5 ways to boost self-esteem

Self-esteem refers to the value that we place on ourselves. This includes our self-worth and levels of self-respect and influences our thoughts, feelings and behaviours, as well as our emotional well-being. When our self-esteem is high we can find that we are more receptive to our connections with others, feel more satisfied in life and feel more able to take chances and try new opportunities. It allows us to enforce boundaries and maintain a level of perspective of situations happening both around us and to us. It allows us to be more resilient, have a more healthy outlook on life and find ways forward when things are challenging. However, when self-esteem is low we can find ourselves questioning our place in the world and our relationships, feeling less able to manage situations, holding ourselves back and struggling to maintain or enforce boundaries.  This affects our levels of self-doubt, can lead to isolation or make us more reactive to others, feeling more defensive. This can lead to negative thinking, such as that we are not good enough, that we are not liked or that we do not belong.

We frequently talk about self-esteem and its importance. Self-esteem is a core driver in mental health and well-being, but how do we raise it? Research shows that to raise self-esteem we need to change both the way that we think and behave to ourselves, as well as how we connect and interact with others and projects.

Here’s 5 ways you can begin boosting self-esteem:

#1 – Keep your promises

When we break promises to ourselves and others, this can diminish self-esteem. When we tell people that we are going to do something, and fail to follow through this can impact our ability to feel good about ourselves. However, when we make promises with ourself or others and follow this through consistently we increase our sense of value and worth. Whether this is maintaining commitments, following through with plans, completing actions such as exercising, homework or eating well, the everyday action of keeping our word is impactful to our levels of self-esteem.

#2 – Reflect on your strengths

We can all become consumed in the things that we have not done, should be doing or could be doing. We need to spend more time reflecting on our successes and strengths, no matter what size that they are. These can be as simple as making the bed in the morning, to achieving a new target, the gap is in whether you recognise, reflect and record them. Whether it is in a diary, online, in your notes in your phone or telling a supporter, reflecting on our strengths/wins/gratitudes increases both our self-esteem and our confidence – have you ever noticed that you gain confidence backwards? By reflecting and recording your gratitudes and wins you increase your own confidence simultaneously.

#3 – Do a kind deed / say a kind word

Kind deeds can be overinflated, the purpose of them is to do something kind for nothing more than the act of doing them. The act of giving/serving increases our own self-esteem and has been found to increase feelings of well-being. Whether we send a text to someone who we care for, leave a post-it for a partner or colleague telling them something we love about them, leave a gesture for a friend or neighbour, or plan something to simply make someone else smile acts of kindness increase our activity, connections, and the levels of serotonin and dopamine in our brains.

#4 – Take care of yourself

Self-care is intrinsically linked to our self-esteem. The smallest acts of self-care from having a shower, to moisturising our skin, eating well, drinking enough water or wearing clothes that we love are all associated with our self-esteem. When we take care of ourselves, we are placing value on ourselves, we are reminding ourselves that we matter and this correlates with our self-esteem. Taking time to look after yourself is fundamental to feeling better about ourselves, and this starts with the small actions. Think of a day when you felt great about yourself – what were you doing, what were you wearing, what had you done for yourself? Then compare it to a day when you felt worse, what didn’t you do, what actions had you taken for you? What’s in the gap?

#5 – Talk to yourself like a good friend

Have you ever noticed that you would rarely speak to a good friend the way that you can find yourself speaking to yourself? Our thoughts become our feelings, our feelings become our behaviours. When we say good things to ourselves we can find ourselves feeling more positive and optimistic, which can lead to us expressing our needs, taking chances and moving in new directions. However, we can frequently absorb negativity from others or be saying negative things to ourselves. An easy activity, find a photo of the younger version of yourself and stick it to your mirror. Each morning and evening give ‘little you’ a pep talk, remind them how great they are, how loved they are, what they are doing well today – be consistent – notice what happens……..

Want to learn more? 

Are you looking for a deeper understanding of child mental health? Our Level 4 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Coaching Diploma takes you into an in depth dive of child mental health and how you can support.  You can join our Level 4 training (here).


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