Building your self-esteem

Self-esteem affects our thoughts, feelings and how we behave. Having good self-esteem is important. It can help reduce anxiety and low mood. 

One of our BEAM therapists, Valisha, talks us through some self-help strategies to improve your self-esteem.

What is self-esteem?

woman hands clasped behind head rainbow jumper

What is low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem means not thinking much of yourself. With low self-esteem, we become self-critical, anxious and low. This can result in us believing our negative thoughts are actually facts. When we have a healthy self-esteem, it can help us deal with the highs and lows of life.

Nobody is born with low self-esteem. It can develop because of early life experiences, failing to meet expectations of those around us, or lack of love and warmth.

The good news us that we all have the ability to challenge low self-esteem and think better about ourselves. Here are some techniques we share with young people: 

Tips to improving your self-esteem

Challenge negative thoughts

If you're affected by negative thoughts, remember they are just opinions. They are not facts. Try to challenge that critical voice. 

Activity: write the negative opinions out and then write the positives to counteract it next to it. You can do this by filling out a thought record. This technique can reduce anxiety too.

Try something you would normally avoid

We all have things we're nervous about doing, but often things aren't as bad as we think. For example, you might think 'I cannot do a presentation in front of my peers as they will laugh'. Putting yourself into the situation you are anxious about, then seeing the reaction, can help reduce your anxiety and increase your self-esteem.

Focusing on the positives

Make sure you repeat any positive thoughts. They're more important than the negatives.

Activity: fill out a positive thought record and keep note of all the positives in your life. Then read back when you're feeling low.

Recognise what you are good at

We’re all good at something - it could be baking, dancing, gaming, drawing, painting etc. Find what you're good at and focus on that. Doing something you're good at makes you feel good.

Be kind to yourself

Always remember to look after yourself. This means staying healthy and surrounding yourself with positive relationships.