Use These Activities to Build Self-Esteem

November 14, 2019 Britt Mahrer

Are there any activities to build self-esteem? Yes, there are. In fact, the most common question I get asked about building self-esteem is where to start. Often, we can clearly picture the version of ourselves we desire to embody, yet we struggle to take the first few steps towards it. Self-esteem starts to feel like a massive undertaking, something we can see in the distance but never gets any closer. To help, here are a few fresh new activities to build self-esteem that have worked for several of my clients. 

2 Activities to Build Self-Esteem

The Antonym Activity

This is a great activity to build self-esteem if you are struggling to specify the aspects of yourself that you want to improve.

  1. Make a list. For the next few days, write down three words you feel about yourself. They can be either positive or negative, just be honest. (For example, mine last night were healthy, vulnerable, and unreliable, as I had canceled plans with someone.)
  2. Single out the negatives. After a week, study your list. Make a new list of all the negative words.
  3. Grab your thesaurus. Ready for the fun part? Look up each of the negative words and find the antonym. And just like that, you've found your starting point. It's as simple as that.
  4. Release your expectations. Remind yourself that these are just words meant to inspire you, not a new set of rules to follow. If the antonym doesn't resonate with you, let it go and try a different way. 

The Mountain Visualization

If you are someone who feels overwhelmed at the concept of building self-esteem, then this is the activity for you.

  1. Create a list of the attributes you desire. These can be specific, such as a weight loss goal, or more open-ended, like being more comfortable in social situations. (If you've done the Antonym Activity, you've already got a starting point.)
  2. Make your mountain. Visualize yourself at the base of a beautiful mountain. At the top are the attributes you desire to achieve. You know your goal is to reach these–trust that they are not going anywhere, you don't' need to be afraid they will leave. 
  3. Notice your reaction. How steep is your mountain? When looking up, do you feel overwhelmed? Does it seem like climbing is going to be exhausting, or hard, or unobtainable? Notice what arises within yourself.
  4. Take control. Now imagine that your mountain is completely malleable–you can mold it like clay. Picture yourself reshaping it, making your mountain less steep. Keep going until your mountain no longer seems like a high peak and feels more like a hilly trek.
  5. Release your fear. Your goals are still in the distance, but they are no longer high above you. You don't need to be afraid that they are beyond your abilities. Picture an amazing feeling of peacefulness sweeping over you. 
  6. Optional: map your progress. Once a week, sit down and visualize your mountain. However, instead of looking into the distance, try looking backward at how far you've come. Some weeks you'll only have moved a few steps, perhaps occasionally you'll have gone nowhere at all. (Yes, some weeks you will even have gone back down a little bit, welcome to life, it's messy.)

Remember that the road to self-esteem is different for all of us. As you're playing with these activities to build self-esteem, check-in about whether they bring you a sense of freedom or whether they feel stressful. Release your expectations and enjoy the exploration. 

What activities to build self-esteem have helped you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

APA Reference
Mahrer, B. (2019, November 14). Use These Activities to Build Self-Esteem, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Britt Mahrer

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Lizanne Corbit
November, 19 2019 at 5:52 pm

I absolutely love these! Not only are they both so applicable, but they also make the concept of "building self-esteem" something tangible. When we talk about things like self-esteem, love, and trust it can be hard for us to have a concrete idea of just how we do that (which in itself can be overwhelming or defeating). These are wonderful.

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