Most of us have encountered low self-esteem at some point in our lives. Perhaps you are currently battling this issue as you read this article. Yes, we all experience it and often deal with it daily. There are various reasons for low self-esteem including traumatic childhood experiences such as neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse. One’s confidence may also be affected by ill health, negative life events such as job loss or divorce and a general sense of lack of control.
The result of this is many people tend to be reluctant to express and assert themselves, miss out on experiences and opportunities, and feel powerless to change things. So, what can you do about this? Take a look at the list of ideas below that may help boost your self-esteem and possibly improve your physical and mental wellbeing.
- Think positively about yourself – Constantly remind yourself that despite your problems, you are a unique, special, and valuable person and that you deserve to feel good about yourself. Identify and challenge any negative thoughts about yourself such as, “I am a loser”, “I never do anything right”, or “No one really likes me”. Purposefully change the narrative in your mind. Think of it this way, if someone else said to you what you say to yourself, what would your reaction be?
- Pay Attention to your personal hygiene – Take a shower daily, brush your hair, trim your nails, and so on. This goes a long way in boosting your mood and consequently your sense of self-worth. It is definitely a good start.
- Wear clean clothes that make you feel good about yourself– All things being equal, wear an ironed shirt rather than a crumpled T-shirt. Dress the way that you would like to feel. Neat, bright, fashionable, and fitting clothes and accessories do a lot in boosting self-esteem. After all, when you look good, you feel good.
- Eat good food as part of a healthy, balanced diet. It is evident that food affects one’s moods so eat a balanced diet that is free of processing. Also, make meals a special time even if you are eating alone. Turn off the TV, get off your social media, set the table and make a moment to feel grateful and truly enjoy your meal and time to yourself or with your loved ones.
- Exercise regularly. Go for a brisk walk every day, even if it is cold or rainy, and take more vigorous exercise (exercise that makes you sweat) at least three times a week. It is well documented that exercise boosts your endorphin levels. These are the “feel good” hormones in your body and who doesn’t want to feel good? Besides, we all know that regular exercise helps one loss excess body fat, tones muscles, and even clears your mind. All this shall not only improve the quality of your life but help you get into great shape as well.
- Reduce your stress levels. If possible, agree with a friend or relative that you will take turns to massage each other on a regular basis. Also, take time off work or other strenuous activities to re-boot and re-set your mind and body. It is also a good idea to create time at the beginning of your day to meditate, pray or just have some quiet time to get yourself ready for the day. Take care of yourself, treat yourself, love yourself.
- Make your living space clean, comfortable, and attractive. Whenever I clean my house or just tend to my house plants, I seem to feel much better. De-clutter your space, get rid of items that you no longer need, want or like and arrange whatever that’s left. Remember to be philanthropic and donate what you do not need. Helping others is also a great way to feel good about yourself. (Bonus point). Also, display items that remind you of your achievements and the special times and people in your life.
- Do more of the things that you enjoy. Go ahead and spoil yourself. Do at least one thing that you enjoy every day. Be it reading a chapter of an interesting novel, visiting a local farmer’s market, listening to your favorite music artist, or simply enjoying the company of loved ones.
- Get artistic. Activities like painting, music, poetry, and dance enable you to express yourself, interact positively with others and reduce your stress levels. Do not worry yourself into thinking that you are not imaginative. Get your creative juices going, give it a try and you might impress yourself with a hidden talent or two. Go ahead and join a choir after work or on the weekends, learn an instrument, take a creative writing class or even an art class and express yourself.
- Set yourself a challenge that you can realistically complete. For example, take up yoga, learn to sing, or throw a small dinner party for some friends. Just go for it! Remember to give yourself a deadline and relish in the glow of completing and achieving a task or new hobby.
- Do some of the things that you have been putting off such as filing the paperwork, repainting the kitchen, or clearing out the garden. Procrastination not only creates unwarranted pressure and anxiety, but it is also a sign that you may have low confidence in the task that you are required to do. Go ahead and tackle your tasks immediately and you shall be amazed at how undaunting the task was in the first place and even impressed at the great work you have done.
- Be nice to people and do nice things for them. Remember our bonus point on philanthropy? Well, also try to strike up a conversation with your watchman or shopkeeper, invite a neighbor round for tea, visit a friend who is sick, or get involved with a local charity. Putting a smile on someone’s face is bound to put one on yours.
- Get others on board. Tell your friends and relatives what you are going through and ask for their advice and support. You would be surprised at the wealth of support and advise you may receive from people who may understand your plight. Low confidence affects most if not all of us to be open to seeking help and forming support group so that you may also help others. Most people want to help, all you need to do is ask.
- Spend more time with those you hold near and dear and at the same time, try to enlarge your social circle by making an effort to meet and befriend people. Look up social and networking events near you or even at your place of work. Be open-minded and interact with people you would not normally socialize with. Listen to their stories and tell yours. Do this often and soon enough, your self-esteem issues shall be a thing of the past.
- Avoid people and places that treat you badly or make you feel bad about yourself. Granted you may not be able to avoid certain places especially if it is your place of work or your home, take control of the circumstance. This may mean that you could purposefully be more assertive in such negative situations and to negative people. Make sure that you have set boundaries and principles for yourself that shouldn’t be crossed. Also, ensure that those around you are aware of the consequences of having such boundaries crossed which may include distancing yourself from the situation altogether.
If you have more ideas, please add onto the list. Be bold and be confident.