Life is full of ups and downs and it is inevitable that we will be tested and challenged constantly throughout our personal journeys. To give you a helping hand, we have researched 11 simple and effective ways you can boost your self-esteem when you need to.
Some of these techniques can be implemented easily and immediately. Others may take more time to master, but be mindful that great results rarely come easily. It takes a strong will and persistence to get to where you need to be.
1. Smile more
It doesn’t get simpler than this for ways to boost your self-esteem. Simply smiling more often might sound a bit cheesy, but there is scientific evidence to back this up. Smiling can actually trick the body into elevating your mood by activating neural messaging to your brain. Check out this article for evidence about the science behind smiling.
A smile can be the catalyst for the release of neuropeptides, dopamine and serotonin which together can help to lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and perhaps even prolong your life! Not a bad set of benefits for something so simple!
Start putting this into action today and try to make it a permanent change. The next time your other half launches into a (probably justified) tirade due to your latest shortcomings, respond with an expression that the Cheshire Cat would be proud of (whilst acknowledging their criticism). You might look and feel a bit strange, but the joke is on them. You are now high on dopamine and they are just confused.
2. Stop seeking validation from others
This is a crucial skill to focus on. It has the potential to be life changing if you can master it, particularly if constantly needing validation is something that currently has a major and negative impact on your life.
A good example here is how we automatically seek validation and recognition from our parents. This is natural. We habitually long for our parents to be proud of us, but we need to maintain this desire at healthy levels and prevent the balance tipping over to it becoming counter-productive.
Whether it’s your parents or anyone else, do you sometimes make choices or choose paths to avoid disapproval or criticism? Are you being prevented from progress by your own need for approval from others? Stop. Today. If you can move away from this way of thinking you could experience a sense of freedom that is exhilarating.
The freedom to make decisions without anxiety or fear of failure. The freedom to make progress in your own way and at your own pace. The freedom to learn from mistakes and see them as an inevitable part of learning instead of a reason to stall your growth. How does that sound? It’s attainable if you just reach out for it. Learn to validate your own decisions and set yourself free.
Watch this 3 minute plea from Gary Vanderchuck to stop caring what others think and live what you beleive.
3. Ask for help
Embarrassed to ask for directions as a man? You should really know where you are going and you will surely figure it out right? You might have tripled the time it needed to get to your destination, but you have maintained your dignity by doing it yourself right? Erm, no.
For too long asking for help has had negative connotations that are unjustified and really don’t make much sense. You are not weak or stupid if you ask for help, but you might be if you don't when you need it.
Of course there will be times when asking for help is not appropriate (don’t ask your wife to help you pick out a necklace for Crystal at work), but asking for help is generally something that should be encouraged and will lead to a positive outcome. Try to remember that help is a positive thing, you are just making your own life unnecessarily harder otherwise.
Worried that you are putting a burden on others when you ask for help? Wrong again. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that you are helping others by asking for help. Confused? When you ask for help you are giving the other person the opportunity to do something positive and meaningful; a pre-cursor for self-gratification. You may also be implying that you trust them and their opinion, boosting their self-esteem in the process.
4. Take time to help others
A natural follow up to asking for help is returning the favour to others. The principles of self-gratification apply to you too so make the most of it and experience the ‘helper’s high’.
You don’t need to wait to be asked for help either. It takes confidence to offer your help unprompted and it feels great when its accepted and appreciated. Maybe you can help a colleague at work you know is struggling with something that is a strength for you, or perhaps you can help someone currently disadvantaged to have a better day.
Whatever route you choose, make sure that you give it a try. You might be surprised by its impact on how you feel and how it can boost your self-esteem.
5. Stop comparing yourself to others
Ever heard the quote that ‘comparison is the thief of joy’? Think about it, why do we always benchmark our lives and accomplishments to those of others? Why are we always worried about what others think of us? Like some of the other observations in this post, these feelings are naturally ingrained in us as human beings and we could benefit significantly from moderating them.
Focus on reserving the energy that you waste distressing about the opinions of others and use it at the right times to enhance yourself. Concentrate on you, that is what will make the difference and ultimately help you reach fulfillment. If you must compete with someone, then try competing with who you were yesterday, every day.
Check out this great video to help you to understand the necessary harm that constantly comparing yourself to others can do. Then stop doing it.
6. Eat healthy
We have all heard the proverbial saying ‘you are what you eat.’ Perhaps it is so well known because there is considerable weight to its notion? It’s safe to say that it’s a generally accepted principle that eating healthy will only have positive impacts on you and your state of mind and this can include better self-esteem. The challenge seems to be more on the execution of this notion as opposed to any resistance to its benefits.
So what is it that prevent us from eating better, more consistently? Self-discipline? A lack of time or resources? It’s probably a combination of these excuses and many more.
What seems constant is the fact that the excuses never seem to justify the benefits that we miss out on. Don’t get me wrong, eating healthy all the time is hard and it is worth setting yourself baby steps to improve slowly and consistently.
You don’t have to deny yourself the occasional treat or takeaway, eating well does not need to be to the permanent exclusion of culinary pleasure (although healthy food can taste great anyway).
Try balancing everything out so you have a strong overall intake of nutrition and commit to constantly improving your diet. Eat slower, lower your portion sizes, stop eating when you feel full and cook with raw ingredients as often as you can. You will get there, you just need to really want it.
7. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good
This sounds pretty obvious, but are we all really maximizing this simple feel good tactic? It’s important that these people genuinely care, so think more about people that make you laugh when you need it most as opposed to Chyna at the strip club.
When you recognize who these people are, spend even more time with them. Enough time for mutual fulfillment, as often as practicable. Try to replace the time with any toxic influences in your life with yet more time with people that make you happy. The effects of one person’s happiness can influence the mood of others and so the positivity is amplified and a domino effect often begins. Happiness is contagious, make sure you get your fill.
Take a look at this video for further information on the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people.
8. Exercise regularly
There can be no doubt that science and research consistently show that exercise dramatically increases our self-esteem. Exercise can immediately upgrade our mood and put us into a positive state of mind. Over time regular exercise leads to physical enhancement which has a direct correlation to our confidence, both physically and mentally. It’s no wonder that you repeatedly hear about successful people starting their day off with a ritualistic workout.
Set yourself ambitious but realistic goals when it comes to exercise. Try to include a friend or partner where possible to help motivate you and track your progress so you are aware of the improvements you are making and the positive consequences of all your hard work.
Make regular exercise a fundamental and enjoyable part of your weekly routine, your body will be grateful for it in the long run.
If you are looking to take up or optimize your exercise as a way of losing weight or burning calories to stay in shape, then I recommend reading out post on What Exercise Burns the Most Calories?
9. Look after your skin
There is a good reason why our first product range will be skin care solutions for men. They say that good self care starts with skin care and healthy skin is clearly an important part of you looking and feeling good about yourself. Male skin has it's own unique characteristics so make sure that you understand what these are and how you can adapt how you routine and maintain your skin in a way that brings maximum benefits.
A good place to start is to check out our post on what is my skin type. As men we can sometimes be guilty of underestimating the importance of effective skin care, but consider the fact that no matter what physical shape you are in, bad skin will always make you look and feel worse whereas good skin will do the opposite. Choose to feel good, look after your skin.
For the full list of posts on skin care visit our Skin Care for Men blog.
10. Live a life true to your values
Not having lived a life true to oneself is often referred to as one of the main regrets on a person’s deathbed. It’s understandable when you think about it. We are all constantly yearning for meaning in our lives and so why should we spend the one life that we get living any other way than what we see as our calling? Why do we so often live our lives the way others expect us to instead?
Take a step back and understand what it is that you feel you should be doing in life. What are you passionate about? What would make you want to jump out of bed full of energy every morning? Whatever it is that makes you feel happy then follow it. Try not to compromise in this regard, you will thank yourself later in life.
11. Create a vision board
Visual representations and reminders of your goals and people, places or things that make you feel good can be a powerful motivator. The concept of vision boards however, goes much further than just superficial positivity.
For those of you who have read The Secret, you may be familiar with the concept that when you are visualizing, you are emitting a powerful frequency out into the world and greatly increasing your chances of the vision becoming reality. You are encouraging the law of attraction.
Whether or not you believe in the concept of the law of attraction, the idea that visualization can encourage positivity seems both rational and with limited downside. You really don't have anything to lose and potentially much to gain.
Create a vision board as soon as you can. Try to focus the board on how you want to feel as opposed to just material things you want; it’s the positive emotional energy that can really give you the best benefits.
For additional encouragement, check out this great video of Steve Harvey talking about the importance of a vision board in helping your goals to become reality.
We hope these 11 tips can help boost your self-esteem when you need it most, but remember that having true self-esteem is a permanent journey and there will be fluctuations along the way.
The importance of having healthy self-esteem means that this is a battle that you will need to make sure you win to increase your chances of a successful life. You are awesome, you might just need to remind yourself of that from time to time.