Happiness

5 Steps to Take to Improve Self-Esteem

Cotton branches and letterboard with quote Hey you are awesome

Low self-esteem is something that is seen so frequently, that it is often overlooked.  However, it is something that can start to negatively impact our social, academic, and occupational lives.  These five steps listed below are small changes you can make to your everyday life to help improve self-esteem one day at a time.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

One of the easiest ways to improve self-esteem is by reducing the amount of time we spend comparing ourselves to other people.  In today’s world, we spend a good majority of our day and our time on social media. Even though social media has its benefits (keeping in touch with others, promoting our businesses, learning about others, etc.) it can often play a big role in reducing self-esteem.  

Unfortunately, social media can make it very easy to compare ourselves to other people.  When we spend a good chunk of our time looking at peoples’ pictures and taking note of their achievements and milestones, it can make us start to question our own and feel less than them. 

Finger of woman pushing heart icon on screen in mobile smartphone application. Online dating app, valentine's day concept.

However, take into consideration that most people are more likely to only post about their triumphs over their struggles, making comparisons unrealistic. Reducing the amount of time we spend on social media and comparing ourselves to others makes it easier for us to focus on our positive qualities and work on our own goals, in our own time.

Surround yourself with positive people.

Another good way to improve self-esteem is by surrounding ourselves with positive people.  It can be very easy for some to notice and point out their own negative qualities over their positive ones.  Surrounding ourselves with people that can help us notice our strengths and help point them out to us makes it just that much easier to notice them within ourselves.  Sometimes all it takes is a little reminder from the ones we love that we have plenty of good things about ourselves to focus on and work on growing these qualities, as opposed to letting them take over our thought process.

Practice gratitude.

Something as simple as taking time to notice the things that we are grateful for in our lives can help us change our mindset to something a little more positive.  If we spend more time paying attention to “the good” that is happening all around us, it can help change our perspective and overall mindset. Gratitude journals are a good way of making it a habit to take some time and notice the positives in our lives.  

Positive body image in mirror

3 positive things every day.

Following in the footsteps of gratitude, something as simple as taking a few minutes every day to list 3 positive things can help change the negative thinking patterns we have developed into positive ones.  This simple practice can be very impactful. Some lists can include 3 things I did well today, 3 positive things that I witnessed today, 3 things I am grateful for today, etc.

Change self-perceptions.

All of these previously listed practices can start to change our perceptions of ourselves.  When we spend time thinking negatively about ourselves it can develop a pattern, making it easy for our brains to automatically jump to negative thoughts and conclusions.  Challenging ourselves to think more positively about ourselves can help us change the pattern into something a little more positive. Challenging yourself to think of a positive thought every time you think of a negative one is an easy way to start shifting your self-perceptions into something more positive.

By Bianca Miller, LCPC

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