Having a low self-esteem is one of the worst things that can afflict someone. It's not a disease or a condition that will make you ill, but it's one that will nevertheless affect many areas of your life and make your life a lot more difficult. At the same time if it carries on it can result in more clinical conditions such as depression, and it can even start to affect others. Recognizing low self-esteem and finding ways to address it is highly important and is something that can make your whole life seem more vibrant, positive and colorful – and that can help you to go on to achieve greater things and thrive in your relationship.
There are many ways to address low self-esteem once you identify it and these include using various forms of therapy such as CBT as well as even using medications and other more intensive measures. However, while these methods often have a lot of merit, in many cases they are not necessary, or can be more effective when used in conjunction with more every day strategies. There are plenty of things you can do yourself to improve your self-esteem, and this includes several activities that can raise your confidence just through participation. Here we will look at some self-esteem boosting activities that you can engage. In some cases this can be enough to boost your self-confidence, or in others they can act as the perfect companion when used alongside things like CBT or medication.
Acting lessons are perfect for boosting your self-esteem and your confidence in general. Acting requires you to get up and to perform in front of people in an unusual way – often putting on voices and doing other things that draw attention to you in an unusual way. This probably goes against your usual low-self-esteem desire to shrink into the background and to avoid attention, and by practicing exposing yourself in this way you can build up your low self-esteem and learn that you have nothing to be afraid of in the process. Dancing lessons and other activities can similarly help you to overcome shyness or the fear that things you say will be laughed at or shot down.
As a rule, when you look good you feel good, and this then means that going for a makeover, or a photoshoot where you will be made to look your best then photographed flatteringly, can make you feel like a million bucks. When you see how good you can look then this is of course going to give you a huge injection of self-esteem.
Weight lifting or running is a tried and true way to boost self-esteem and it works in multiple ways. For one, exercise gives you a target to work toward and lets you take positive steps in that direction which gives you more confidence. At the same time exercise helps to make you look better which ties in with the earlier point, and it helps you to develop more strength and fitness which means you will not only look better but be more physically capable too. Furthermore, by exercising you also improve brain power so even that will be something to feel more confident about, and it also causes you to produce endorphins – the happiness hormones that are responsible for the 'runners high' and that act as natural antidepressants to help lift your mood and boost your confidence as a result.
Any hobby gives you something to focus on and develop. Often low self-esteem comes from being unhappy with things that we can't control and this makes us feel powerless or like failures. Hobbies give us something which we can control and which we can improve at, and they make us more rounded people who have an additional skill. By taking up a hobby then you can make yourself a more rounded individual but at the same time you can find a place to concentrate your energy and a way to improve yourself.
Team Building Seminars
Team building seminars exist principally to teach people (normally workers) how to work well in a team. However by attending these seminars you can also learn how valuable you are to that team and you can make yourself feel more confident and worthwhile as a result.
Likewise team sports can show you your value as an individual and that means things like football or rugby. It's hard to feel bad about yourself when you are an integral part of a team.
Dating can make us feel supremely confident – finding someone who likes you for who you are and who gives you a lot of attention is a great way to feel impressive and to improve your general mood too. If you are currently struggling with dating then try signing up for online dating – if nothing else the influx of e-mails can make you feel great about yourself and demonstrate that there are people out there. If you are already in a relationship meanwhile, tell your partner how you are feeling and set a date to go out together and dress up for a special occasion.
Martial arts improve fitness and also give you the ability to defend yourself. Physical power very often translates to confidence so this is a great way to feel better about yourself.
Anything where you are socializing with the right people can boost your mood and esteem. Try to lose the friends who are a drain on your self-esteem, and surround yourself with positive people who you love and when you spend time with them you're sure to come away feeling valued and popular.
There are also several exercises you can engage in right now that can help to boost your self-esteem and make you more confident. Here are a couple of suggestions.
Positive affirmations are phrases that you repeat to yourself such as 'I am a great people person, and I have as much to offer as anyone else'. They can sound hammy, but actually they work incredibly well because they end up becoming habitual so that this is what your brain automatically thinks rather than more negative alternatives.
Change Your Posture
Sometimes all it takes to increase your self-esteem is to start walking taller. So puff your chest out, smile confidently and let your shoulders roll back. Look slightly upward too and you'll find you automatically feel more powerful and like you can do anything.
Think of Positives
Sometimes you just need to remind yourself why you are deserving of high self-esteem. To do this try writing down all the positive things that people have said to you recently and reading through this list. You'll find you've received a lot of genuine compliments. Likewise you can achieve the same thing by thinking of all of your achievements. Think of the last interview you aced, your good grades at school, or the last attractive person who came over to talk to you and you'll quickly realize that other people don't view you the way you do.
Often your low self-esteem comes from unrealistic beliefs – about your expectations and particularly about the way other people see you. If you are rational with yourself then you probably know deep down that you have no reason to be low in self-esteem. In particular focus on the fact that no one is perfect and that everyone else has probably just as many flaws and problems as you do – and they're equally scared of being caught. It's not nice to put others down to raise your esteem, but if you feel very low then try noting how other people trip up – how other people don't always look great or they slip over on their words or they say things that aren't smart – then you can realize that actually you're just human and cut yourself some slack.
Take a moment out and try to remember the last time you felt full of confidence and power and you felt truly good about yourself. What was happening at this point, and what was it that made you so high in self-esteem? Try to recreate that feeling by mimicking things that made you so confident back then.
When you recall your confident times, let yourself bask in this feeling and really soak in the feelings of power and accomplishment. Visualize yourself as a confident person and achieving the things you want to achieve and then hold onto this feeling while touching your little finger and thumb together on your left hand. Repeat this exercise a couple of times, and what you should end up doing is creating an 'anchor' or an association between that feeling and that action. So in future when you want to 'call up' those feelings of power and success you just touch the little finger and thumb together and let it flood back. This is a technique used in 'NLP' (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and many self-help gurus swear by it.
Alternatively you can just visualize yourself as being highly successful as and when you need it. If you are going to give a speech for instance, then just visualize yourself delivering a speech that hits the ball out of the park and you'll find it makes you feel a lot better about it. Likewise if you are feeling low, then imagine yourself fulfilling your aims and ambitions and as a perfect idealized version of yourself. The great thing about this strategy is that by visualizing yourself as accomplished the 'self fulfilling prophecy' means that you will be more likely to achieve those things too.
If you are unhappy with yourself as you are currently then set goals that you can directly control to improve yourself and this will help you to move toward a more confident and happy version of yourself. Notice the qualifier that you need to be able to directly control them – failing to accomplish goals will only make your self-esteem lower, so make sure these are things you can definitely do. So for instance don't make it a goal to lose 2 stone – rather make it a goal to eat less and workout three times a week. You can't directly control your weight because there are so many factors so this is a recipe for disaster, however you can control your diet and your exercise and if you do that consistently you'll find you lose weight anyway.