How to boost your self-esteem

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves. When we have healthy self-esteem, we will feel more positive about ourselves and life in general, making it easier to deal with life’s ups and downs. When our self-esteem is low, we look at everything negatively and in a critical light. This means we are less able to deal with life’s challenges. When low self-esteem becomes a long-term problem, it can have a harmful effect on our mental health and our day-to-day lives.

If you have low self-esteem or confidence, you may find yourself hiding away from social situations or avoiding new challenges or difficult situations. Although initially this feels safe, in the longer term it will reinforce your underlying doubts and fears, causing you to avoid more situations. This can be extremely harmful for your mental health and can result in anxiety and depression, or unhelpful coping habits such as smoking and drinking.

How to have healthy self-esteem

To boost your self-esteem, you need to be able to identify the negative beliefs you have about yourself, then find ways to challenge them. Take note of any negative thoughts, write them down and then question where these have come from. Try challenging these negative thoughts by thinking of positive things. Aim to think of five positive things to challenge each negative thought.

Simple techniques to help boost your self-esteem.

1. Recognise what you are good at!

We are all good at something, it could be cooking, sports, singing or just being a good friend. Doing the things we enjoy and are good at can help boost your self-esteem and mood.

2. Build positive relationships!

If certain people tend to bring you down or make you anxious, spend less time with them, or tell them how you feel about their words or actions. Try to build relationships with people who are positive and who appreciate you.

3. Be kind to yourself!

Take time to be kind and gentle to yourself especially when you are feeling self-critical. Always think what you would say to a friend in a similar situation because we would give them better advice then we give ourselves.

4. Learn to be assertive!

Being assertive means respecting other people’s opinions and needs and expecting the same from them. Learn from people who act assertively and pick up hints and tips from people you admire.

5. Start saying “no”!

People with low self-esteem often feel they have to say yes to other people, even when they really want to say no. By always saying yes, you are likely to become overburdened, resentful, angry, and depressed. Saying no is allowed and if it helps you can express your reasons for this decision.

6. Give yourself a challenge!

It is quite normal to feel nervous or afraid when doing something new, but it can also bring a sense of achievement, boosting your self-esteem. Set yourself a goal and achievable steps to get there.

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