Seven ways to boost your self-esteem
Check negative self-talk
How we value and perceive ourselves and our abilities is believed to be strongly tied to influences in childhood. A recent study following nearly 9,000 participants in the US from birth to age 27 found that family environment (covering parenting, cognitive stimulation and physical home environment) in childhood, and especially in the first six years of life, has a long-term impact on self-esteem. The first step to achieving healthy self-esteem as an adult is to challenge negative beliefs you have about yourself, perhaps by writing down self-critical thoughts and the evidence against them, or by speaking to yourself the way you would of a friend.
Don’t compare yourself with others
It’s impossible to get an accurate view of other people, especially from their online presence. You’re comparing yourself with a fantasy, and that will lead to either excessive striving or disappointment. Focus on what you yourself want to accomplish instead. People can put a lot of effort into what they think others want or expect from them, which they may have misjudged – this is a recipe for unhappiness. Our lives happen at different paces because we all have different paths to follow so try not to look at others thinking because they have a job, a partner or children that they have their life sorted - they could also be yet to find their perfect life too.
Set yourself manageable goals
Aiming for too-ambitious a goal can be setting yourself up for failure, knocking your self-confidence even if you have taken big steps towards it. A sense of accomplishment is key to maintaining your pride. Set short term goals and have a treat in place for yourself when you do achieve them.
Although keeping to your comfort zone can offer short-term relief, it can backfire in the long term. It can lead you to thinking that the only way to cope with life challenges or opportunities is to avoid them and therefore avoid change. But you are in turn avoiding opportunities and finding something that is right for you. Think of that boost you feel once you tick off a challenge.
Take care of yourself
Low self-esteem can sometimes lead to neglect of physical health. The mental health charity Mind recommends considering any negative impacts on your life of stress, exercise, sleep, diet and drugs and alcohol. Finding ways to relax and addressing any issues you may have with your diet or substances can have a significant effect on your sense of self-worth.
Physical activity has been found to positively influence self-esteem and wellbeing. A 2016 study found that physical activity, perceived physical fitness and body image play an important role in self-esteem, and recommended that “regular physical activity should be promoted, in particular among adults reporting lower self-esteem”. Again, try those smaller goals first; use your lunch break to take a walk or get out of the car and get your steps up at any opportunity you can.
Take up gardening
This may be a strange one to some people who feel like gardening is not their thing at all but research published in the Journal of Public Health in 2015 found that just one session of gardening significantly improves your mood and self-esteem. If this is something you would like to try then get in touch with our team as we have a garden project called “Sow & Grow” where you can volunteer your time to gardening meeting new faces and learning new skills. Call Ciara on 028 822 48118 to sign up today.