Developing healthy self-esteem is the first step towards being happy in yourself.
eHarmony UK editor Verity Hogan shares 7 strategies that will help to give yours a boost.
1. Positive affirmations
It might feel uncomfortable at first, but incorporating positive affirmations into your daily routine can have a profound effect on your overall self-esteem. Start by reminding yourself of everything that you’ve already achieved; list your skills, talents, successes (however small) and any compliments that you’ve received from others over the years. Breaking the cycle of negative thoughts requires real effort, so try to ensure that you have an affirmation on hand to challenge them all. Sometimes simply repeating strong statements such as ‘I am enough’ can help you to develop a more positive mindset.
2. Gratitude lists
There’s a whole host of research out there that shows that practising gratitude can help to boost your health and your emotional wellbeing. By actively seeking out positives in each day, you eventually retrain your brain so that you start to find the positive in even the most difficult circumstances. Start small; spend time at the end of each day writing down three things that you’re grateful for. They can be big, like your family’s health or a promotion at work, or small, like the extra shot of coffee in your morning cappuccino.
3. Tackling the tough stuff
When it comes to tackling our to-do lists, it can be tempting to start with the easy things and leave the more difficult tasks to the end. The trick is to turn this idea on its head and start by tackling the toughest items first. Not only will it help you feel a greater sense of achievement, it’ll also make the rest of your tasks seem that much easier to complete.
4. Practice your skills
Practising your hobbies is a great way to boost your self-esteem and enjoy yourself at the same time. Whether you’re a keen pianist, yoga bunny or gaming enthusiast, actively developing your skills in an area that you enjoy will help to prevent those negative thought patterns from creeping in. And, if you start practicing regularly, you’ll start to see an improvement in your ability week-by-week, which in turn will bring you a sense of accomplishment that’s great for your self-esteem.
5. Take risks
It’s often said that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. Taking risks, however small, is a great way to test your limits and prove to yourself that you can do more than you might think. And the more risks you take, the more confident you’ll become. Whether it’s going on a first date, trying that art class or finally asking your manager for a pay rise, don’t let fear prevent you from reaching your full potential.
6. Indulge in self-care
Self-care may seem indulgent, but if you neglect yourself then you’ll only end up harming your self-esteem. How will you ever feel good about yourself if you don’t take care of yourself? Of course, when you’re going through a tough time, it can be hard to motivate yourself to eat properly, exercise and sleep well, but if you don’t do these things, you’ll end up feeling worse than ever. Start with the basics; eat your five-a-day, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water and get outside to enjoy some fresh air every day – you’ll see an improvement in your mood in no time.
7. Help others
If you spend all of your time focused on yourself, worrying what other people think of you, then it’s little wonder that your self-esteem will take a knock. Taking time to do something to help someone less fortunate than yourself is a great way of reminding yourself that you can make a difference to someone’s life and you do have a lot to offer the wider world. Whether it’s volunteering to read to residents of an old peoples’ home or helping out at a soup kitchen, every little really does help.