How to boost self-esteem

19 Jun 2019
A lot of people have times when they doubt they're up to the task, even some of the best in their field experience imposter syndrome from time to time.

If our level of how we value and see ourselves is low, it can be because we have beliefs and opinions about ourselves that are very hard to handle.

Low self-esteem can contribute to depression or anxiety, and the reverse is also true. It’s really important to understand that you’re allowed to feel good about yourself and who you are as a person. This is easier said than done, but there are ways where you can feel better about yourself (that don’t require too much time or energy).


Be more compassionate to yourself and embrace self-love

Giving yourself some love is one of the first steps to boosting your self-esteem. It’s really important that you know that self-compassion is allowed, and it’s not selfish. Self-love adds to our ability to be more compassionate to others and it also helps others be more compassionate towards us.

If you’re struggling to understand how to be kind to yourself, think about how you can be kind to others. If you have a little sister or a cousin, how would you be kind to them? What emotions would you look at trying to portray? If you can recognise those feelings, you can try to apply them to yourself.

These kinds of positive emotions, along with other good qualities you possess, might be hard to believe, so a good tip is to write them down. When you see your great qualities (as well as other nice things said by others) on a piece of paper, it can help reinforce the good things in your mind, and get your self-esteem trending upwards again.

Another big part of self-love is forgiveness. It’s ok to make mistakes and they’re a big part of being human – spoiler alert: we all make them. Try this: look at yourself in the mirror and apologise for the things you’ve done. Then, tell yourself all the things you’re proud of doing. As a result, you’re able to affirm the good things that have happened in your life, and remind yourself you’re capable of a lot.


Use physical success for mental success

When you're having doubts about yourself, day-to-day tasks can seem insurmountable. Things as simple as getting out of bed or having a shower can be difficult, so setting yourself simple tasks can be a great way to work towards larger goals.

Taking small wins on a regular basis sets up a routine, which is great for helping your self-esteem. When you complete a task, celebrate it! It’s okay to take pride in things you do and celebrate yourself.

Get active

Doing activities you enjoy can bring positive reinforcement, a sense of accomplishment or are just simply fun, which can help you feel better about yourself.

By getting your body moving, you can get a natural buzz of energy, especially when you don’t feel too energetic.

Trying to incorporate these things into your daily life is a fantastic way to boost your energy and happiness. If you’re pretty handy with a soccer ball, grab some friends and head down to your local park for a kick. This can be a great way to get active and socialise at the same time. If cooking makes you happy, try watching a few YouTube videos from your favourite chef or following popular channels, such as Tasty or Bon Appetit.


Challenge your thinking 

One of the biggest road-blocks in not feeling like you're up to it is that internal voice, which can be as quiet as a whisper or as loud as a scream. It might stop you from expressing yourself. Taking the time to notice the impact of this voice is a fantastic way to build mental assertiveness, leaving you better equipped to face this voice when your energy is low.

One of the hardest things to do when you’re feeling down – at the time we most need them – is accepting compliments. We don’t want to accept or believe them; to combat this, you can prepare responses and make it more of a process. Readying a simple thank you (and repeating it) can really help you start to believe those compliments and resist the impulse to deny them.


Read more about self-care on headspace’s self-care group chat, or contact headspace to seek more advice on how you can boost your self-esteem.