If you’ve had a day where you’re feeling low and need a pick-me-up, here are 5 tips you can incorporate to boost your self-esteem. If you’ve had a bad day and need to boost your mood and self-esteem, these are the five tips that I recommend.

But before that, there are some things that you need to know about self-esteem. Research has shown the mental wounds you experience like failure and rejections are not as detrimental to your psyche when you have high self-esteem. We are more resilient if we have stronger self-esteem. No surprises there! We are also less vulnerable to anxiety – meaning that ultimately, we will also be less stressed. So it is safe to say that it is worth investing in practices and things that help keep your self-esteem high, strong and healthy.

The interesting thing about self-esteem is that it is designed by nature to ebb and flow. It is also relevant to our environment. So overall we may feel great but in some instances, we may feel challenged. Quite often, this is related to our sense of identity in certain environments. I’m sure that in some situations, you have felt like a fish out of water. In other situations, you may feel great. To give you some context, let me give you an example.

Let’s say, for example, that I’m a professional singer who has been criticised for my singing. Now, that is going to sting more as a professional singer, than if I was being heckled at a karaoke bar. However, if you have a constant level of high self-esteem, then that could also mean that you are suffering from narcissism.

With that being said, here are the things you can do to preserve and protect yourself.

Practice Self Compassion

Be careful of the words that you speak to yourself. Meaning, be careful of your self-criticisms. Once you own something, your mind then seeks out the evidence for that to be true. For example, if you say, “I am always forgetful”, then your mind will seek out examples to validate your statement. You will keep thinking about the instances where you have been forgetful, and it will eventually become your reality. So be careful what you feed into your brain.

Focus on the key learnings from the mistakes you have made. Above all, focus on self-compassion. Think “What would my best friend say to me in this situation? What advice would they give me?”. Also, think about what advice you would give to a friend who is going through the same situation as you are now. That is the simplest way that you can practise self-compassion and boost your self-esteem. 

Use empowering affirmations

Use affirmations that empower you rather than defeat you. Sometimes, people use goals as affirmations but don’t set themselves up for deflation or defeat. Don’t set yourself highly ambitious goals that could deflate your morale if you don’t achieve them. Set goals that will boost your self-esteem rather than ones that can bring it down. For example, don’t set a goal like “I am going to be a great success”, because if you are not reaching that, then you are going to constantly deflate yourself for not hitting that goal. A better affirmation is things like “I will persist until I win”. My favourite one is “I will until”. It is a better way of affirming something. It is something that you can adopt right now instead of something you aspire to be in the future. Make that change and see if that makes you feel better on your journey to achieve goals.

Learn to say thank you

If you feel bad about yourself it is very easy to refuse compliments. What you need to do is retrain your brain to simply say “thank you” when someone compliments you. Whether it’s clothing or the way you do something, just cooly acknowledge them and say thank you; rather than making excuses, refusing or deflecting. This will help to boost your self-esteem rather than deflate it. Don’t apologise for what you’re being complimented for.

Focus on your growth areas

When you start to realize the things you are good at, enjoy doing or your hidden talents, really celebrate those things. Applaud them and bring those into your world more often – pursue them. Give time and space for them. Do this, rather than persisting with things that really don’t float your boat or ignite joy in you. When you can’t get enough of something and find something you are really passionate about, bring them into your world. These things will uplift you and fill you with happy hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, endorphins. This is much better than stress-induced cortisol. Finding your niche and prioritising it can boost your self-esteem.

Build yourself up after a blow

This is where things can get hard. After a blow, negative feelings often follow. At times like these ,it can be really hard to make an effort to boost your self-esteem. But this is where you have to make a focused effort to give yourself a pep talk. Journaling is the best way of doing that. Writing down your experiences can actually help the hard wire the synapses in your brain. For example, if you don’t get the job that you want, write down the reasons why you are a great employee and a value to any organization. Whenever you are rejected in a particular area, come up with as many key points as to why you are still strong, worthy, valued and validated in that area. 

It is so easy to take that blow and be deflated. But you have to remember – you may not have gotten the job this time, but in another instance, your value to an organization will get you a job easily.

If you practice these 5 things on a regular basis, it will really come in handy when you come across negative experiences. If you are feeling a bit deflated or low in the future, practising these tips will pick you up and keep you going just a little bit longer. If you hit a low, this is a fast way to give you a quick pick me up.

I would love to hear what you do to boost your self-esteem when you hit a bit of a low. What are some of the things you use as a ‘pick me up’? Please leave them in the comments below.

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About the Author

Barbara Clifford - The Time Tamer
Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a co-founder of The Hinwood Institute. She is the lead trainer and coach in Time Management. She is a recognized leader in Stress Management. An experienced coach, speaker, columnist and facilitator, Barbara’s work with The Hinwood Institute assists people to unclutter mess, make order from chaos, and swap the shackles of overwhelming for freedom. Barbara’s clients move from the relentless hamster wheel to waking inspired, motivated, making decisions with purpose and achieving peak performance. She lives in the desert of Alice Springs, Australia working with people around the country.

Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships


  • Practice self-compassion
  • Journal to build confidence
  • Focus on self-growth areas


  • Refuse compliments
  • Set unrealistic goals
  • Be too hard on yourself

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