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In a nutshell, self-esteem is your opinion of yourself and your abilities. It can be high, low or somewhere in-between. While everyone occasionally has doubts about themselves, low self-esteem can leave you feeling insecure and unmotivated. You might be able to identify a few things that are affecting your opinion of yourself (maybe you’re being bullied, or you might be feeling lonely), or it could be a mystery. Either way, there are heaps of things you can do to improve your self-esteem.

1. Be nice to yourself

That little voice that tells you you’re killin’ it (or not) is way more powerful than you might think. Make an effort to be kind to yourself and, if you do slip up, try to challenge any negative thoughts. A good rule of thumb is to speak to yourself in the same way that you’d speak to your mates. This can be really hard at first, but practise makes perfect. If you want a few pointers, check out our tips for talking yourself up.

2. You do you

Comparing yourself to other people is a sure-fire way to start feeling crummy. Try to focus on your own goals and achievements, rather than measuring them against someone else’s. Nobody needs that kind of pressure!

3. Get movin’

Exercise is a great way to increase motivation, practise setting goals and build confidence. Breaking a sweat also cues the body to release endorphins, the feel-good hormones.

4. Nobody’s perfect

Always strive to be the best version of yourself, but it’s also important to accept that perfection is an unrealistic goal.

5. Remember that everyone makes mistakes

You’ve got to make mistakes in order to learn and grow, so try not to beat yourself up if you forget to hit CTRL+S on a super-important assignment. Everyone’s been there.

 face palm

6. Focus on what you can change

It’s easy to get hung up on all the things that are out of your control, but it won’t achieve much. Instead, try to focus your energy on identifying the things that are within your control and seeing what you can do about them.

7. Do what makes you happy

If you spend time doing the things you enjoy, you’re more likely to think positively. Try to schedule in a little you-time every day. Whether that’s time spent reading, cooking or just conking out on the couch for a bit, if it makes you happy, make time for it.

Oprah having a bubble bath

8. Celebrate the small stuff

You got up on time this morning. Tick. You poached your eggs to perfection. Winning. Celebrating the small victories is a great way to build confidence and start feeling better about yourself.

9. Be a pal

Being helpful and considerate to other people will certainly boost their mood, but it’ll also make you feel pretty good about yourself.

10. Surround yourself with a supportive squad

Find people who make you feel good about yourself and avoid those who tend to trigger your negative thinking.

What can I do now?