Think that self-esteem activities are only for kids? Then think again… Because there really are some great ways that adults can also improve the way they think about themselves. And building your self-esteem has a positive effect on pretty much every aspect of your life.
1. Positive Affirmations
This is something that you can do alone or in a group. But the key is to voice affirmations that are positive, rather than a negative on yourself. For example, when carrying out this exercise, what you mustn’t do is speak about what you DON’T want. For example, “I don’t want to fail”, or “I don’t want to be in debt”.
Instead, what you need to do is state what you want in the positive – in other words, speak out loud what it is that you DO want. A subtle difference, that’s true – but one that’s exceedingly important.
2. Discuss your Core Beliefs
Understanding exactly what it is that makes you tick can be really beneficial for your self-esteem. It’s amazing how many of us don’t really understand ourselves. But discussing and/or writing down what we truly believe in can be hugely beneficial.
Everything that has happened during your life is totally personal to you. And it’s these unique experiences that have shaped what it is that you believe in. Now, positive beliefs are all well and good. But it’s our negative core beliefs that need to be challenged.
3. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Now, you might think that this is something only the younger members of society can benefit from, but nothing could be further from the truth. Several studies have proven that there’s a strong link between such an activity and your own personal level of well-being.
And the great thing is that it won’t take up much of your time. Simply spend five minutes every evening writing down at least five good things that have happened to you that day. And hey, if you can’t think of five, then simply put as many as you can.
The key here is to remember that it’s not simply the big things that you need to be thankful for. Small things, such as your health, that you have a great family who loves you, that your hair went right this morning, that beer after work….
For anyone’s who’s struggling to think of anything, then take a listen to by the Zac Brown Band. Not only is it a real happy song, but it’s all about realizing that it’s the smallest things in life that really matter…
4. List your strengths and qualities
This can be tough, especially if you suffer from low self-esteem. When you’re in such a place, you simply can’t see anything good about yourself that you like.
There are some different ways to approach this exercise if you’re struggling. One could be to imagine how someone else might describe you. Another is to look at the smallest, tiniest aspects of your life that you might be able to see in a positive light. Perhaps you help an elderly neighbor to keep their garden tidy? Or maybe you gave up your seat on the subway to someone more needing of it?
It’s all about coming to the realization that it’s small aspects such as these are the start of seeing yourself in a positive light. And it’s an onward journey – one that you can keep adding to as you get to see yourself in a more positive light.
5. Create a Coat of Arms
This is not only a great way to start to raise self-esteem, but it’s also fantastic fun. Start with a of a blank shield split into quadrants. Then what you need do is put something that represents you as a person in each of them.
If you’re going through a particularly traumatic event right now, then you can fill the quadrants with aspects that relate to that. For example, if you’re currently going through a difficult divorce, you might want to put good relationship representations into each one. Think about what makes your family or friends special: It might be that you have a wonderful tradition with your kids for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. Or perhaps you’re saving for your kids to go through college…
And of course, you have to name the coat of arms as well. This could simply be the family name, or it could be something additional that truly summarizes what it is that makes you the person you are.
6. Write your Life Story
No, we’re not talking about penning an autobiography. This is a simple activity in which you write a few words about your life story, but in three parts: Past, Present, and Future.
What this does is give you the opportunity to reflect on what’s happened to you in earlier life, analyze exactly where you are today, and then envisage how you’d like to see your life in the future. In addition, in the ‘future’ section, you can be creative, and write about how you intend to achieve your goals.
7. The Goal Setting Worksheet
Take a piece of paper and write a list of 5-10 things that you’d like to change about your life in a column. Then, in a second column, write down what exactly the opposite of these things might be
Now, take a look at what you’ve written in both columns, and decide what it really is that you want in each area. Don’t worry about what might be feasible – what you need to concentrate on here is your heart’s desire. Write these down in a third column. These should be written in the positive, and in short, simple statements that are easy for you to go back and read.
Next, cross out everything that’s in that first column. What you’re doing is getting rid of all those things that you don’t like about your life. This leaves you a list of the things you truly want. Then write the words ‘I choose’ in front of each of the statements in column 3.
What you now have is a list of things you truly want, and some great pointers about how you’re going to make them happy. Keep this close to your bed, and make sure you read it first thing in the morning.
What this is doing is re-affirming how you think about your life and what you want to achieve. It subconsciously helps you to think about your goals in a positive manner, instead of a negative one. Try it, you’ll honestly be amazed at what a difference it can make.