Many people have low self–esteem, which may lower their overall quality of life and overall well–being. They often criticize themselves, think that other people’s achievements are just pure luck, and take their own faults very personally, which badly influence their life in general.
Having low self-esteem can be a result of their own socioeconomic status, physical appearance, loneliness, and other factors.
On the other hand, having overly high self–esteem may be troubling as nobody likes bragging.
So having a healthy self–esteem is always the right choice to make. But, how can we achieve this? Can we train our self–esteem?
Luckily, yes, we can, and there as some simple and effective activities that you can use to boost your self–esteem that we will speak about in this article.
In addition, there are many exercises, worksheets, and workbooks to help you in this process of building your self-esteem. (1)
7 Activities To Raise Your Self-Esteem
Everyone deserves to be happy and have a healthy self–esteem to enjoy their life and feel good about themselves, so here are 7 activities to achieve it easily:
1. Use positive affirmations
This is a very known tool for improving your self–esteem and confidence. You can always go for some gentle affirmations and do not use exaggerating ones such as:
“I am capable of doing hard things.”
“I will carry on and survive this.”
“I can always grow and learn from my mistakes.”
You can even write them down and place them somewhere to look at them while at home or work.
2. Set a goal and work towards it
Probably the best way to boost your self–esteem is by reaching a goal in your life. This will make you feel proud and will certainly boost your self–esteem even a little bit.
The important thing is that the goals should always be realistic and important for you. For example, if you like running, you can sign up for a race.
3. Practice mindfulness
One systematic review has shown that mindfulness can have a very positive effect on the self – esteem. Still, more research is needed to relate this research to low self–esteem because they had some methodological weaknesses. (2)
Mindfulness is a 2500-year-old Buddhist practice. It is about having a clear mind, being fully present and aware of what you are doing, without any interference in the past and in the future. It has already been deployed in Chinese psychiatry as a method for reducing stress, anxiety, and even drug addiction. (3)
4. Stop comparing your real life to other people’s highlight reels
Sometimes you may feel bad because of the achievements in the life of some people, especially those who are on social media. But, you must know they have real lives as well, and everyone experiences hardships, vulnerability, and imperfections, and nobody is perfect.
Start having your own life and spend more time on self–care. You can even start volunteering to see that there are people less fortunate than you and with even bigger problems. When you start some positive and meaningful difference in the world you live in, it will surely boost your self–esteem.
5. Keep a self-esteem journal
You can start keeping a journal and write down all the positive things that happened during the day. It is very simple and it takes only a few minutes of your time.
Cultivate your gratitude as well by writing down things you are grateful for in life, giving some compliments about yourself when you look in the mirror, make some gratitude expressions like “I am grateful for my health and all the great people I have in my life”.
6. Spend more time with people who boost your self–esteem
Self–esteem can be affected by people and events coming from outside. If you spend time with people who criticize you very often, it will be hard for you to improve your self–esteem.
Try to spend some time with people who motivate and inspire you, and tell all of your friends who criticize you that criticizing is not acceptable and that you will no longer spend your time with them.
7. Always accept compliments
According to one study, people with low self–esteem have problems with accepting positive feedback and it is more likely that they will accept the negative one. (4)
Just practice saying “Thank you “ or “That means a lot, thank you “ when someone gives you a compliment, and do not be shy and have that good feeling most people have when receiving a compliment. It will sure make you feel better.
5 Effective Ways To Build Self-Esteem
Cultivating your self-esteem can be surprisingly tough, but there are some smart ways to improve our feelings of self–worth.
Here are 5 exercises to use to build your self–esteem when you feel it is low:
1. Identify your competencies and develop them
You can start by demonstrating the abilities you have, but first, you should find your core competencies and find the right opportunity to show them. For example, if you are a good cook, try making home parties and invite guests as often as you can.
2. Eliminate self-criticism and introduce self-compassion
When you have low self–esteem, you will probably start with self–criticism and criticize yourself often with a self–criticizing monologue, which makes your low self–esteem even lower. So when you start criticizing yourself, think about what you would say to a dear friend because we are always compassionate towards friends and try to say the same compassionate words to yourself. Compassion always builds your self–esteem, so be self – compassionate as much as you can and stop criticizing yourself!
3. Affirm your real worth
Make a list of all meaningful things that you are really worth in a specific situation, like, for example, a date rejection. If you have been rejected by a date, make a list of qualities you have for a good relationship ( you are loyal, trustful, you are totally committed to the relationship, etc.). You can take just one of those qualities and write a short essay about it and mention how this quality is very valuable, and people should appreciate it.
4. Learn new things every single day
By learning new things every day, we learn how to focus on success and less on making new mistakes, which will surely boost our self–esteem. There are many fun ways to start learning something new, like listening to podcasts, reading self–help books, online courses, and starting new hobbies or creative activities.
5. Start with a self–care
You can always feel self-worth by doing things for yourself, like enjoying a long bath, watching a favorite movie, going out for a coffee with friends, or getting a massage. You can even make it a habit. So, start with your self–care activities; you deserve it for sure!
How Do You Build Self-Esteem In Group Activities?
If you think that you have low self–esteem and you want to make your life happier, and you may find group therapy sessions very enriching.
You will find people that experience something similar and you won’t feel alone in your fight. It is great for all ages and it is complete fun. Here are 4 fun activities you can use to improve your self–esteem in group therapy for building self–esteem in youth and these are also building self-esteem activities for adults.
Therapists use different techniques and therapeutic approaches to improve self–esteem, but they usually recommend their clients to spend at least 5 minutes every week for an extended period of time.
During this activity, some ice-breaking techniques are used to get people talking. For example, each member of the group shall start sharing some humorous or unexpected thing about themselves or start describing themselves with adjectives with the first letter of their name.
In this group activity, group members discuss gratitude. They discuss some specific things they are grateful for, and this reminds the participants about the positive and good things in their life.
In this group therapy, clients switch their roles with their partners to promote empathy or to practice some challenging situations, like asking for a raise or resisting temptations.
Giving compliments is always a nice way to brighten someone’s day. In this group therapy session, each participant would say something positive about each member of the group.
After that, each participant will repeat the statement using an I statement such as “I have a pretty smile.”
4 Steps To Take To Improve Your Self–Esteem
To improve your self–esteem, you can use these 4 steps from cognitive behavioral therapy and start enjoying your life and getting the needed confidence.
1. Identify troubling conditions or situations
You should think about all the situations that decrease your self – esteem such as crises at work or at home.
2. Become aware of thoughts and beliefs
Then, think about what kind of thoughts you have about them and how you interpret them. They may be positive, neutral or negative, rational or irrational. Ask yourself whether they are true, and would you tell them to someone else? If you cannot tell anyone else, do not tell them yourself.
3. Challenge negative or inaccurate thinking
In this phase, test your affirmations and see whether they are logical or based on real facts. You should always have enough evidence to support your thinking and never confuse emotions or feelings with facts.
Never jump to negative conclusions like: He did not reply in my chat because I made something that made him angry.
4. Adjust your thoughts and beliefs
Try to replace all the negative statements or inaccurate thoughts with real, accurate ones.
Encourage yourself and give yourself credit for positive changes and focus on the positive, and think about the positive things in your life. Forgive the mistakes you have made in your past, and think about the things you have learned from them. Avoid using “must” and “should” statements and stop making unreasonable demands.
Ana Miller is a creative writer. Her topics of interest and expertise range from psychology to all sorts of disciplines such as science and news.