What are some tips to improve self esteem?
Identify and Challenge Your Negative Beliefs
The first step is to identify, and then challenge, your negative beliefs about yourself.
Notice your thoughts about yourself. For example, you might find yourself thinking ‘I’m not clever enough to do that’ or ‘I have no friends’. When you do, look for evidence that contradicts those statements. Write down both statement and evidence, and keep looking back at it to remind yourself that your negative beliefs about yourself are not true.
Identify the Positive About Yourself
It is also a good idea to write down positive things about yourself, such as being good at a sport, or nice things that people have said about you. When you start to feel low, look back at these things, and remind yourself that there is plenty of good about you.
In general, positive internal dialogue is a big part of improving your self-esteem.
If you catch yourself saying things like ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’m a failure’, you can start to turn things around by saying ‘I can beat this’ and ‘I can become more confident by viewing myself in a more positive way’.
To begin with you will catch yourself falling back into old negative habits, but with regular effort you can start to feel more positive and build your self-esteem as well.
Be nice to yourself
That little voice that tells you you’re killin’ it (or not) is way more powerful than you might think. Make an effort to be kind to yourself and, if you do slip up, try to challenge any negative thoughts. A good rule of thumb is to speak to yourself in the same way that you’d speak to your mates. This can be really hard at first, but practise makes perfect. If you want a few pointers, check out our tips for talking yourself up.
Try: Writing down three things that you like about yourself.
Give Yourself a Break
You don’t have to be perfect every hour of every day. You don’t even have to feel good about yourself all the time. Self-esteem varies from situation to situation, from day to day and hour to hour. Some people feel relaxed and positive with friends and colleagues, but uneasy and shy with strangers. Others may feel totally in command of themselves at work but struggle socially (or vice versa).
Give yourself a break. We all have times when we feel a bit down or find it harder to maintain our self-belief. The key is not to be too hard on yourself. Be kind to yourself, and not too critical.
Avoid criticising yourself to others, because this can reinforce your negative views—and also give other people a (possibly false) negative opinion of you.
You can help to boost your self-esteem by giving yourself a treat whenever you succeed in doing something hard, or just for managing a particularly bad day.
You do you
Comparing yourself to other people is a sure-fire way to start feeling crummy. Try to focus on your own goals and achievements, rather than measuring them against someone else’s. Nobody needs that kind of pressure!
Exercise is a great way to increase motivation, practise setting goals and build confidence. Breaking a sweat also cues the body to release endorphins, the feel-good hormones.
Become More Assertive and Learn to Say No
People with low self-esteem often find it hard to stand up for themselves or say no to others.
This means that they may become over-burdened at home or at work, because they do not like to refuse anyone anything. However, this can increase stress, and make it even harder to manage. Developing your assertiveness can therefore help to improve your self-esteem. Sometimes acting as if you believed in yourself can actually help to increase self-belief!
Improve Your Physical Health
It is much easier to feel good about ourselves when we are fit and healthy.
However, people with low self-esteem often neglect themselves, because they do not feel that they ‘deserve’ to be looked after.
Try taking more exercise, eating well, and getting enough sleep. It is also a good idea to make time to relax and to do something that you want to do, rather than something that someone else expects you to do. You may find that simple changes like this can make a huge difference to your overall outlook.
Take On Challenges
People with low self-esteem often avoid challenging and difficult situations.
One way to improve your self-esteem can actually be to take on a challenge. This doesn’t mean that you need to do everything yourself—part of the challenge might be to seek help when you need it—but be prepared to try something that you know will be difficult to achieve.
By succeeding, you show yourself that you can achieve. This challenges your negative beliefs and will therefore improve your self-esteem.
Always strive to be the best version of yourself, but it’s also important to accept that perfection is an unrealistic goal.
Remember that everyone makes mistakes
You’ve got to make mistakes in order to learn and grow, so try not to beat yourself up if you forget to hit CTRL+S on a super-important assignment. Everyone’s been there.
Focus on what you can change
It’s easy to get hung up on all the things that are out of your control, but it won’t achieve much. Instead, try to focus your energy on identifying the things that are within your control and seeing what you can do about them. Learn to accept things that are out of your control.
Try: Writing down one thing that you're not happy with, and three ways you could change it.
Do what makes you happy
If you spend time doing the things you enjoy, you’re more likely to think positively. Try to schedule in a little you-time every day. Whether that’s time spent reading, cooking or just conking out on the couch for a bit, if it makes you happy, make time for it.
Celebrate the small stuff
You got up on time this morning. Tick. You poached your eggs to perfection. Winning. Celebrating the small victories is a great way to build confidence and start feeling better about yourself.
Try: Writing down three things you did well at the end of each day.
Be a pal
Being helpful and considerate to other people will certainly boost their mood, but it’ll also make you feel pretty good about yourself
Surround yourself with a supportive squad
Find people who make you feel good about yourself and avoid those who tend to trigger your negative thinking.
Build Positive Relationships—and Avoid Negative Ones
You will probably find that there are certain people—and certain relationships—that make you feel better than others.
If there are people who make you feel bad about yourself, try to avoid them.
Build relationships with people who make you feel good about yourself and avoid the relationships that drag you down.