Fact: Each and every one of us has self-esteem. Self-esteem is made up of the thoughts we have about ourselves and plays a role in almost everything we do. Having healthy self-esteem is really important as it helps you make positive choices in your everyday life, gives you the courage to be your own person, have good relationships and helps you deal with difficult situations.
Did you know that 87% of those who have been bullied felt it had a negative effect on their self-esteem…
Low self-esteem can have harmful effects on your mental health, your decisions about your appearance and ultimately, your future. It’s not easy to like every part of the way you look, but getting stuck on negatives can really bring down your self-esteem.
Other effects of low self-esteem include:
- You avoid difficult situations
- Sensitive to criticism
- Withdrawal from social situations
- You are reluctant to trust yourself
It’s important to believe, deep down that you can change. Change doesn’t necessarily happen easily or quickly, but it can happen. There are simple interventions aimed at helping you increase your self-esteem. Here are the DTL expert’s top tips and the best ways to build and improve your self-esteem:
1. Challenge bad thoughts about yourself
Replace them with more positive thoughts which celebrate things you’re good at. You can do this by writing down a list of at least three things you do well. Remember this list when you start feeling low, this will help bring yourself back to reality.
2. Take care of you
Eating well and exercising boosts endorphins, the body’s natural opiates, which make you feel good on the inside and stimulates a more positive mood. When you exercise, you’ll ease stress and feel better about yourself. Having a cheesy dance in your bedroom, or going for a jog around the block are great ways to boost your self-esteem.
Stress plays a huge role in self-esteem. Reduce your stress by taking time out to do something you find relaxing. This can be anything from taking a bath, meditation, gaming, exercise… you name it: if it works, it works!
4. Set Goals
Take the time every day to think about what you’d like to achieve. Then set yourself realistic goals for each day and keep track of your progress by writing down all your accomplishments. This can be as simple as finishing off a piece of work or tidying up (we all know how challenging this can be!) You’ll feel an enormous sense of accomplishment when you’ve ticked off everything on your list for the day. The trick is to not get bogged down by the list; some days you won’t manage to get it all done and that’s OK too!
5. Help someone out
This can be a friend, family member or even a classmate who is struggling with their work or having a tough time at school. You could give them some advice or just be there to listen to a problem. It’s amazing how much our confidence is boosted when we do selfless things – do one thing a week to help someone else without expecting anything in return.
6. Take a different perspective
Look at tricky situations from alternative angles. Try to replace thoughts like ‘why should I bother?’ with ‘I won’t know unless I try’. By looking at a situation through a more realistic lens you’ll realise that you actually can do what you want – you just need to apply a bit more positivity! By doing this every time you have a negative thought, you’ll eventually default to this kind of positivity on the regular, and who doesn’t love a go-getter?
7. Try new things
Our brains are really good at learning new stuff and the more new stuff you learn, the better you get at learning it. Everyone needs a creative outlet; music, art, dance, games, sewing, cooking, web design – all you need to do is get on YouTube and find some tutorials. All the information you need is out there – it’s just waiting for you to click on it.
8. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good
Spend your time with people who appreciate and care about you. It can be a little tricky at first, but try to distance yourself from people who make you feel bad about yourself. Even if they’re the most popular kid in school or the coolest person you know, it’s really not worth hanging out with them if they make you feel rubbish! Strengthen other friendships and you’ll most certainly feel better about things in the long run!
9. Accept yourself
First up: self-acceptance is key to feeling confident. When people pay you compliments, simply say ‘thanks’ rather than brushing them aside or countering them with a negative. Second: Nobody is perfect. Accept your ‘flaws’ or imperfections and learn to love them, they are what make you unique, work it!
10. Keep visual reminders of things that make you feel good
Mementos are a great way to see all the cool things you’ve been doing. How about making a ‘wall of fame’ in your bedroom with snaps of you and your friends? We are living in an age where we have a camera in our pocket at all times…take more pictures! Capture those memorable moments and when you look back at them, you’ll realise how many awesome things you’ve done this year!