9 Strategies to Improve Self-Esteem
We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
How you see yourself influences everything, from how far you go in your career to how your relationship partners treat you. A healthy sense of self-esteem makes the rest of your life easier.
How can you develop this elusive factor? Here are nine strategies to improve self-esteem that you can try today.
1. Phone a Positive Friend
People are social creatures, so much so that spending too much time alone can adversely affect your health. Loneliness increases your risk of death from all causes, and the company you keep impacts your mood.
If your old college roommate never failed to make you smile, why not give them a call? Connecting with someone uplifting is an instant mood boost, and laughing together can even tone your abs. Talk about a win-win!
2. Reframe Negative Beliefs
When was the last time you listened to your self-talk? Mindfully pay attention to your thoughts without judgment. Do you notice yourself saying things like, “you’re too stupid to do X?”
Start reframing those negative beliefs by challenging them. Do you think you’re hopeless at cooking? Why not sign up for a class at your local community college and learn how to whip up a mean souffle?
3. Go for a Walk
Going for a walk can help improve your self-esteem literally and figuratively. Physical movement stimulates the flow of feel-good endorphins, helping you instantly feel better about yourself.
Metaphorically speaking, walking away from toxic people can boost your self-esteem as few other things can. People with narcissistic personality disorder, for example, may blame you for their mistakes, making you feel like you can’t do anything right. Limiting your contact with such individuals can help you gain a better perspective on yourself and your abilities.
4. Hit the Weight Room
Think about how good you feel when you pull on your favorite outfit and see that it perfectly flatters your figure. Improving your physical appearance gives you a self-esteem boost.
One of the best ways to sculpt your body into what you want is to hit the weight room. Please don’t worry about getting too bulky. You can perform high repetitions with low weights to tone without adding mass.
5. Tackle a New Challenge
It’s never too late to learn something new. Tackling a challenge can restore your faith in your abilities and boost your self-esteem.
Why not sign up for a class at your local community center? Are you still quarantining due to a compromised immune system? If so, you can find courses on sites like Udemy for as low as $10.
6. Make a List of Positive Traits
You probably spend way too much mental energy putting yourself down for what you do wrong. When was the last time you praised yourself for all those things you do so well?
The next time you need an ego boost, sit down and make a list of all your positive traits. Maybe you are a patient and loving parent and a compassionate life partner. Perhaps you can whip up a lasagna so luscious, everyone who tastes it tells you to put it on the market. Celebrate your talents in writing and look at your list each time you want to feel better.
7. Refrain From Comparisons
Social media can help you connect with loved ones near and far. However, it can also leave you feeling worse about yourself. It can sometimes seem like everyone on Instagram has a perfect life — except for you.
Please refrain from making comparisons. Life isn’t an endless competition but an adventure to enjoy. Ask yourself why it matters if so-and-so woke up one holiday morning to find a gift-wrapped car in their driveway. If you have a functional vehicle and loved ones to share it with, you’re doing far better than many.
8. Perform an Act of Kindness
Your sense of self-esteem results in part from chemical changes in your brain. One way to influence biology to be your friend is by participating in activities that rev up your feel-good neurotransmitters.
One way to do so is through helping others. Performing acts of kindness increase your brain’s dopamine and serotonin output, two substances critical to feeling happier. When your mood improves, your impression of yourself likewise lifts.
9. Seek Help
Finally, if you can’t create a positive image of yourself, seek outside help. Working with a competent therapist can help you see the good you have to share with the world.
If you don’t have health insurance coverage or can’t afford your copay, seek out community clinics with sliding scale fees. You can also find online and in-person support groups for free.
Try One of These 9 Strategies to Improve Your Self-Esteem
How you see yourself influences how others treat you. Try one of the nine strategies above to improve your self-esteem.