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SALT LAKE CITY —It is easy to get caught up in feeling not good enough. It's even easier to blame others for feeling unimportant and small. But feeling all that negativity doesn't do a single thing for us, other than make us feel worse. So it is time to take our battered self-esteem and help ourselves heal. Here are seven things that have been shown to help.
1. Get outside
Sometimes when we have been cooped up in our home or office we lose focus of our true goals. We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our job or routines and forget what is really important in our lives. By going for a walk, taking a hike, doing an active hobby or simply going to the park we give ourselves time to think. Nature has a relieving calm and is a beautiful change from our computer screens.
2. Superhero pose
We are all superheroes, but sometimes we forget our powers. The best way to remind ourselves is to stand up and strike our superhero pose. First put your feet shoulder width apart. Then place your hands on your hips, put your shoulders back, and look up at your "bat light" signal in the sky. For best results do this for about five minutes a few times a day. The best time to utilize this pose is when you are feeling down. It may seem silly, but it works.
3. Help someone else
Helping another person always feels good when you do not expect anything in return. Remember that the gesture does not need to be big. It can be as simple as taking someone's newspaper up to their door or donating your used goods.
4. Random sincere thank you
Have you ever wished that someone would thank you for all your hard work? The best way to receive something is to start doing it yourself. Find someone who seems that they need a thank-you pick-me-up. You can send them a card, pay for their coffee or simply shake their hand and say thank you. Not only do they feel good because they received a kind gesture, but you feel good for brightening someone's day.
5. Set realistic goals
If you always set your goals super high, you will never reach them, which is brutal on your self-esteem. So it is important to set two different types of goals: realistic goals and "shoot for the stars" goals. Realistic goals are goals that you know you are capable of achieving if you work hard and are great at correcting little bumps in your self-esteem. Shoot for the stars goals are those that are a bit out of reach but would be amazing if you achieved them. These are a huge boost for self-esteem when they happen, but since they are not counted on, they do not affect self-esteem if you fall short.
6. Explore who you are
Often we lose ourselves in the whirlwind of the world. We forget that we are unique and wonderful individuals. It is critical to note that our self-image changes as we age, so our self-concept must change as well. Within every stage of life you must explore who you are now and how you want to better yourself. This helps us develop love and kindness for ourselves.
7. Stop comparing yourself to others
Social media is a breeding ground for insecurities. Remember, you are beautifully unique, so learn to love you for who you are. The best way to combat insecurities is practicing the Spotlight game when you notice that you are feeling down. The Spotlight game is when you name 10 things you like about yourself. Not only are you saying nice things to yourself but it is also a good distraction from all the negativity in the world.
When life gets rough it is easy to get caught up in the hostility, so learn to stop the cycle. You are amazing, and it is about time you started believing it.
Jessie Shepherd, MA, ACMHC, specializes in assisting children, adolescents and parents to overcome life's challenges. She is the director of youth services at Life Stone Counseling Center. Learn more at lifestonecenter.com.