Self-esteem: 4 steps to feel better about yourself

If you have low self-esteem, harness the power of your own thoughts and beliefs to change how you feel about yourself. Start with these four steps to a healthier self-esteem. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Low self-esteem can negatively affect virtually every facet of your life, including your relationships, your job and your health. But you can take steps to boost your self-esteem, even if you've been harboring a poor opinion of yourself since childhood. Start with these four steps.

Step 1: Identify troubling conditions or situations

Think about the conditions or situations that seem to deflate your self-esteem. Common triggers might include:

  • A business presentation
  • A crisis at work or home
  • A challenge with a spouse, loved one, co-worker or other close contact
  • A change in life circumstances, such as a job loss or a child leaving home

Step 2: Become aware of thoughts and beliefs

Once you've identified troubling conditions or situations, pay attention to your thoughts about them. This includes your self-talk — what you tell yourself — and your interpretation of what the situation means. Your thoughts and beliefs might be positive, negative or neutral. They might be rational, based on reason or facts, or irrational, based on false ideas.

Jul. 23, 2011 See more In-depth