Mind Over Matter: Self Esteem

When we feel good about ourselves and our abilities, we naturally perform better academically, in sports, and are more comfortable in social situations. Having healthy self-esteem promotes resilience, confidence, and self-worth. Negative self-talk and thoughts can chip away at self-esteem, causing us to get down on ourselves and may work against our efforts. Sometimes, low self-esteem can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. Here are five things you can do to improve your self-esteem this semester.

  1. Positive affirmations. What are some things you like about yourself? What are some things that you are good at? It’s important to make these as specific and individualized as possible to YOU. Instead of, “I’m awesome” perhaps try, “I’m really good at racquetball” or, “I like that I’m kind to others.
  2. Doing things for others.
  3. Acts of service can help get you “out of your head” and give you perspective. This could include volunteering your time at a soup kitchen or animal shelter, or it could simply involve writing a note to a friend letting him or her know you’re thinking of them.
  4. Self-compassion. Everyone makes mistakes, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. “Successfully making mistakes” involves an ability to know that no one is perfect, including yourself, acknowledging the mistake, thinking about ways you could do things differently in the future, and accept that you may make some more mistakes moving forward.
  5. Think about times in the past when you were successful or when you persevered through a difficult time or situation. What was this like? What were you doing that made you successful? How did you manage to push through that struggle? Do any of those same things apply to something you are currently dealing with. 
  6. Self-care. Treat yourself well! Eat healthy meals, get enough sleep and rest, shower regularly, call a friend you haven’t talked to you a while, journal, pray, meditate, talk a walk to the Grotto, listen to a song on repeat that pumps you up, watch an episode of a favorite TV show, etc. When we take care of ourselves physically, our emotional and mental health improves and it’s easier to think of the positive things about you and fight off the negative self-talk.


Sarah Deysher is the Assistant University Counselor for Mount St Mary’s University.


Counseling Services 

120 Lower McGowan Center 

301-447-5003 or 301-447-5002

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