When we think about self-esteem, often we think in terms of how to change the way we feel about ourselves. But my favorite fast-acting strategy to boost self-esteem takes an outside-in approach. If you want to experience higher self-esteem, do something that makes you feel strong, competent, compassionate, self-compassionate, brave, and upstanding. If you want self-esteem, do something esteemable.
Whatever the problem is—you want to be more confident at work, you’re worried that you’re coming off needy in a relationship, you’re feeling anxious, you’ve been feeling anxious all the time—start by doing something that will make you feel like you’re in an upward spiral. The desired feelings may come sooner than you think.
10 “Esteemable” Things You Can Do Right Now:
- Take on a longstanding nagging task, finish the task, and scratch it off your mental to-do list. Positive psychology researchers say that tackling a nagging task, even if it’s something as simple as decluttering a drawer, gives you a happiness and self-esteem boost
- Look up that local organization that you’ve been wanting to volunteer with, call them, and get the process started. Volunteering is one of the best ways to get a self-esteem and happiness boost.
- Connect two people in your professional network who you sense would benefit from knowing one another
- Text a friend who might be struggling, or recently overcame a big struggle, to tell her you are thinking of her
- Clean your car. Do a DIY mini-detail. The next time you drive your car, you’ll feel like you’re driving a chariot. Really: “boring self-care” is sometimes the best self-care.
- Send an email to a friend or professional connection who you have lost touch with, to say hello and to let them know that you’re always game to help them out should they need a professional favor
- Offer to give a coworker a hand if he or she seems swamped, even if you could totally get away with kicking back and playing on your phone right now
- Reach out to a professional you’ve recently met who is new to your industry or younger than you and offer yourself as a resource to them for career advice
- Catch up on email. Get as close as you can to hitting inbox zero.
- Sit down and read a book in print. If it’s not something you do regularly, reading will make you feel like an owl wearing glasses and a graduation cap.
What “esteemable” things could you do today?