewer questions. For example, if you are at lunch with some work associates and your hand has a flare-up, say something like: ‘This psoriasis flare-up is bothersome. I have to be so careful with what I wear so I don’t aggravate it. Do you know anyone who has it? I need all the tips I can get.’ This is an example of getting ahead of potential questions. You say what it is without them even having to ask!” —Simone Golden, LCSW, of coaching consultancy Golden TLC near Philadelphia, PA.
3. Don’t Take It Personally
“By the time they reach adulthood, most people know that it is rude and insensitive to say anything about physical differences, so if an adult is making a big deal of it, that says more about them and their social development than it does about your worth.” —Lisa Larsen, PsyD, a psychologist with Larsen Wellness in Lancaster, CA.
4. Be Honest When Dating
“You can handle any health issue, including psoriasis, in a very open way by making a quick mention of the issue on your [online dating] profile. Or, it may feel more comfortable to wait until you’ve met someone in person before bringing up the issue and letting them know how the psoriasis affects you and your life. As I often tell my clients, ‘Don’t allow yourself to be defined by a medical condition or mental health condition. It’s just one part of you. And, as you date, share the issues as you would any other important issue in your life.’” —Carla Marie Manly, PhD, a clinical psychologist from Sonoma County, CA.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your Skin
“Going to the beach or gym can elicit unique fears when you have psoriasis, yet that shouldn’t stop you from living your life to the fullest. In fact, if fear does stop you from doing things you might enjoy, you will be further ensnared in the guilt and shame of being trapped by this condition.” —Stephanie Wijkstrom, LPC, a nationally certified counselor and founder of Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh.
6. Have Fun
“Confidence is built over time. The more you become accustomed to ignoring the physical issue and focusing on the fun aspects of recreational activities, the better you’ll feel in the long run.” —Manly
7. Take Control By Educating and Advocating
“Don't feel shy about educating others about your condition. People generally fear the unknown more than anything else. A little bit of education can help others feel at ease, and you may even make a new friend by striking up a conversation.” —Jared Heathman, M.D., a psychiatrist in Houston, TX.
8. Talk Openly About Sex
“In a loving relationship, it’s important for partner to know and accept all aspects of each other. Talk to your partner about any insecurities you have around the psoriasis and discuss ways that intimacy can be made more comfortable and secure. You and your partner can then create a unique plan of to-do and to-avoid behaviors that make you feel loved, sexy, and desired.” —Manly
9. Use Mindfulness Techniques
“When your attention starts to wander to your own feelings about yourself, accept the feeling of anxiety, use grounding and breathing techniques, and then redirect your attention to your task at hand…The point is that our attention is often wandering, but we are most content when we are focused on the here and now.” —Wijkstrom
10. Do What Makes You Feel Good
“Focus on the positive elements of your workday, whether it’s [talking to] a few favorite co-workers, an interesting project, or a lunch break [outside]. The more you focus on the positive elements of your day, the less you’ll be focused on your appearance. Also, dress in colors and styles that feel attractive and comfortable to you. The more comfortable you feel in your clothing, the better you’ll feel throughout your day.” —Manly