10 Ways To Boost Your Self-Esteem
Hands up if you suffer from a lack of self-confidence. Well, that pretty much covers everyone. So what can you do about it? Quite a lot, says life coach Judith Verity.
If you aren't happy with your life at the moment, don't worry, because you have the power to change it. It might not feel like it right now, but even small changes can make a very big difference.
f you don't think you can manage all ten of these confidence-boosting ideas straight away, just choose one and, when you've got the hang of it, do another one. In fact, you could even set yourself a two-week change program and take one of the options each day.
1. De-bug your system
If you work on a computer, you probably save your valuable, creative files, delete all the rubbish and check for bugs. Our brains are the most sophisticated computers we'll ever own, but we don't look after them as well as we look after our PCs. However, did you know you can program your brain to boost your self-esteem?
- Use the right programming language and be positive when you talk to yourself. Instead of saying 'I shouldn't eat so much', 'I mustn't be so lazy', 'I can't cope under pressure', use phrases such as 'I can eat healthy food', 'I will take regular exercise', 'I am getting more confident'.
- Congratulate yourself when things go right - even little things like getting to work on time or remembering to call a friend on their birthday.
- If something is bothering you, whether it's a person, an incident, or something you did or didn't do, acknowledge it, learn from it and then delete it. It's taking up valuable mind space and undermining your self-esteem.
- Before you go to sleep, think of six things that made you happy during the day. It could be a smile, a piece of music, sunshine on your back or a cuddle.
- Use your sleeping time positively. If something's bothering you, ask yourself some questions about it before you go to sleep. Make sure you phrase those questions positively - don't ask yourself 'why am I such a failure?' before you close your eyes. Ask 'how can I be more successful/confident/happy?'
2. Start the day right
Mornings seem to be a bad time for most people, and if you start off sluggishly, this negative mood can hang around until lunchtime. Put yourself in a positive frame of mind before you even get out of bed by asking yourself these questions:
- If I went to sleep last night with a question in mind, am I any closer to an answer now? (If you don't have that answer yet, don't chase it. Wait until it comes.)
- What am I happy about in my life? (It doesn't have to be large or wonderful. Small happinesses count.)
- What am I excited about?
- What am I proud of?
- What am I grateful for?
- What am I committed to?
- Who do I love?
- Who loves me?
3. Cultivate your social life
People with high self-esteem are generally quite sociable. But this is a chicken and egg situation Ãƒ ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the less you interact with other people, the more negative you'll feel about yourself and the less likely you'll be to put yourself in social situations.
Break the negative circle by starting to include other people in your life. If this seems difficult, think of it as giving as well as taking. Join a voluntary organization or club and offer to help. This is not only a distraction from your problems, but also generates feelings of self worth.
4. Get some exercise
Include more exercise in your life. Working out, particularly outdoors, is a great way to generate your own 'feel-good' chemicals and will give you body confidence as well as energize you. People who exercise regularly tend to look good, they have better skin tone, better muscle tone and their movements are easier and more balanced. If you have physical poise and strength, it's much easier to feel confident inside as well.
Do you spend a lot of time feeling anxious and stressed? Learning to breathe like a relaxed and confident person will help you cope with daily stresses, and it's the simplest habit you could ever learn.
There are lots of books and classes about this and, if you like the idea, you could take up meditation or yoga and become a master of poise and positive energy.
6. Make your own choices
Take time out to assess a) your career and b) your relationships. Ask yourself:
- Is this job/person giving me positive feedback?
- Do I enjoy this job/person?
- Does this job/person acknowledge and reflect my creativity and my strengths?
- Am I sticking with this job/person simply out of habit?
- Could I do better?
If it's not working for you, whatever it is, change it.
7. Review your situation
Include time for reflection in your daily schedule - praying if you're religions, meditating or writing a diary of your thoughts and feelings. We often don't give ourselves enough time to process all the things that are going on in our lives.
If you decide on a diary, instead of writing a list of what went wrong today, write down these headings first, and fill them in.
- Goals: set yourself a daily outcome and build up to larger goals.
- Achievements: what did you achieve today?
- Gifts: what happened, out of the blue, to cheer you?
- Insights: you may not get one every day - but when you suddenly spot a key to some piece of your behavior, write it down.
8. Change your environment
Chances are, your environment reflects the way you feel, but, whether it's dull, cluttered or messy, you can change it. Any positive changes you make are going to have a positive effect on your mood too. Look at your desk, your home or even your wardrobe and see what you can do to make it more inspiring.
- Clear up the clutter (a good Feng Shui practice that will make you feel more energetic) and throw out stuff you don't use.
- Give yourself a sound track - add some inspiring music.
- Introduce new bold colours that you love.
9. Give yourself the VIP treatment
Start treating yourself the way you'd treat your best friend. It comes as a shock to most people how nasty and neglectful we can be to ourselves. If you aren't sure you can keep this up for long, take it a day at a time. Give yourself encouragement and support. Take yourself out for a hairdo, a massage, an aromatherapy session - or even a clothes-shopping trip.
10. Find a role model
If you're having difficulty taking this new version of yourself seriously, why not pretend to be someone else? Think of someone you admire - it could be someone you know, or someone famous - and live your day as they would. How would they react to others? Would they be assertive? Relaxed? Confident? Fun and energetic?
And yes, you do know how to do this. Even if you have to think back to when you were a child, you'll be able to come up with a time when you were happy with yourself and in control of your situation. In fact, if you can remember that time very well, why not be your own role model?
Last Updated: 08 April 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD