Even the most confident people sometimes have days where they feel down, or don’t feel good about themselves. This low self-esteem can practically haunt you, making you less productive at work, less interested in the things that make you happy, and less capable of accomplishing your other goals.
It’s incredibly hard to break out of the rut of a low self-esteem, but there are some easy tactics that can shift your momentum.
How to Boost Your Self-Esteem
If you’re feeling bad about yourself, try these simple steps, most of which should be immediately accessible to you:
1. Change something immediately.
Routines can be beneficial, but they can also be troublesome. Doing the same things and going to the same places on a daily or weekly basis can bring you comfort and make you more productive, but they can also feel confining, and reinforce whatever negative feelings you’re experiencing. Accordingly, the first thing you should try is breaking out of your conventional routine. Even small things, like going to a different coffee shop, or eating meals at different times, can make a big difference in your emotions. If you aren’t sure what to do, go for a drive and try to find some new place or activity.
2. Try out a new look.
You can also get a self-esteem boost just by experimenting with a new look. If you have a collection of clothes and/or jewelry, try something unusual and see how you look. If you don’t have much, consider trying something on at a local store. Don’t be afraid to break the mold here; sometimes, an atypical or style-breaking item (like custom gold grillz) is exactly what you need to see yourself in a different light.
3. Go for a run, walk, bike, or swim.
Never underestimate the power of physical exercise. If you have the equipment for it, consider going for a bike ride or a swim. If you don’t, consider going for a run. If you’re not in good shape or running is hard for you, just go for a brisk walk. Commit to 20 minutes (at least). When you’re done, you’ll feel a rush of feel-good chemicals and your energy levels will increase. You’ll also feel good about yourself just for accomplishing a goal. And if you keep it up consistently, you’ll eventually get in better physical shape, further boosting your confidence.
4. Use mindfulness to stop negative self-talk.
One of the biggest culprits behind low self-esteem is negative self-talk – the lines of internal dialogue where you criticize or lambaste yourself. It’s hard to interrupt these thoughts, especially when they’ve become a habit, but one of the best ways to counter them is with mindfulness meditation. Spend 5 to 10 minutes focusing on deep breathing, and allowing your thoughts to come and pass naturally. It can break a negative cycle of thoughts immediately, but the real benefits come when you practice mindfulness regularly.
5. Talk to someone you love.
There’s someone you love out there, whether it’s a spouse, family member, friend, or even an acquaintance from work. Even if you feel unworthy of love right now, you’ll feel better once you talk to this person (or these people). Send a text, pick up the phone, or see them in person. It doesn’t matter what you talk about; all that matters is that you spend time together.
6. Do something you know you’re good at.
What are you good at? There has to be something. It doesn’t have to be super consequential; it could be playing an instrument, competing in a video game, or even spinning a baton. Whatever it is, spend some time doing it – even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll remind yourself what you’re capable of, and if you get in a groove, you’ll lose track of those imposing negative thoughts.
7. Do something nice for a stranger.
Doing nice things for others is shown to improve your self-esteem. We’re social creatures at heart, so we tend to feel good about ourselves when we do pro-social things. This is most beneficial when you do good things for strangers, without receiving any benefit for yourself. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, or go walk some dogs at the local animal shelter. You can also just wander the streets, or a business you frequent and help people in any way you see fit.
Preserving Your Momentum
Hopefully, one or more of these strategies has produced a spark in you. Your next job is to simply keep that energy going. Find more tactics and exercises that make you feel good, and keep doing them. Reinforce those good feelings, and soon, you’ll wonder what you ever felt so bad about in the first place.
Featured image source: Freepik