Self Esteem Building Activities & Exercises
There is no chronological order of these; you can use them interchangeably and simultaneously. The ordering here is just for simplification purposes.
1. The Three Compliments Journal
If your mental picture about yourself is not the best in the world, you definitely need some kind of exercise to improve it – and the three compliments journal is the way to go.First, you will need a blank journal, a notebook, or an agenda, and a pen or a pencil. When you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, then grab the journal and pen, and give yourself three compliments.
Perhaps you like how your eyes glow in the morning light? Or maybe you appreciate how your hair looks today? Perhaps you believe that you are a smart and intelligent person? Just find anything… anything that you appreciate in yourself, things that make you feel good about yourself. The goal is to focus on your positive sides, and you will find them, if you only LOOK for the goods sides. Write down the compliments, read them aloud in front of the mirror and congratulate yourself. Then let your day go on as usually.
This will allow you to encourage self-love, self-respect and have a picture about your own worth. While at first it might seem even stupid to do this exercises, and you might get the feeling that “you’re wasting your time” – believe me, this exercise is powerful! It’s like filling a big barrel of water a drop by drop each and every day – do it for one week, nothing happens, do it for 3 weeks, nothing happens – but do it for long enough and soon, one day, you’ll realize that the entire barrel is FULL with water. Just ONE drop at a time! That’s what this exercise will do for you – do it long enough, and one day your self-image will be COMPLETELY changed!
2. Pay Attention to Your Desires and Needs
All of us are consisted of three parts: our Body, our Soul and our Mind. If you are to live a truly fulfilled and happy life, you must develop and take care of all three of them.Start listening to their cries and desires. Maybe your body is telling you that you are completely out of shape, it says that it needs to be exercised and that it doesn’t feel comfortable. Go ahead and do it, stretch at home, go in the gym, jog on the street or perhaps hike the nearest mountain.
Perhaps your soul wants you to see some dear person that you haven’t talked to in a while. Maybe it is a dear friend of yours, your brother or sister, or perhaps your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Do it, listen to your soul, go on a cup of coffee and spend some time with that person. It will joy! What about your Mind? Maybe it’s telling you to listen to some special piece of music, to learn a new language, to clear up your yard or buy a new bicycle, or simply that it is time to meditate and calm it. Whatever it needs, step into action, and do it!
3. Start Eating Healthy and Take Proper Care of Yourself
Change your diet. Start nurturing your body with healthy foods. They not only influence your physical health, but mental as well. Buy more fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, cereals, and whole grain products. Make fresh homemade juices, full with vitamins and antioxidants. Avoid junk food, food rich with sugars, fat and salt, and please, avoid meat and dairy products, and especially processed vegetable oils. If you want the meat that much, eat only fish or chicken. Exercise regularly. Make a schedule and do it every day even if it is a simple exercise, like stretching in the morning, or walking in the park. Perhaps you could try yoga? How about martial arts? They always increase people’s self-esteem and confidence, there’s no doubt about it!
4. Take Proper Hygiene
Hygiene is crucial for feeling comfortable in your own skin. We operate by habit and most of the time we neglect this important aspect of our life. Perform personal hygiene tasks that really make you feel good. These can be anything from taking showers every day, making a special hairstyle to yourself, manicure, pedicure, or cleaning your teeth with a special thread or toothpaste.The goal is to feel comfortable in your own skin.
5. Dress Something That Makes You Feel Wonderful
The title says it all… Just pick up your most favorite clothes from your wardrobe and wear them. If you can’t think of anything good, go and buy something for yourself. Choose something really good even if you have to pay a little bit more.Wearing good clothes always has a positive impact on your mood.
6. Make a Self-Esteem Collage
Many people lose their self-esteem when they forget about their hopes, aspirations, and abilities – or when they let others eclipse them with hurtful comments.
One particular exercise that will certainly remind you what a valuable individual you are, is making a self-collage, and hanging it on a wall in your bedroom.
Take a large piece of poster board and a stack of magazines to go through, then browse their pages to find pictures that represent yourself, your talents, abilities, and aspirations. This will help you remember who you are, and what you are capable of – not what others say you are capable of.
7. Set Up Challenges You Can Achieve
One of the most common causes of low self-esteem is the inability to achieve your goals. How many times have you admonished yourself for not completing a project up to your supervisor’s expectations? And how many times have you felt completely worthless after failing to shed the extra pounds?
Many times, the goals you set are not realistic for you, hence they cannot be achieved – so it is no doubt that you fail to accomplish them.
To improve your mental image about yourself, set up challenges you can achieve. At least in the beginning to start feeling good, then by all means, go for the big dreams.
For instance, make exercising part of your day-to-day routine – it will not be that difficult to find 10-20 minutes a day for a bit of fitness or yoga, and you will certainly feel so much better about yourself at the end of the day.
As you gain more self-esteem, you can gradually make these challenges, well, more challenging, so your accomplishments will be even more satisfactory.
8. Reinforce a Good Self-Image with Affirmations
When you think of yourself, what feeling do you get first? Do you like yourself? What is the picture that flashes instantly when you think of “you“?Start using Affirmations and strengthen your self-image. Read them on a constant basis and be persistent. Changing your perception for yourself and replacing your self-image with a new one, takes time and effort.Say right now: “I know I am a worthwhile person! I believe in myself in my abilities. My self-confidence is high and I can do anything I want in life. People love me and respect me, and I nothing can stop me from becoming who I want to be!”Here are some of our great articles on this topic:
9. Do Something Nice for Yourself
When your self-esteem is low, you tend to believe and think that you do not deserve anything good. For this reason, you never allow yourself to enjoy life to the fullest, and you never do anything nice for yourself.A great way to improve your self-image is learning to love yourself, and show appreciation for yourself. Do something nice that would make you happy – for example, schedule a spa session, or get a new haircut.
If you are the type of person who loves being up-to-date with all fashion trends, then go ahead and buy yourself that handbag or shoes you have always dreamed of. Even better, buy a new lens for your digital SLR camera.Doing something nice for yourself will make you feel better about who you are, which will certainly improve your self-esteem.
10. Practice Laughing… at Yourself Also
Many people tend to be very serious, and studies have shown that this can decrease life enjoyment, along with self-esteem, at a great deal. If your self-esteem drops a little whenever someone teases you, the only solution you have is laughing… at yourself.Developing a healthy sense of humor can help you improve your self-esteem, especially if you learn to make light of life, and give up taking yourself so seriously. If someone makes a joke that is unintentionally hurtful, laugh. If someone makes a joke that is meant to be hurtful and humiliating, just laugh. Don’t receive that energy…
Chances are, everyone else will be surprised by your reaction, and those who tried to humiliate you will not bother next time. Moreover, not giving them the satisfaction of seeing how much you dislike the joke, or how much it hurts you, will help your self-esteem thrive.
11. Make a Self-Esteem Bucket
Another great self-esteem activity is the self-esteem bucket – one that you will definitely find both amusing and interesting, plus very inspiring.
Take a plastic bucket, and hammer in several nails into its bottom. Fill the bucket with water – that will be your self-esteem. Now start removing the nails – the hurtful comments or life experiences that have led you to having such a bad mental picture of yourself.
Once the bucket is completely empty, begin to brainstorm ways to plug the holes – and hence improve your self-esteem. For example, healthy exercise, a strong family, earning more money by starting a new business or working from home, working on your love life, and other activities you find pleasure in.
If you are wondering about it, the goal of this exercise is showing you what hurtful life experiences, and negative things others have said to you, can actually do to your self-esteem. Furthermore, it will show you that the only reason why you question your worth as a person are those experiences and negative comments, which will certainly make you feel much better about yourself.
12. Make a Contribution
Increasing your self-worth is a matter of what you do to be worthy in your own eyes – and there is no better way of improving self-esteem other than making a contribution.For example, you may help clean up your neighborhood, or volunteer for a local cause.
If you are still in high school or at university, you might offer to help one of your classmates improve his grades, because yours certainly are. If you are good at something, and know someone who would like to be too, give him a helping hand – he will surely appreciate your efforts, and you will feel worthier at the end of the day.
13. Find a Hobby You Can Pursue Independently
Hobbies can help you enrich your creativity, and also improve your self-worth – so why not find one you can pursue independently, with no one to tell you what you are doing wrong?If you are unsure of what hobby to go for, think about what you would like to do. Perhaps you love holding a digital camera in your hands, and photographing wildlife, or various stances of urban living. Or maybe you like the thrills of treasure hunting with a metal detector?Heck, it can be anything really! Anything that makes you feel good and passionate about it. The things that inspire you and fill you with enthusiasm. Just do it!Once you start pursuing your hobby, you will soon be amazed by the many accomplishments you will have, which will make you proud of yourself, and will also improve your self-esteem.
14. Use Positive Self-Talk
While talking to yourself in the mirror might sound creepy, it can actually be an excellent self-esteem exercise to help you improve your mental image about yourself .If you have a mirror in your bedroom, that is going to be even better, as you will not have to use the one in your bathroom. Find a moment when nobody else is at home, close the door of your bedroom, and stay in front of the mirror – now begin your positive self-talk session.
Give yourself all kinds of compliments, constructive critiques, and share your everyday experiences with yourself. Remind yourself of your accomplishments, of what worthy people have said good about you, and empower yourself with positive words, such as: “I know I am a worthy person, and I will never let anyone change that.”If you like, you may opt for a different approach, and talk just as if you were talking to a friend: “Don’t listen to them, Stephanie. You are a very worthy person, don’t let anyone change that – ever“.Use positive self-talk every day if possible – it will be similar to keeping a journal, but there is a difference: you will never tell your journal the things you will actually tell to yourself .
15. Replace Your Negative Thoughts With Positive Ones
Of course there are thousands of examples for this, but here are just a few that you can use as a reference.