10 Smart Habits That Will Instantly Boost Your Self-Esteem
People with low self-esteem tend to avoid challenges or difficult situations, which can lead to depression and anxiety.
If you are suffering from low self-esteem, seeking advice from a mental health professional could be invaluable in helping identify what may be triggering these feelings and finding strategies to increase them.
1. Exercise regularly
Participating in regular physical activity is vital to both your overall health and confidence. Exercising doesn’t need to be time consuming or intense – just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity several times each week is enough to improve mood, sleep patterns and give more energy!
Regular exercise can make you feel good about yourself and make you look healthier, increasing self-esteem in the process. Furthermore, research shows that exercise improves mental health as well as decreasing risk factors like stress, clinical depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
To make exercise part of your routine, begin by scheduling it as any other appointment on your calendar and finding a fitness buddy to keep you accountable. It may take two to six weeks before it becomes part of your regular schedule; but once it does, the benefits will become apparent.
2. Take care of your appearance
Your appearance has an immense effect on how others perceive you, particularly upon first meeting someone and within seconds of making an initial judgment about their character. First impressions matter more than we often realize!
Looking and feeling your best are both great ways to increase confidence. Doing something as simple as washing your hair regularly, eating healthily, and maintaining proper hygiene can do just that!
At the same time, it’s also essential that you avoid making comparisons between yourself and others – as Theodore Roosevelt famously put it “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Instead, focus on your individual strengths and achievements instead. Additionally, surround yourself with people who support and uphold you instead of those who sap away at your self-esteem – you might be amazed how quickly your self-esteem improves when making these changes!
3. Set goals for yourself
Set SMART goals for yourself. A SMART goal must be specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound if it is to help achieve its purpose and increase confidence within you. Doing this can help ensure you meet your goal on schedule while feeling accomplished about achieving them.
Avoid making comparisons. Doing this can erode your self-confidence, so it’s essential that you remind yourself that everyone’s journey is unique and nobody is competing with anyone else on a racetrack!
Make a list of your strengths and accomplishments as another way to stay positive when feeling down, which you can then look back on whenever needed as a reminder that you’re smart and talented. Have someone close to you make this list for you – they might surprise you by discovering talents or strengths you didn’t even realize existed!
4. Listen to music
Music can be an incredible force that can elicit strong feelings and alter our moods. From listening to your favorite tune to relaxing to classical pieces, music has the power to help us feel better about ourselves and improve our outlook on life.
Researchers have recently discovered that when people listen to music they enjoy, their brain releases dopamine – an “feel good” neurotransmitter which makes us happy! So it makes perfect sense why listening to music makes us so content!
Music can both expand creative expression and improve physical performance, as research shows. For example, runners listening to motivating music are found to run faster and longer than when running without it. Furthermore, listening to music has been found to decrease stress levels by decreasing cortisol production (a hormone responsible for our fight or flight response) particularly if its lyrics promote positive emotions such as gratitude or appreciation. When studying, relaxing music can also help increase concentration.
5. Eat a healthy diet
Eat healthily to feel your best. Aim for variety from each of the five main food groups while cutting back on fats and sugars as much as possible.
Eat two or more fruits and four or five vegetables daily. Include whole grains and lean proteins like poultry without skin, fish, unsalted nuts and seeds as well as soy products into meals; drink low-fat milk while limiting added sugars.
Making gradual, small changes over time is the key to adopting a healthier diet, without depriving yourself or adopting restrictive or fad diets. A mindful approach to eating is best, taking pleasure from each bite while paying attention to how it makes you feel; doing this also reduces stress levels and boosts mood.
6. Take time out
Relaxation is crucial for mental wellbeing. This could involve reading for 10 minutes each day or taking a walk; whatever works for you should be achievable and sustainable – start small and work up towards more ambitious goals – to stay the course and form new habits that benefit you long-term.
Vacations can also be beneficial. Studies have revealed that those who take regular breaks are more productive and less stressed, have lower risks of heart disease and enjoy stronger family relationships.
Negative self-talk should also be avoided; for instance, when you fail a test don’t tell yourself you are stupid but rather remind yourself that one score doesn’t indicate your overall intelligence and this will help boost your self-esteem.
7. Go for a walk
Walking is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to increase your self-esteem. Research indicates that it can boost your mood, help with better sleeping patterns and even ward off depression.
Make it part of your daily routine to go for a walk – on lunch break or after work; with friends; or join a walking group. Track your steps using an app or pedometer so as to stay motivated in maintaining this new habit.
When walking, make an effort to swing your arms naturally; this will not only increase speed and confidence but also feel stronger. Also keep your head high and gaze forward; looking down will lower testosterone and diminish power. When closed body language such as holding head down and staring at ground occurs it reduces testosterone and makes you feel less powerful.
8. Learn something new
Discovering new interests outside of work can help keep your mind sharp, so try learning something new to expand your horizons and keep the mind active. It doesn’t need to be anything extreme – just something interesting such as language learning, an instrument, or hobby!
Reminding ourselves we are valued and loved is paramount in finding fulfillment in life. One way we can do this is by surrounding ourselves with people who believe in us and encourage us to become the best version of ourselves.
Learning new skills can also help prevent burnout by giving you something positive and enjoyable to focus on, as well as help stave off dementia by keeping the brain active and preventing demyelination (an ongoing process that slows over time). A great way to do this is through picking up skills such as knitting, coding or baking!
9. Ask for help
Ask anyone who has achieved great success, and they are likely to say it wasn’t all accomplished alone; rather, many others helped guide and instruct them along their journey.
However, many individuals find it challenging to seek assistance due to internal barriers like fear, impostor syndrome, or excessive pride.
Breaking this habit may be difficult, but it is crucial for personal and professional success. Modeling this behavior with students will teach them to seek support when needed – leading to improved resilience and self-esteem in turn. A great resource to find out more about seeking help is this TED Talk.
10. Learn about your potential
Human potential isn’t something you can buy or attain through quick fixes, corporate training programs, or podcasts (even though these things can help). Instead, it requires taking an active approach in shaping your own life on terms that suit you best.
Start by identifying areas in your life that don’t align with your values; for instance, if family is important but your job takes too much of your time away from them. Once identified, consider ways you could change them or find solutions to rectify them.
Step two is discovering your potential, which involves research and reading books as well as speaking to those who have achieved what you hope for and learning how they did it. While this process will likely take time, understanding yourself – your strengths, values, passions – is integral in reaching your full potential.