Student Life

How to Boost Self-Esteem, Confidence, and Well-Being

Work on yourself while you work throughout the school year.

Student Contributor, Allison Willrich

February 14, 2022

Prioritize your well-being and you will find your self-esteem and confidence grow.
How to Boost Self-Esteem, Confidence, and Well-Being
Now that we’re a few weeks into the second semester, life may feel a little more hectic, stressful, and intense. Students are dealing with financial stressors, social pressure, and the nerves that come along with being a college student and navigating new coursework and activities. These overwhelming feelings can dramatically hinder our well-being. Now is the time to check in with yourself to protect and preserve your self-esteem and self-concept. This semester, give yourself the gift of mental health and wellness using these seven practical tips!

Prioritize Yourself

Easier said than done, but avoid people-pleasing and overextending yourself to an unhealthy amount. When prioritizing others’ wants and needs above your own, you cause harm to not only your productivity, but more importantly, your physical and mental health.
Learn your limits and establish your boundaries! The ability to say no can be a key component in maintaining healthy self-esteem. Remember to give yourself the respect you deserve.

Confront your Imposter Syndrome and Insecurities

Imposter syndrome is a huge topic nowadays. Recent studies show 80% of adults will experience the phenomenon in their lifetime. Imposter syndrome includes thoughts of self-doubt and personal incompetence, leaves you feeling like a fraud - often telling yourself you don’t belong or are unqualified for the opportunities you’ve been given.
Feeling insecure is natural! Allow yourself to grow and learn. Suspending your standards and expectations when trying new things in college will allow you to develop new skill sets and hone your talents. Embrace the learning process and be okay with starting from ground zero. We are students, after all!

Accomplish a Task

Accomplishing a task, big or small, is an easy way to boost your self-esteem instantly! Try to think of this as a gift to your future self, rather than a punishment or a nuisance. Simple actions like tidying up your space or sending some emails will alleviate stress and motivate you to get more done.
I like to write out a detailed yet approachable to-do list and cross items off as I go about my day. Not only does this bring a sense of pride but it also helps me with focus, organization, and time management in the long run.

Heighten your Happy Hormones

Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins are the “happy” chemicals in our brain. There are several ways to promote the production and release of each! Endorphins are sometimes referred to as the brain’s natural pain-reliever, and are released during exercise or after performing an act of kindness. Getting adequate sleep is crucial for allowing the brain to receive dopamine, the feel-good hormone, which can be promoted by listening to music you enjoy or meditating. An easy way to promote serotonin, the mood-stabilizing hormone, is by reminiscing through visualizing a happy memory or looking at photos that bring you joy. Oxytocin, nicknamed the love hormone, is promoted through feelings of love, connection, and belonging, whether it be receiving a hug or spending time with your pet!

Unplug & Unwind

Take time off from social media, and consider doing a social media detox. Social media has become so accessible and a large part of our lives, so it's a common habit to compare yourself to carefully curated personas and lifestyles. Studies show that large amounts of time spent on social media lead to increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and ultimately, distorted views of reality. Even slightly shortening your daily screen time can make you more present, productive, and peaceful.

Start A Gratitude Journal

It’s important to appreciate the little things. One of the best ways to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal! Documenting daily or weekly what you are thankful for and what you like about yourself can provide a huge confidence boost. Studies show that people who practice gratitude have higher levels of self-esteem, self-belief, and overall feel more optimistic about themselves and their future.

Realize that Confidence is Comfort

Confidence is not necessarily about believing you’re the most intelligent, attractive, talented, or impressive person in the room at any given time. It is more so being at peace with who you are on an individual level. Free yourself from a negative self-concept and start celebrating the person you have become. Accepting who you are and practicing self-compassion is vital in beginning, maintaining, and progressing your self-love journey! In essence, college is a time of self-discovery and personal growth. While difficult, it is important to learn how to love yourself at every stage. This academic year has been a challenge for all and it is important to recognize and reflect on our physical, emotional, and mental health needs. Being in the beginning stages of our life can feel quite daunting and we all have a unique set of challenges to overcome. Through these periods of learning, it is vital to be gentle with ourselves and make sure your well-being comes first!

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