23 Easy Ways to Instantly Boost Your Self-Esteem
Everyone could use an emotional pick-me-up now and then.
Some days, you feel like you could totally take on the world. Others, well, not so much. It’s a fact of life that everyone has those moments where their self-esteem tank is feeling a little depleted. There’s some good news, though: Those feelings are completely temporary, and there are plenty of different ways you can bring your confidence back up again. And it won’t take days, either—you can do it right away. The next time you could use a boost, try these 23 instant methods of feeling great about yourself again.
Change the Way You Talk to Yourself
How many times a day do you cut yourself down? Whether it’s about your appearance, intelligence, personality, or any other part of who you are, negative self-talk isn’t good for anyone and is going to make you feel worse the longer you do it. Instead, the Mayo Clinic suggests talking to yourself like you’d talk to your best friend to give your self-esteem a boost, even if that’s just looking in the mirror and complimenting yourself on your kindness, work ethic, smile, or all of the above.
Think of Something You’re Proud Of
No matter if it’s something big or small, life coach Tony Robbins says the simple act of thinking of something you’re proud of can majorly improve your self-esteem. “Maybe it’s an accomplishment you achieved at work, or perhaps you think about something nice you’ve done recently for your family. This will instantly elevate your mood and allow you to channel some incredible self-confidence,” he writes.
Do a Quick Workout
There’s a scientific reason why you feel so much better about yourself right after a workout. According to the American Psychological Association, there’s a strong link between exercise and mood enhancement, and it only takes five minutes after moderate exercise to get the effects. Plus, studies have backed that up, showing that time spent sweating really does improve your self-esteem in the moment and over time.
Yes, Barney Stinson was onto something in How I Met Your Mother. Past studies have shown the way you dress plays a big role in how you feel about yourself. While dressing poorly can make your self-esteem plummet, feeling great about what you’re wearing—whether that’s a nice suit, a pretty sundress… you name it—results in a boost in confidence. It’s all the more reason to only keep the pieces of clothing in your closet that make you feel good (and donate the ones that don’t).
Ditch the All-or-Nothing Attitude
It’s easy to get into the mindset where everything is either all fantastic or totally horrible with nothing in between. If something doesn’t go your way, don’t immediately chalk it up to being a failure. The Mayo Clinic says all-or-nothing thinking is incredibly harmful for your self-esteem, so instead of dwelling on the negatives, learn from them and turn them into positives. Once you reframe the way you think about certain situations, your confidence will make a comeback.
Rock a Funereal Wardrobe
Black might seem like a gloomy color, but that’s not the case when it comes to your mood. In one survey, 56 percent of people—64 percent of men and 48 percent of women—said it’s their go-to color to wear whenever they want to feel confident, whether that’s for a first date or a job interview. And if you think about it, it makes sense: Who doesn’t look great in black?
Drink More Coffee
Starting your day off with a cup of coffee has plenty of science-backed benefits, from decreasing your risk of illness to helping with appetite control. While those are major perks, one another benefit is that taking some sips can instantly help boost your self-esteem. A study published in Food Components to Enhance Performance found that the caffeine in the beverage is able to increase confidence levels, as well as benefit your mood and energy.
Make Eye Contact
One of the quickest (and easiest!) ways to give your self-esteem a boost is to change your body language—especially when you’re talking to people. Instead of looking down—which can make you feel low—focus on making eye contact with anyone you’re speaking to. “A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. Meet your partner’s eyes 80 percent of the time you’re speaking, and allow your eyes to wander the other 20 percent,” Tony Robbins writes.
Use Some Self-Affirmations
Self-affirmations always feel funny in the moment: Of course it seems odd to shower yourself with praise and compliments. The tactic really works, though. In a study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, using self-affirmations not only calms you down, but also gives you the confidence you need to conquer your goals, whether it’s killing it at a job interview or exam, or maybe even getting the courage to ask someone on a date. “Anytime you have low expectations for your performance, you tend to sink down and meet those low expectations. Self-affirmation is a way to neutralize that threat,” said lead researcher Sonia Kang, PhD, in a press release.
Call Up Your Best Friend
If there’s anyone who’s going to give you some confidence, it’s your best friend—the one you can always count on to build you up whenever you’re feeling down. Give them a call and make some plans, and soon enough you’ll be feeling like the best version of yourself again. Sometimes all it takes is a little reassurance from the people who know you best.
Turn Off the Tube
After a long day of work, there’s really nothing better than kicking back at home in front of Netflix. The issue is that’s not doing your self-esteem any good—at all. A 2012 study published in the journal Communication Research found the more time you spend in front of the screen, the lower your self-esteem is going to be. Instead, shut it off and do something that’s going to make you feel good—not set you back.
Spray on a Scent You Love
You might be a spritz or two away from a major boost in your self-esteem. If you don’t wear cologne or perfume every day, there’s a beneficial reason why to add it into your morning routine. In a 2011 study published in the journal Neurobiology of Sensation and Reward, researchers found 90 percent of women instantly felt more confident after using a little perfume compared to those who didn’t—all the more reason to find a scent you love and use it regularly.
Nod Your Head
Who knew something as simple as nodding your head could make such a big difference in your confidence levels? In a 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found nodding your head can increase your self-esteem. If you do it too much, people might think you’re crazy… but a few up-and-downs can provide all those feel-good vibes.
Unleash Your Potty Mouth
Sure, you don’t want to drop an f-bomb or two just anywhere, but if you’re in need of a little more confidence, it’s worth unleashing some under your breath or in private. (You know, so your boss doesn’t hear it and fire you.) “By swearing we show, if only to ourselves, that we are not passive victims, but rather we are empowered to react and fight back. This can boost our confidence and self-esteem,” writes psychiatrist Neel Burton, MD.
Change Your Profile Picture
Too much time on social media isn’t good for anyone, but one simple way you can increase the amount of self-esteem you have is to take a great new profile picture. In a body image survey released in 2014, 65 percent of participants said taking selfies—and posting them online—boosted their confidence. For a quick pick-me-up, find some great lighting and snap a few of your own, then give your social media a fun little update.
Play Your Favorite Tunes
Music is an incredibly powerful thing. It can make you feel sad, it can make you totally giddy, and it can also make you feel more confident. In a 2014 study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers found music evokes a sense of power, giving you the self-esteem you need to totally conquer your day.
Grab a Lucky Charm
Whether it’s a pair of socks or a penny, most people have had some sort of lucky charm at some point during their lifetime. If you’ve ditched yours, it might be time for it to make a comeback (or to grab a new one!): In a 2010 study published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers found people who have lucky charms with them tend to be more confident going into certain situations than those who don’t. Better yet, that confidence has been shown to help boost your performance, too.
Look at Your Résumé
Sometimes all it takes to give your confidence a boost is looking at everything you’ve achieved. When you’re feeling down, it’s hard to remember just how great you are. In her book, Choke, psychology professor Sian Beilock says simply taking a glance at your résumé can give you just the reminder you need to make you feel great once again.
Change Your Physiology
When you feel down, you tend to slump. One way Tony Robbins says can immediately increase your self-esteem is to simply change your physiology. “Deliberately move your body with intensity and power. The way you move your body immediately affects how you feel and think,” he writes. “Stand up straight, open up your chest and breathe deeply. Where your body goes, your mind follows.”
Get a Little Flirty
Unleashing your inner flirt is a quick way to increase your self-esteem, and even though you don’t need science to tell you that, it’s true. According to Sean M. Horan, PhD, when someone flirts back, it instantly makes you feel great about yourself—and might even score you a great first date.
Just Picture It
If you believe it, you can be it—seriously. Experts say all it takes is picturing your goal—say, the most confident version of yourself—to achieve that goal. It might feel silly, but if you know what you want your life to look like, you can make it happen—you just have to create a mental picture. Seeing yourself so confident might just give you the positive energy you need to make it happen and up your self-esteem.
Volunteer Your Time
The key to boosting your confidence sometimes has nothing to do with yourself and everything to do with others. In a 2017 study published in the Journal of Adolescence, researchers found those who took the time to volunteer and help strangers less fortunate than them—whether at a food bank, soup kitchen, or helping someone do yard work—ended up helping others and increasing their self-esteem
Get Out of the House
One simple way to instantly boost your self-esteem is to put yourself out there. In a study from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, researchers found being more social and surrounding yourself with multiple different groups of people can help increase your self-esteem. So find the groups that share the same interests as you, and join in on the fun on the regular. And for more ways to feel better every single day, know that Saying This One Word Will Boost Your Mood By 25 Percent.
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