5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem
Write a “self-esteem résumé"
When you’re feeling down on yourself, you tend to ignore your good qualities and focus on your faults and past mistakes instead, says Natalie Dattilo, Ph.D., a clinical health psychologist at Indiana University Health. That’s why she asks patients who are struggling with low self-esteem to make a list of 50 positive, valuable things about themselves. Start with the basics (you’re a wife, mother, teacher, etc.) then move on to your skills, talents, and physical attributes. Finally, consider your character. “Maybe you’re loyal or a good listener or a dependable friend,” says Dattilo. Keep the list in a convenient place so you can re-read it whenever you need a self-esteem boost.
Work up a sweat
Exercising boosts self-esteem in two ways, says Dattilo. “Not only do you get a high from the release of feel-good hormones, but evidence shows that working out also makes you feel more empowered and capable,” she explains. The type of exercise doesn’t matter, nor does time or intensity. “It’s really about having the intention to exercise and following through on it that gives you that feeling of accomplishment,” explains Dattilo.
Keep social media experiences in check
Spending a lot of time on sites such as Facebook and Instagram can do a number on your self-esteem. “You’re seeing the perfectly curated version of your friends’ lives, and it can make you feel inadequate in comparison,” says Dattilo. Consider cutting back on your usage or even taking a short break if you’re feeling particularly low. And when you are on social media, participate—don’t just lurk. Why? A study published in the journal Social Influence found that passive Facebook users felt invisible and less important than others.
Treat yourself with kindness
This means not insulting yourself when you do something wrong (“I’m such an idiot for messing up that presentation at work!”) but also making time to care for yourself. It could be anything from getting a massage or trying a new look to treating yourself to a good book or taking 5 minutes to think about what you’re grateful for. “When you treat yourself with kindness, you start to view yourself as someone who’s worthy of that kind of care and respect,” says Dattilo.
Find your passion
When your ego is hurting, you may lose sight of who you really are and what you care about. “When I ask my patients with low self-esteem what they like to do, they often have no idea,” says Dattilo. So she gives them an ego-boosting mission: try several classes and activities to discover their passion. The only rule is that you’re not allowed to evaluate yourself. “The thing that matters is that you’re passionate about the activity, not whether you’re very good at it,” says Dattilo.