Self-esteem missing? 10 exercises to increase it

Self-esteem can influence life in many ways, from academic and professional success to relationships and mental health. People who always experience disapproval from family, friends, teachers have feelings of low esteem. Self-esteem, however, is not an immutable characteristic; we can work on ourselves to improve our self-esteem and live a more meaningful life.

Confidence is a precious psychological resource and is a highly decisive factor in life; it triggers achievement, good relationships, and fulfilment.

1.Face difficult situations
Self-esteem is built step by step and needs time to take root within ourselves, through our experiences. Escaping in front of a condition of discomfort, which frightens us, means convincing us that we are not capable. If instead, we choose to face it, we will put ourselves to the test and start collecting memories of a self that dared to face that discomfort.

2.Take risks
To learn how to deal with the difficulties that life offers us, we have to take a few more risks every day. For example, we can change the route to work, the supermarket where we go shopping, do a new physical activity, etc. It helps to revise our reassuring habits. If we don’t like the change, we will have understood ourselves a little better. If, on the other hand, we like it, we will feel good and increase our possibilities.

3.Do not compare with others
If we always confront ourselves to others, we will always be unhappy, especially in our society so permeated by fake perfect models. If we are not married and all our friends are, we will feel miserable in comparison. If we don’t have children and our friends do, we will be incredibly sad. To strengthen our self-esteem, we need to create our standards and goals. Instead of comparing ourselves to someone else, let’s compare to ourselves! Am I happier than yesterday? Did I eat better than yesterday? Did I run more than yesterday? And so on.

4.No more complaining
This exercise helped me the most. All of us, every day, have to deal with the unexpected: traffic, storms, children’s whims, rudeness of people, economic difficulties, misunderstandings in the office, bad dinner, time that is never enough. These things are inevitable; they just happen. But we can make a difference when we decide how to deal with these difficulties. Let’s not complain, it’s worthless to us or those around us and let’s react with calm, rationality and optimism. Let’s take actions and change things. Action, which is change, generates a sense of control and trust.

5.Smile
I certainly have a lot more work to do on this! We cannot control the uncontrollable, but we can control ourselves in all circumstances. Let’s learn to play down, to react with humour and self-irony. Life will suddenly become much simpler and more harmonious.

6.Appreciations
Consider the way you talk to yourself: you will find that you would never say such things to someone you love. And in any case, if you did, that person would tell you to go to hell right away. We have to gratify and praise ourselves, to recognize our merits and also to accept the compliments that others address to us, without diminishing. In front of praise, instead of saying: “Yes, but it was just luck…”, we say: “Yes, I’m happy with this result too…”. People with low self-esteem are incapable of rejoicing in their successes, and when they do something good or receive a compliment, they don’t value it. We always have to appreciate the compliment, smile and treasure the moment.

7.Goals are important
Goals only work if they trigger a virtuous circle: each goal achieved is followed by a reward, which motivates us to reach more important goals. It is a virtuous circle. To make it, we must develop a few rules:

Plan
When we set a goal, we have to define actions: what habits we want to change or create; what sacrifices we are willing to make. We make a precise list of the actions we will do and when we will do them. Several external factors affect our goals, but at least we must be in control of our efforts.

Determination
If circumstances change suddenly and significantly (a notable and unexpected economic crisis, or a health problem, or an emotional breakdown), the first thing we need to do is to review our goals in light of the new situation. The line between determination and foolishness is fragile: insisting on consecutive defeats when more promising opportunities pass us by is neither useful nor advantageous.

Focus
Let’s focus not only on “what” and “how” but also on “why”. The “why” helps us to react when there are sudden and unforeseen events that affect us in our goal. In this way we can be more flexible, excessive rigidity is not favourable. When we set a goal, we ask ourselves “why do I want to reach it?”, “what are the motivations that push me?”. If we can’t find good reasons for achieving the goal, there are only two reasons: either we no longer want that goal or it is someone else’s goal.

8.Solutions are important
Solving problems is great for self-esteem. Since there are so many problems to deal with in everyday life, it is crucial to learn how to do it effectively. To find a suitable solution, we need to analyse the problems and ask specific questions:

  • How serious is the problem on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • How significant will the problem be in six months?
  • Has our reaction so far been appropriate?
  • What can we do now to improve the situation?
  • How will we choose to behave next time?
  • In the long term, not all bad comes to harm, right?

In short, when we face a problem, our mental attitude should be dedicated to exploring possible solutions. We often dwell too much on the issues and discomfort, but if we ask ourselves these questions, we learn how to solve problems effectively.

9.No more procrastinating
Procrastination is the continuous postponement of every action that is important for us or our daily life. To procrastinate means to postpone immediate action because we do not feel able to face it, or it is an unpleasant thing or something that makes us uncomfortable. Stop delaying and act now! Actions, regardless of their outcome, generate a sense of trust that leads to other steps. Instead, postponement creates a vicious circle: the more one avoids action, the more one wishes to prevent it. Procrastination is a mechanism used by our mind to manage the anxiety we feel every time we have to start a new task or make a decision. These questions help you find the right input to take action:

  • What advantages can I have by going straight into action?
  • What disadvantages will I suffer if I postpone again?
  • What justifications do I use to avoid taking immediate action?
  • What do I risk losing if I do not act?
  • How can I be rewarded if I start immediately?

10.Let’s get rid of other people’s judgment
Self-esteem is within us and not in others, and within us, we must find it! Many people are very concerned about what others think. Our society judges and labels all our actions, but we need to free ourselves from this conditioning. We are born free spirits; therefore, we have to exercise our freedom in our daily choices and actions.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY: PNL, UNICOMUNICAZIONE

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