At Get Healthy U, we often hear from many of you who say you struggle with your self-esteem and self-image. We often get emails that say: “I’d feel a lot better about myself if I could just lose this weight or get back in shape.” While we know that getting fit can help your self-esteem soar, we also know that how you feel about you is more of an inside job than an outside job. Once you feel like a million bucks on the inside, it’s a whole lot easier to change the outside. So, if this sounds like you … and you often say negative things about yourself or you just know your self-esteem is in need of repair, here are eight ways to improve your self-esteem naturally.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” ― Gautama Buddha
1. Laugh at yourself.
Life can be serious enough without your help. Try and lighten the mood sometimes and laugh. If you make a mistake or do something you label as stupid, view it as an opportunity to laugh at yourself or have a good laugh with a friend. As you practice laughing at yourself, you quickly realize it’s perfectly okay to be imperfect. We all are. Isn’t laughing at yourself a better option than over-analyzing something you said or did? Having the ability to laugh at yourself means you feel pretty good about who you are.
2. Look for the positive.
You know you can have a better day when you look for the positive all around you. Just as noticing everything that’s going right can improve your mood, so can noticing everything about YOU that you like. We all have strengths, natural skills and characteristics. What are yours? List your positive attributes and strengths and find ways to use both more. When you spend more of your time using your strengths, it makes you feel good about you and who you are. Become a person who freely gives yourself a pat on the back, a compliment or a word of encouragement when you need it. Treating yourself positively—like you would a best friend—can make all the difference in how you feel about you.
3. Make decisions that make you feel good about yourself.
All day every day we make tons of decisions big and small. Choose wisely. If you constantly make decisions that make you feel good about yourself, your self-esteem will rise. Positive decisions make us feel more positive. Spend more time playing you’re your kids. Support a friend. Drink more water. Like a friend’s Facebook post. Make a healthy meal. Tackle a priority project. Talk favorably about someone when she isn’t around. Clean out a closet. Grab a healthy snack. Call someone who needs to talk. Unplug when you need it. Watch how much better you feel about yourself when you make decisions that make you feel good about you.
“When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.” – Jodi Picoult
4. Accept who you are.
You can spend your time wishing you were someone else, or comparing yourself to someone else, but where will that get you? Your time can be better spent liking who you are. Celebrate your strengths. Embrace your perceived flaws. Know that we all have both. Tell your inner critic to hush and show yourself some self-compassion. Once we accept ourselves, we become infinitely more comfortable in our own skin and in our lives. Self-acceptance allows you to enjoy your own journey.
5. Do kind acts for others.
If your thoughts are bringing you down, get out of your head and put your mind on someone else. Help someone out. Do an unexpected good deed. Bake for a neighbor. Smile at someone, or open a door. Kind acts for others don’t have to be big. You can make someone’s day, and your kind act and will also make you feel good about you. Fill your cup with good deed happiness.
6. Keep the promises you make.
A great way to tank your self-esteem is to break the commitments or promises you make to yourself and others. So just don’t do it. Of course, say No when you need to, but if you make a promise, keep it. Your self-esteem will rise every time you do exactly what you commit to doing.
Exercise is a hands-down win for your self-esteem. Exercise became an important part of my life at an early age when I realized how great I felt about myself after a good workout. Exercise can boost your self-image by improving how you feel about your body and by seeing what your body can do. Exercise can make you feel strong, confident, optimistic and calm. Plus, exercise gives you energy, alleviates stress, and increases mental clarity. Without a doubt, a sweaty workout releases those feel good endorphins that make you happy. Exercise that really engages your mind can keep you in the present and prevent you from going negative in your mind. Combine your exercise with nature and you really can get an instant pick-me-up.
8. Invest in your well-being.
A quick-way to irritable you (who you don’t feel good about) is to not get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can throw you off mind and body. If you are ever in a funk and you can’t snap out of it, see if a good night’s sleep does the trick. It’s amazing how different you can feel with a restorative night’s rest. Your entire outlook can change. “Sleep on it” is excellent advice. Make sure you aim for the recommended seven to eight hours a night. I know it’s hard, but it is possible, especially when you try to go to bed a little earlier.
If you feel like your self-esteem is low, don’t get stuck thinking your self-esteem will never change or that it’s too hard to change. It isn’t. Here’s a bonus tip: Fake it til you make it. Sometimes just playing the part of confident you can help confident you to blossom.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
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