4 Simple Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem
Did you know that February is International Boost Your Self-Esteem Month? To be honest, neither did we. But regardless – at Lincoln Park Therapy, we understand how important self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem are and we’ll take any chance we can get to celebrate them!
People often hold the misconception that you either have self-esteem or you don’t. That’s not the case at all, though. Think of self-esteem as existing on a spectrum – it’s fluid, and can slide up and down the spectrum based on things like your thoughts, your mood, or even the environment you’re in.
When we talk about boosting self-esteem, we really mean shifting your self-confidence and sense of self-worth to a higher point on the self-esteem spectrum. The more often your sense of self rests at a higher point on the spectrum, the stronger your self-esteem will be.
While that might make sense in theory, that leads to one important question – what can you do to shift your sense of self to a higher point on the self-esteem spectrum? Believe it or not, boosting your self-esteem can be simple. It doesn’t require Herculean efforts to start to feel better about yourself. Here are four super simple tricks to help you boost your self-esteem and increase your self-confidence.
4 Simple Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem
Challenge Negative Beliefs
We all have a little voice in our head that likes to point out everything we do wrong. In therapy, we call it your inner critic. Your inner critic is responsible for a lot of the negative things you believe about yourself. Here’s the thing, though – your inner critic often lies to you!
When you find yourself thinking negative things about yourself, recognize that your inner critic is popping up to tell you something that isn’t true. To quiet that critical inner voice, challenge yourself to think of one positive thought about yourself when you have a negative thought.
For example, if you find yourself thinking “I’m so stupid – I can’t believe I made that mistake” you can challenge that thought with a statement like “Everybody makes mistakes and it’s okay that I made this one.”
Self-compassion is an important part of having self-esteem. According to researcher Kristen Neff, self-compassion is showing yourself the same kindness and compassion that you would a friend or a loved one. When you have self-compassion, you avoid judging or criticizing yourself. Rather, you understand that things like uncomfortable emotions, mistakes and feelings of inadequacies, and personal failings are part of the human experience and you learn how to be gentle with yourself when you’re experiencing any of them.
On her website, Neff describes self-compassion as having 3 key elements: self-kindness over self-judgment, common humanity over isolation, and mindfulness over over-identification. Click here to read more about what self-compassion is and here to access some tips for practice.
Affirmations are an almost effortless way to boost your self-esteem. Similar to challenging negative beliefs, affirmations help you shift a negative self-perception and increase your sense of self-worth and self-confidence. We encourage clients who are struggling with self-esteem to practice affirmations every single day.
Wondering what affirmations are? Affirmations are simple statements that you say to yourself to help rewrite the story you have about yourself. They can be statements like “I’m a good person and I deserve to be happy”, “I may not be perfect, but I always try my best and that’s good enough”, or “I’m worthy of love and deserve respect from others”.
When you use affirmations, it’s best to practice them daily and to be intentional in your practice. You can say them aloud or in your head, while you’re in the shower or looking at yourself in the mirror. The important part about affirmations is that they are statements that boost you up, they don’t tear you down. And if you find yourself struggling to believe the affirmations when you first start, that’s okay – keep doing them. It might take some time for your brain to accept them as truth, but that doesn’t mean they’re not. Keep practicing and after some time they’ll feel much more natural and accurate!
Click here to check out some of great affirmations that you can use.
We use this tip a lot in our blog posts, but that’s because exercise is helpful for so many things! When you get your body moving, your brain releases some wonderful “feel-good” chemicals like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These “feel-good” chemicals are natural mood-boosters that automatically help you feel better about yourself.
The amazing thing about exercise and self-esteem is the more you do, the better you’ll feel about yourself overall. By building a regular exercise habit into your daily life, you’ll be releasing those “feel-good” chemicals frequently which in turn will help you have a more positive sense of self.
Therapy Can Help, Too
While these simple tips can help anyone shift their self-esteem higher up on the self-esteem spectrum, we also understand that certain circumstances can make it harder to feel good about yourself. If you’re facing life challenges that make it hard to boost your self-esteem, consider reaching out to us for help. We have a team of therapists trained to help you work through whatever is holding you back so you can live your best life. We’re here for support and we’d love to meet with you.