18 Self-Esteem Worksheets and Activities for Teens and Adults (+PDFs)

self esteem worksheetsWe all experience moments of self-doubt and uncertainty. Even the most confident and happy people have moments where they think, “I’m such a failure.”

It’s a part of being human. However, if you find yourself having these kinds of negative thoughts frequently or letting these feelings get in the way of living a healthy and happy life, it may be time to do something about it.

Luckily, there are many ways to increase your sense of self-worth. It probably won’t be easy, but it can certainly be done.

Building self-esteem can be a difficult, though rewarding, journey in adulthood. It’s much easier to develop this characteristic at a young age and to foster it while growing up. If you are a parent, child therapist, teacher, or any other valued adult in the life of a child,  you can use these tools to begin cultivating a healthy sense of self-esteem in the children in your life.

We’ll provide several methods and activities for building self-esteem, starting with self-esteem worksheets for young children and ending with self-esteem worksheets for adults.

Before you read on, we thought you might like to download our 3 Self-Compassion Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will not only help you show more compassion and kindness towards yourself but will also give you the tools to help your children, young clients or students learn how to practice self-compassion and develop healthy self-esteem.

You can download the free PDF here.

Self-Esteem Worksheets for Kids in Primary School

Primary or elementary school is a fantastic time to start helping a child develop self-esteem. A child’s mind is generally much more flexible and open than an adult’s, so it’s ideal to begin planting the seeds of healthy self-esteem at an early age.

The worksheet and activities listed below are some of the ways you can help a child develop the self-esteem that will act as a buffer against some of life’s most difficult obstacles and challenges.

How To Help Children Develop Self-Esteem

Something About Me: Self-Esteem Sentence Completion

This is an activity that both children and adults can get engaged with, although this worksheet is geared toward children. A similar worksheet for adults is included later in this article.

This “Something About Me” worksheet is intended to help children identify their own positive traits and characteristics and to recognize their accomplishments.

It’s a simple worksheet with six sentence prompts and space for a child to fill in the blanks.

Self-Esteem Exercises WorksheetsThe sentence prompts are:

  • My friends think I’m awesome because…
  • My classmates say I’m great at…
  • I feel very happy when I…
  • Something that I’m really proud of is…
  • I make my family happy when I…
  • One unique thing about me is…

These sentences are constructed with clear and uncomplicated language that most elementary school students should understand, but it may help to go over this worksheet with your child. Encourage your child to think about each sentence and not to rush.

Completing this activity can help children build the foundations of an authentic and healthy self-esteem that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Click to see the Something About Me Worksheet.

 

Things I Like About Me Worksheet

This worksheet was created to help young children learn how uniqueness makes a person beautiful. This worksheet should be completed with a parent or other trusted adult to help explain the distinction between inner beauty and outer beauty.

The worksheet includes the following instructions:

“You are beautiful because you are unique, both on the inside and on the outside. Look inside and outside at your personality, what you can do, how you treat others, and who you are, then write down some things that you like about you on this mirror.”

Also included is the prompt “Things that make me beautiful” and space to write five things. It’s okay to write something external, like “my hair” or “my eyes,” but make sure your child writes at least one or two inner traits or qualities in addition to the external qualities.

It’s never too early to start combatting the extreme focus society places on external beauty, and this worksheet is a great start. Of course, it can also be used with boys to help them learn the same lesson.

Click to download the Things I Like About Me Worksheet and give it a try.

 

“I’m Great Because…” Worksheet

This worksheet can be an excellent way for young children to explore what makes them good and likable people, and to help them build a foundation of healthy self-esteem. The instructions are to print it out and complete the statements—without worrying too much if the user can’t complete them all—and keeping the worksheet handy for the next time the user experiences feelings of low self-esteem.

The worksheet lists 20 sentence-completion prompts that children fill out with something positive about themselves. A reason, in other words, that they are great. These prompts include the following:

  • I like who I am because…
  • I’m super at…
  • I feel good about my…
  • My friends think I have an awesome…
  • Somewhere I feel happy is…
  • I mean a lot to…
  • Others reckon I’m a great…
  • I think I’m a pretty good…
  • Something I really enjoy is…
  • I really admire myself for…
  • My future goals are…
  • I know I can achieve them because I’m…
  • I’m naturally gifted at…
  • Others often praise my…

Completing this worksheet will give your child an opportunity to list all of the good things about himself or herself without fear of being overly proud or self-absorbed.

It’s good to be both realistic and positive about yourself, and this is a good way to begin a habit of positive realism. Children may need an adult’s help in completing this worksheet, but try to let them come up with their own ideas about the traits and characteristics they like about themselves.

Try this I’m Great Because… Worksheet for yourself.

 

Friendship Ingredients

This is a great worksheet for helping children learn about what makes them good friends and what they should look for in a friend. Completing this worksheet will likely take some guidance from an adult, but it can be a positive way for children to start thinking about what kind of people they want to be.

It’s a simple activity with only one short set of instructions:

“Making friends is like making a cake. List the traits that are important for making friends”

Next, it provides spaces for the child to write down five traits—or friendship “ingredients”—and explain why they are important in a friend. The simple nature of this worksheet allows children to put their imagination to good use.

They might need some help from an adult, but they should be able to come up with several traits that they find important in a friend.

Click to download this Friendship Ingredients Worksheet and help your child learn how to both find and be a good friend.

 

Self-Esteem Journal For Kids

This activity is great for any age, but this template is meant specifically for young children. We’ll explore an adult version later in the article.

Keeping a self-esteem journal is a great way for children to begin thinking about the good things that they do and experience, setting them up for a positive outlook on life. This worksheet lists three-sentence completion prompts for each day of the week, starting with Monday.

The prompts include “One thing I did great at today…,” “Today it was interesting when…,” and “I made someone smile when…

Completing these prompts every night for a week should help your child feel more optimistic and begin focusing on the good things that happen instead of the bad. Follow this link to download and use this Self-Esteem Journal Worksheet with your child.

 

7 Self-Esteem Activities for Teens in Middle or High School

Self-Esteem Journal worksheets

While it’s best to start self-esteem building young, there is still tons of room for growth and development in this area for middle- and high-schoolers.

The activities and worksheets below can help your teenager start or continue to build a healthy sense of self-esteem.

How To Help Teens Develop Self-Esteem

Designing Affirmations Worksheet

Affirmations are a popular way to help combat low self-esteem in both adults and adolescents (Bloch & Merritt, 1993; Lynch & Graham-Bermann, 2000).

This worksheet will guide adolescents through one of the most popular, tactical approaches to designing affirmations. You’ll find instructions on how to create effective affirmations, as well as example goals, affirmations, and tips to help you.

In a nutshell:

  • Affirmations start with the words “I am…”;
  • Affirmations are positive. Never use the word “not” in an affirmation. For example, instead of writing “I am not afraid to express myself,” you could write, “I am confidently sharing my opinion”;
  • Affirmations are short;
  • Affirmations are specific. For example, instead of writing, “I am driving a new car,” you would write, “I am driving a new black Range Rover”;
  • Affirmations are in the present tense and include a word that ends in “-ing”;
  • Affirmations have a “feeling” word in them. Examples include “confidently,” “successfully,” or “gracefully”;
  • Affirmations are about yourself. They should be about your own behavior, never someone else’s.

Once you have read and understood the guidelines, the worksheet provides space for you to write down some affirmations of your own. Refer back to the guidelines as much as you need.Affirmations

When you have a set of affirmations ready to put to use, you can try these tips for using them:

  • Use positive self-talk;
  • Set big goals and stay mindful of your goals (write them down and place them somewhere you can see them every day);
  • Say and visualize your affirmations every day;
  • Take time to see yourself accomplishing the goals you’ve set;
  • Think about how good it will feel once you have accomplished your goals.

To get into the habit, try to start by sticking with a schedule—for example, you might try repeating your affirmations:

  1. When you wake up
  2. On your break at school or work
  3. Before going to sleep

Visualizing and planning for success makes it much more likely that you will achieve your goals. If needed, give your child guidance and support when coming up with affirmations, but allow them to take ownership of this activity and see the amazing results of their commitment.

You can access the Designing Affirmations Worksheet here.

 

Understanding Self-Confidence Worksheet

This worksheet can be completed by adolescents who wish to build up their self-esteem and self-confidence. The completed worksheet can be kept handy for the next time you’re feeling low in self-esteem and need a boost.

You can always your worksheet and be reminded of your personal power, and use it to transform situations in which you feel less confident.

The worksheet is divided into three parts:

Part A involves thinking of a situation in which you felt confident and experienced a sense of self-worth, and answering the following questions:

  1. What is the situation?
  2. What do you say to yourself about the situation (self-talk)? How do you feel physically?
  3. What sensations and feelings do you have in your body?
  4. What do you do as a result of this?

Part B involves thinking of a recent situation in which you felt lacking in self-confidence and answering the same four questions listed above.

In Part C, you are instructed to look at your answers to Parts A and B, then use that information to answer these questions:

  1. What positive statement could I say to myself to be reminded of my power?
  2. What could I do that would help me feel differently? (For example, create a visualization in which you remember how you felt in Part One.)
  3. What could I do differently next time I am in this situation? What actions would empower me?

Completing this worksheet will help adolescents explore their feelings in two very different situations, analyze their responses to these situations, and come up with an action plan for the next time they experience low self-esteem. This exercise will help them take control of their development and give them a sense of ownership in their own well-being, a trait that will serve them well in the future.

Click this link to see the Understanding Self-Confidence Worksheet.

 

You, At Your Best Worksheet

This worksheet is a great way to help clients reflect on the personal character strengths that define them at their best. The exercise aims to use narrative and storytelling; clients are asked to identify their unique strengths by writing a story about a past experience where they were “at their best”.

It takes them through four stages:

  1. Start by asking your client to recall a specific occasion during which they were at their very best. It could be a problem or difficult time that they overcame successfully, or where they accomplished something they were proud of. It should be a situation in which they felt energized, positive, and proud, and they will create a (true) story about it.

  2. They then write the story, emphasizing their own character strengths and personal values in the narrative. Using descriptive language, this second step is about recounting what happened, what they brought to the situation, the emotions they felt, and/or the ways they helped others.

  3. Your client’s story should be structured with a start, middle, and a powerful ending. Writing the narrative might be easier if they try to vividly reconstruct the experience in their minds while doing so.

  4. This handout/homework worksheet then instructs the client to go back over their story, circling or highlighting keywords and phrases that they feel relate to their personal strengths.

This subjective, feelings-based exercise is a useful way for you or your client to reflect on their unique character strengths and qualities, helping to enhance their self-esteem.

Find the You, At Your Best Worksheet in our Toolkit.

 

My Wins

This activity is especially great for kids and younger teens who are crafty and creative, although people of all ages and talents can take part.

The My Wins Worksheet is an artistic prompt for you or your child to draw, paint, or otherwise represent the things—their achievements and qualities—about themselves that are important to them. You may wish to use a theme for this activity or for each ‘win’, like “family,” but it’s okay to engage in this activity with no specific theme in mind as well.

This is a simple worksheet that has only the outline of different certificates. In each, your child can represent the personal qualities, achievements, and traits that they value.

For example, if your child is dealing with self-esteem issues, he or she can use the theme “What Makes Me Great” and focus on filling the frames with reasons why he or she is a good friend, a good child, a good student, and a good person in general.

 

Before You Die

This activity utilizes a very basic technique that you can build upon as needed. The point of this activity is to help your client identify meaningful goals that are connected with their personal values.

Striving toward and achieving one’s goals is an important way to build self-esteem. You build the most solid foundation of self-esteem and self-confidence with the building blocks of positive experience and success. The more individuals recognize their ability to meet the goals they set for themselves, the more likely they are to feel confident and worthy.

This ‘Before You Die’ Bucketlist Worksheet provides more information on the theory behind goal-setting, motivation, and positive behavior change, as well as an applied framework that will guide your client through the process.

  • The first column of the table provided is for specifying the goal that your client would like to accomplish ‘before they die’. Try to make these as specific as possible, regardless of whether or not they are practical. A useful question to ask when filling out this column is, what would I like to accomplish if I had only one year to live?

  • In the second column, the client is encouraged to dig a bit deeper into the personal motivations for this particular goal. Why is it important to them? How might it enhance the meaning in their life?

  • Use the final column to rate the meaningfulness of these items on a scale of zero to ten, where 0 = not at all meaningful, and 10 is extremely meaningful.

At the end of this exercise, the user should have a list—or at least the beginnings of a list—which features meaningful life goals, a stepping stone toward confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem.

 

Reframing Negative Judgments

A useful exercise from our Positive Psychology toolkit, this worksheet will help adolescents and adults who are struggling to accept their failures. It’s a reframing activity to help change how we perceive these threats to our self-esteem, and to help us learn and improve our chances of future success.

We all fail sometimes, and even as we mature it helps to understand that failure happens to everybody—it doesn’t mean the person who failed is a failure.

The instructions on this worksheet direct users to describe the situation that has had an impact on their self-esteem. In the next column, they are asked to write down their initial judgments. For a situation such as “A friend kept me waiting 15 minutes”, for instance, the initial judgment column might read: “He doesn’t care about me”.

Next is the column in which they will write the emotions and feelings this triggered, which in this scenario might be anger or disappointment.

In the far right column, you or the user writes down a more objective description of the scenario that is fact-based and less black-and-white.

This worksheet encourages the development of an extremely valuable skill: recognizing that disappointments are a part of life and that they can lead to even greater success.

Sometimes we have to experience seemingly negative things in order to learn the lessons that propel us to greatness. Learning not to view them as dichotomous (one or the other, good or bad) helps us maintain self-worth in the face of them, a crucial part of building a healthy sense of self-esteem.

To download this worksheet, click here.

 

Exercises for Building Self-Esteem in College Students and AdultsExercises To Build Self-Esteem In Adults

Again, while building self-esteem is a practice best started young, it’s never too late to begin investing in your own self-worth.

 

Self-Esteem Sentence Stems Worksheet

This worksheet leads the reader through a sentence completion exercise for adults. This exercise is exactly what it sounds like: It includes prompts with space for you to complete the sentence in the way that feels right to you.

Completing this exercise can help you explore your thoughts and feelings, and to open up and share them with others. For users of this worksheet, this exercise will help them become more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with others, making it easier to work through their self-esteem issues.

Next, it instructs users to set aside 5-10 minutes several times a week to complete the worksheet. After two weeks of completing the worksheet, users can review their responses to get an idea of their general outlooks on life and see how things have changed since they began.

The intended result is for the answers to become more positive over time.

After the instructions, the sentence prompts are listed, including:

  • I have always wanted to…
  • I’m secretly afraid of…
  • This week I would enjoy doing…
  • I often look forward to…
  • I feel something that the future holds for me is…
  • I get my strength from…
  • One person couldn’t live without is…
  • I would never…
  • It made me feel great when…
  • I love when…
  • I find it hard to…
  • My dream is to one day that…
  • It makes me angry when…
  • I sometimes fear that…
  • This week is going to be…
  • Something I deeply desire is…
  • I flourish when…
  • This week I hope to…
  • Something I do secretly…
  • I find it hard to admit…

Answering these questions can give you helpful insight into yourself, what makes you happy, and what you struggle with. If you’re a therapist, you can introduce this exercise to clients by filling out a few prompts together.

This allows you to communicate important messages to your client and to help them feel comfortable with the exercise. For example, you can finish the prompt “Right now, I’m happy that…” with “my favorite hockey team won last night.” This can be a good way to defuse tension and start off with an easy and relatively harmless example.

Download and work through this Self-Esteem Sentence Stems Worksheet.

 

Self-Esteem Journal Template

For those of you who have heard of or kept a gratitude journal, this exercise might feel familiar. Not only can journaling help you find more things in your life to be grateful for, but it can also give you the opportunity to reflect on your own thoughts and feelings, leading to discovery and understanding of the self (Kaczmarek et al., 2015).

The worksheet begins with a short paragraph about the potential benefits of journaling, including improved self-esteem and well-being. Users are encouraged to use this template to reflect on the meaningful moments of their days and review the changes in their emotions and general outlooks over time.

Next, there are five tables set up with prompts and space to write. The first table includes the following prompts:

  1. 5 things that made me feel peaceful today:
  2. I felt proud of myself when:
  3. I enjoyed:

The prompts in the second table are:

  1. My family admire me for my:
  2. 5 small successes I had today were:
  3. The highlight of my day was:

The third table includes:

  1. My best attribute is:
  2. 3 unique things about me are:
  3. I feel most proud of myself when:

In the fourth table, the prompts are:

  1. I’m excited for:
  2. 5 things or people I feel thankful for are:
  3. I am in my element when:

The final table lists these three prompts:

  1. 5 ways my life is awesome:
  2. My biggest success this week was:
  3. I feel best about myself when:

You have probably noticed that these prompts are intended to provoke positive responses. The positive focus of this exercise is what sets it apart from ordinary journaling or writing in a diary. Even when you’ve had a rough day, these prompts can help you find the good things in your life and remind you that no matter how hard things have been, you’ve survived them.

If you are a therapist providing this worksheet to your client(s), encourage them to think critically about what their answers reveal. This exercise can be a quick and short-term mood boost, or, with commitment and effort, it can facilitate positive growth and development.

Click the link for this Self-Esteem Journal For Adults Worksheet.

 

Gratitude Worksheet and Journal Template

If you are not familiar with the gratitude journal technique, this worksheet is an excellent way to give it a try. Research has linked gratitude to a multitude of positive outcomes, like increasing well-being (Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010), improving relationships (Algoe, Haidt, & Gable, 2008), increasing optimism (Dickens, 2019), and helping people find meaning in their work (Waters, 2012).

Gratitude journaling is one of the best ways to inject more gratitude into your daily life, and it can be done in just a few minutes a day. The gratitude journal worksheet opens with some tips to help you journal effectively, including recording at least five things you are grateful for each day, aiming for one new thing to be grateful for each day, and reading through old entries to see how far you have come since you began.

The template is simple, with space for the date, and two prompts below.

  • Alongside Blessings in the second row, list things that you feel thankfulness for. Examples might be an encouraging friend, particular capabilities or qualities that you possess, or even just being alive.

  • The second prompt, Reflections, encourage you to elaborate on them. Research suggests that this reflection builds on the positive impacts of simply listing things that you’re grateful for, by focusing your thoughts on them in detail. For instance, you might use this last row to consider what things might look like if you didn’t have that supportive partner or that ability to be patient.

It’s a good idea to fill in the journal once or twice a week, thinking of something that you have not yet expressed gratitude for. More examples include a teacher who profoundly affected your development whom you never thanked or something you may take for granted, like good general health. There are many ways to set up and complete a gratitude journal, but this is a great way to begin.

Find this useful Gratitude Journal as a PDF.

 

Reframing Critical Self-Talk Worksheet

This exercise is a great way to address negative automatic thoughts and self-talk, challenges that people with low self-esteem and/or mental health issues often face. It’s not surprising that talking down to yourself will lead to and exacerbate self-esteem problems, but the good news is that it is not an unsolvable problem.

Challenging negative self-talk is a core technique in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of therapy that has proven effective in helping a wide range of conditions, diagnoses, and problems. CBT helps clients discover some of their most deeply held, often unconscious, beliefs, allowing them to evaluate these beliefs and challenge those that are not useful.

This reframing worksheet opens with an explanation of negative self-talk and how you can identify and confront it.

Next, the tool is described. It includes two main steps intended to help you understand where your critical thoughts are coming from and what they feel or sound like.

  1. Increasing your awareness of self-critical talk: To begin tapping into your self-awareness, take some deep breaths. When you realize that your inner critic is doing the talking inside your head—perhaps when you are unsuccessful at something—pay attention to what that self-talk sounds like. Are there specific core phrases that you tend to say to yourself? How does that negative voice sound?

  2. Taking action to soften your self-critical voice: Once you’ve become aware of when you’re criticizing yourself, it’s time to try self-compassion instead. In these instances, the worksheet suggests, consider what you might say to someone you care about if they were in the same scenario.

    Try changing the mental tone you’re using and take on a more positive one you might use when you’re feeling good about who you are. Finally, try to come to terms with what exactly it is that you’re being self-critical about. Is there something you might learn from this criticism if it were presented more constructively instead?

This tried-and-true technique will help you or your client recognize self-directed criticism and challenge it on the spot, leading to greater self-esteem and peace with oneself.

If one of your clients is having trouble coming up with positive responses to their self-critical thoughts, encourage them to consider what they would say to a dear friend or loved one who was struggling with these thoughts, as the sheet suggests. Sometimes it’s easier to be kind to others than to ourselves, but that is something that can be remedied with time and practice.

Click here to view or download this worksheet.

 

Identifying and Challenging Core Beliefs

Similar to challenging negative thoughts, it can be an extremely effective therapeutic technique to discover, identify, and challenge your core beliefs. We often carry negative or false unconscious or semiconscious beliefs, never stopping to recognize the values and norms that we buy into on a daily basis.

This exercise will help you or your client explore and define deeply held beliefs that guide thoughts and behavior.

The worksheet begins with an explanation of what core beliefs are:

“Core beliefs can be defined as the very essence of how people see themselves, others, the world, and the future.”

Next, it explains how core beliefs can influence one’s thinking and emotions through an example interaction.

“Interaction: You are attending an interview for a job that you really want.”

In this situation, you must choose between three briefcases to bring along to work, each representing a different core belief:

Purple briefcase—“I’m talented”

Internal thought associated: “I am naturally adept with lots of experience in this field. I deserve this role.”

Your reaction: You feel confident as you enter the interview, and subsequently land the job.

Orange briefcase—“I’m unsure whether I’m talented.”

Internal thought associated: “I have lots of experience and I think I’m good, but someone else will probably get the job over me.”

Your reaction: You don’t feel great heading into the interview. You relatively positive feedback but don’t land the role.

Green briefcase—“I’m not talented.”

Internal thought associated: “There’s no way I’m getting this job. Other candidates are much more capable than me.”

Your reaction: You don’t get the job.

These examples show that the thoughts we carry with us, everywhere we go, can have a profound impact on our feelings, our behavior, and the associated outcomes.

Finally, the worksheet presents an opportunity to apply what you have learned from these examples to your own life. You are prompted to identify three negative core beliefs and three reasons why each belief is not true.

It can be difficult to identify the first core belief, especially if you have several very deeply held negative beliefs that you have never even considered challenging before. However, once you get the ball rolling with the first belief, it should get easier as you go.

To give this Core Beliefs Suitcases worksheet a try, follow the link.

 

Assertive Communication Worksheet

Low self-esteem and poor or underdeveloped communication skills often go hand-in-hand (Blood & Blood, 2004). It can be difficult to share feelings with others if you don’t feel your feelings have value, an all-too-common symptom of low self-esteem.

Learning to communicate assertively will not only help you form better relationships and find new opportunities, but it can also facilitate a shift in the way you think about yourself (Law & Sivyer, 2003).

The word “assertive” may make people with low self-esteem hesitant. Being assertive might sound overly aggressive, pushy, or just too out of character.

The worksheet addresses this right away with an explanation about how three common communication styles differ:

  • Aggressive Communication
    Defined by speaking in a mean, harsh, or sarcastic manner, taking instead of compromising, maintaining glaring eye contact and speaking in loud or threatening tones, putting others down, being inappropriately honest, and bullying or trampling others.

  • Assertive Communication
    Defined by being firm but polite, compromising, maintaining warm and friendly eye contact and a conversational tone, building up others and oneself, being appropriately honest, and standing up for oneself.

  • Passive Communication
    Defined by being too nice or weak, being overly compliant, avoiding eye contact, speaking softly, putting oneself down, being emotionally dishonest, and allowing others to trample you in conversation.

When laid out in this way, it is clear that being an assertive communicator is nothing like being an aggressive communicator. Assertive communication is simply expressing yourself honestly and directly, while being polite and open.

The worksheet provides space and instructions to record three scenarios in which you communicated assertively and list the emotions you felt afterward. If you can’t think of an instance where you have communicated assertively, don’t worry! You can make that a goal for yourself in the next week.

You can see this Assertive Communication Worksheet for yourself and begin building up your communication skills.

 

Tips for Overcoming Low Self-Esteem and Low Self-Worth6 Ways To Overcome Low Self-Esteem

Apart from these worksheets and activities, there are tons of tips out there for building self-esteem and self-worth.

Dr. John M. Grohol (2011) offers these six tips:

  1. Take a self-esteem inventory to give yourself a baseline. This can be as simple as writing down 10 of your strengths and 10 of your weaknesses. This will help you to begin developing an honest and realistic conception of your self.

  2. Set realistic expectations. It’s important to set small, attainable goals that are within your power. For example, setting an extremely high expectation or an expectation that someone else will change their behavior is virtually guaranteed to make you feel like a failure.

  3. Stop being a perfectionist and acknowledge both your accomplishments and mistakes. Nobody is perfect, and trying to be will only lead to disappointment. Acknowledging your accomplishments and recognizing your mistakes is the way to keep a positive outlook while learning and growing from your mistakes.

  4. Explore yourself. The importance of knowing yourself and being at peace with who you are cannot be overstated. This can take some trial and error, but it’s a lifelong journey that should be undertaken with purpose and zeal.

  5. Be willing to adjust your self-image. We all change as we age and grow, and we must keep up with our ever-changing selves if we want to set and achieve meaningful goals.

  6. Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparing ourselves to others is a trap that is extremely easy to fall into, especially with social media and the ability to project a polished and perfected (and false) appearance. The only person you should compare yourself to is you.

Henrik Edberg (2017) offers a similar set of tips for improving your self-esteem:

  • Say “stop” to your inner critic;
  • Use healthier motivation habits;
  • Take a two-minute self-appreciation break;
  • Each evening, write down three things that you can appreciate about yourself;
  • Do the right thing;
  • Fight against perfectionism;
  • Handle mistakes and failures in a more positive way;
  • Be kinder toward other people;
  • Try something new;
  • Stop falling into the comparison trap;
  • Spend more time with supportive people (and less time with destructive people);
  • Remember the “whys” of high self-esteem.

To read these tips in more detail, you can visit Edberg’s blog post on improving self-esteem here and read more about positive body image here.

 

Ten Days to Self-Esteem Improvement: An Action Plan

While it can take time to build up a solid sense of self-esteem, it’s possible to kickstart the process.

ten days to self-esteem worksheets For a guide on quick ways to put the process in motion, check out the book Ten Days to Self-Esteem by psychiatrist and author David Burns. While self-help books are often hit-or-miss, Burns has an impressive record of success with his patients and his readers. At the very least, it can’t hurt to give it a shot.

This book helps the reader identify the causes of low self-esteem and provides activities and exercises to start increasing self-esteem. It’s written in plain English, not psychiatric jargon, and has earned an impressive four-star rating on Amazon.

If you don’t have the patience to go through an entire book, there are some simple things you can do now to jumpstart your self-esteem journey:

  1. Think hard about the root cause(s) of your insecurities. The first step to defeating formidable foes is to learn about them, and this situation is no different. Identifying the events that led to a low sense of self-worth can provide valuable information for challenging these negative beliefs.

  2. Use the “Negative Self-Talk” and “Identifying and Challenging Core Beliefs” worksheets (available in the adult worksheets section of this article) to help you identify negative thoughts and begin to replace them with alternative thoughts.

  3. Be kind to yourself. If you find yourself being excessively negative to yourself, stop and consider how you would feel if someone said those things about a close friend or family member. Extend the same compassion you’d give a friend or family member to yourself.

  4. Make a plan. Set achievable and realistic short-term goals for yourself to complete in the next week or so. Achieving something, no matter how small, can be an excellent boost to your motivation.

  5. Celebrate your success. When you accomplish a goal, successfully challenge a negative thought, or catch yourself extending kindness toward yourself, mark the achievement with a celebration! Taking the time to revel in your success and enjoy the moment can give you the inspiration you need to continue your journey to self-improvement.

 

A Take-Home Message

We hope this piece helped you find useful ways to begin or continue improving on your self-esteem, but if you only leave with one lesson learned, we hope it is this:

You can improve. You can get better. You can reach your goals.

It may not feel like it at the moment, but know that no matter how down you might be feeling, there is always room for growth and improvement.

Which techniques have you used to improve your self-esteem? Were they effective? Please share your experience with us in the comments section.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our 3 Self Compassion Exercises for free.

If you wish to learn more, our Science of Self Acceptance Masterclass© is an innovative, comprehensive training template for practitioners that contains all the materials you’ll need to help your clients accept themselves, treat themselves with more compassion and see themselves as worthy individuals.

  • Algoe, S. B., Haidt, J., & Gable, S. L. (2008). Beyond reciprocity: Gratitude and relationships in everyday life. Emotion, 8(3), 425-429.
  • Bloch, D., & Merritt, J. (1993). Positive self-talk for children: Teaching self-esteem through affirmations: A guide for parents, teachers, and counselors. New York, NY: Bantam Books.
  • Blood, G. W., & Blood, I. M. (2004). Bullying in adolescents who stutter: Communicative competence and self-esteem. Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders, 31(Spring), 69-79.
  • Child Safety and Abuse Prevention Programs. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.keepyourchildsafe.org/
  • Dickens, L. R. (2019). Gratitude interventions: Meta-analytic support for numerous personal benefits, with caveats. In L. E. Van Zyl & S. Rothmann, Sr. (Eds.). Positive Psychological Intervention Design and Protocols for Multi-Cultural Contexts (pp. 127-147). Switzerland, AG: Springer.
  • Edberg, H. (2017). How to improve your self-esteem: 12 Powerful tips. Retrieved from http://www.positivityblog.com/improve-self-esteem/
  • Grohol, J. (2011). 6 tips to improve your self-esteem. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/10/30/6-tips-to-improve-your-self-esteem/
  • Kaczmarek, L. D., Kashdan, T. B., Drążkowski, D., Enko, J., Kosakowski, M., Szäefer, A., & Bujacz, A. (2015). Why do people prefer gratitude journaling over gratitude letters? The influence of individual differences in motivation and personality on web-based interventions. Personality and Individual Differences, 75, 1-6.
  • Law, J., & Sivyer, S. (2003). Promoting the communication skills of primary school children excluded from school or at risk of exclusion: An intervention study. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 19(1), 1-25.
  • Lynch, S. M., & Graham-Bermann, S. A. (2000). Woman abuse and self-affirmation: Influences on women’s self-esteem. Violence Against Women, 6(2), 178-197.
  • Practical Tools and Advice to Overcome Low Self Esteem (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.self-esteem-school.com/
  • Self-Esteem Experts: Nurturing Vibrant Self-Esteem (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.self-esteem-experts.com/
  • Waters, L. (2012). Predicting job satisfaction: Contributions of individual gratitude and institutionalized gratitude. Psychology, 3(12A special issue), 1174-1176.
  • Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 890-905.

About the Author

Courtney Ackerman, MSc., is a graduate of the positive organizational psychology and evaluation program at Claremont Graduate University. She is currently working as a researcher for the State of California and her professional interests include survey research, well-being in the workplace, and compassion.

Comments

  1. Dave

    why is it that when trying to answer these types of questions (for adults) it just makes me feel extreme anxiety and get very frustrated and annoyed with the questions.
    they wind me the heck up…… like ‘ what 5 things did I enjoy today’ for example, well nothing, I still feel down and no hopes and loss of any hope at age 50 feeling life had disappeared from under me and cannot see my grown up children due to location, and no money due to ill health and my attempts ta trying to make an income online is not working and I am hating trying to write for a living and not enjoying it yet it is the only hope available (online work)
    really want to throw my laptop out the window…
    had counselling last year but didn’t help and antidepressants had awful side effects over last 10 years
    at a loss as everything seems closed off, no income, no funds to put into anything, cannot focus on online work or write nor afford to hire writers etc
    any ideas even if someone bothers responding…?
    thanks

    Reply
    • Lucinda Allen

      Hi Dave, I hear you. At times like these, it can be difficult to find things to be grateful for. Right now, the best we can do is to just take each day as it comes and hope that the storm will pass.
      Please take care.
      Lucinda

      Reply
    • Shraddha

      Hi Dave, I feel that sometimes we tend to take basic things for granted. When i read your post I was envious that at least this person has laptop to throw away which i don’t have and praying for it for ages. But then I realized yet there are people who don’t even have food to eat, which I am getting even though I am not earning . I saw people dying on the streets in our country during lock down because they we’re desperate to go home and tried to walk to their hometown with no transport available.
      So, yes we all are surrounded by negative thoughts stemming from negative core beliefs. But we have to push our mind to de-focus from them and answer the questions such as What did I enjoy today?
      Even if we chew a bite mindfully it can become an enjoyable experience.
      It really helps to develop our focus towards brighter aspects of our lives.
      It worked for me, hope it helps you too.
      Good Luck.

      Reply
    • Elaine

      Hello, I ave not received my emails with my download
      Thankyou

      Reply
      • Nicole Celestine

        Hi Elaine,
        I assume you mean the 3 Free Self-Compassion exercises? Please be sure to check your spam and promotions folders to ensure they didn’t end up in there by accident. If you can’t find them there, perhaps try the email sign-up form again (just in case you made a typo when entering your email).
        You can access the form here.
        – Nicole | Community Manager

        Reply
    • Desiree Castillo-Cruz

      no 🙁

      Reply
  2. Parvez Khan

    Hi,
    Makes a lot of sense. Could you please direct me – where can I get the worksheets from.

    Reply
    • Annelé Venter

      Hi Parvez
      You are most welcome to follow the links on the page – they are usually in bold and when you click on them you can get the worksheets.

      Reply
  3. SS

    They are wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I will print and practice with my son.

    Reply
  4. Jack

    Hello. I have a daughter who is 21yrs old .
    She has no selfestem she had dépression A.D.H.D. over weight alot. dress slopy dose
    Drugs. And has no responsable and no motivation but she has some great thoughts
    But thats all .
    What she needs is big time help

    Reply
  5. Wilson Rodrigues

    I loved this subject!!! So much, because i´ve also been struggling with this topic, sometimes, i get caught and trapped in my own self-worth just with blank spaces to be filled in by others, so in sumatory i can be pretty easy “enslaved” by others concept of me, now its a must to acknoledgwe my own wins and losses and transport all of that to my reality with compassion and self-love.
    Thank You.

    Reply
  6. Carly

    Great ideas, thank you for this wealth of information.

    Reply
  7. JH

    Thank you for your helpful information. I am going to print a few the work sheets and try it out. Assertive communication is the one that resonates with me the most.

    Reply
  8. shimeles

    Thank you very much !

    Reply
  9. Samar Hassan

    Thanks for very useful, simple, and applicable tips and tools that their impact will be shown and felt by the client

    Reply
  10. Flora

    Good article for school and journal writting time.

    Reply
  11. Martina

    Thank you a lot for this article. I just started work as school psychologist with minimum of methods to use with my clients. Here I have plenty of worksheets which are useful for working with children. Great job! 🙂

    Reply
  12. Irene

    Great professional contribution to humanity. Gratefully yours. Irene

    Reply
  13. Dr. M.Jayakumar

    A good article for school teachers and social workers
    M.Jayakumar

    Reply
  14. Pragya Upadhyay

    Thank you so much for sharing this great compilation of some of the best worksheets to be used with adolescents and adults, at one place. Your write up is an added advantage for better understanding to use it!

    Reply
  15. Michael Sanovia

    Hello Courtney
    Your article is very helpful for my granddaughters
    Thank you very much!

    Reply
    • jedidah

      This is an eye opener and will help me to assess myself and teach my children at the same time.

      Reply
  16. LEAZ LUMAYAG CLEMENA

    thanks for the article it really of a great help to me as a teacher

    Reply
  17. Stephanie Romero-Mosqueda

    This is all great information! But I didn’t see the PDF, so I had to take time to reproduce the info on the worksheets 🙁

    Reply
  18. Deepali

    Thanks for sharing such a useful information.It is very helpful in self development.Waiting for more one.

    Reply
  19. Conrad popko

    Hi there, I was just wondering if your pdf’s are available in French?

    Reply
  20. Hamna

    I’ve started this and I’m getting positive results I’m glad I find this

    Reply
  21. Natalie

    This is life changing! These worksheets helped my anxious, adopted daughter and her friends emmensly!!!

    Reply
  22. shennel

    thanks for this beautiful write up. i have just begun field as an intern where i deal with passive and withdrawn kids. looking forward to make the best out of this guidance!

    Reply
  23. shennel

    thanks you loads for sharing this good write-up. i have just begun my field as an intern where i deal with passive and withdrawn kids. looking forward to help them with this guidance!

    Reply
  24. Pragya Shrestha

    Thank your for this great resource. I will use some of these tools during activities.

    Reply
  25. Franchesca

    Great tool for working with teens.
    Thanks so much!

    Reply
  26. Moisés Meneses

    I am reading yoir información from México. I”m reading información to find a way to help muy daugther with problema of enxiery AMD self steem. Tks for the tools AMD TVE info

    Reply
  27. Latisha Smith

    Wow I really needed this. I just started working with teens who have low self esteem and looking to gain more confidence. Thanks for being unselfish and sharing such amazing information.

    Reply
  28. Aida

    Thank you for this incredible resource. I work with young teen girls who suffer greatly from low self-esteem as I did when I was young. I am constantly looking for activities they can use to get them out of their emotional state…tools…new tools. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      That’s so great to hear, Aida! Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  29. Richard Chavez

    Thank you Courtney, I work with women who struggle with low self esteem and self worth. “Helpful!”

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      That’s wonderful to hear this information will be applied to women who struggle with their self-worth! Unfortunately it’s a common phenomenon, and I have immense respect for anyone who is fighting its prevalence. Best of luck in your work!

      Reply
  30. Kevin Davis

    Thanks for the tips, Courtney! I downloaded the PDF files, and I’m going to check out the book by Dr. Burns. Lack of self-esteem has been a problem for me for years, and I know it is unhealthy.
    Regards,
    Kevin Davis

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      Hey Kevin, thanks for letting us know you liked the article! You can’t go wrong with David Burns. Best of luck working on your self-esteem–it’s hard work, but definitely worth it!

      Reply
  31. Leonard Matariro

    Eye-openning

    Reply
  32. Anna Harreveld

    Hi Courtney,
    This looks awesome. Defenitly something I could use for my pre teen. I saw that your business is registered in Maastricht. Does this mean that one day this might be available in Dutch? It would really be great for my Dutch parent friends.
    Thumbs up from Melbourne Australia

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      Hey Anna, thanks for your comment!
      Good question on the possible translation–shoot an email to info@positivepsychologyprogram.com and see what they say!

      Reply
  33. baskorohendro

    Thank you for sharing self-esteem worksheet. it’s very helpful.
    by the way, can you give me some guidelines to build possitive thinking.

    Reply
  34. Masuda

    Hi thank you so much found the worksheets very positive helpful and inspirational will use it in my coaching sessions God bless u keep u the good work

    Reply
  35. Philosopher King

    This was great Courtney

    Reply
  36. Lindsay

    This has been a helpful and inspiring starting point for planning some group counseling activities.

    Reply
  37. Ric Duguid

    I really like the look of the materials and program.
    I am part of a volunteer not for profit Rotary Project from our club, Brisbane Planetarium Australia.
    The Project is called Teacher in a Box and can be viewed at
    http://www.teacherinabox.org.au
    Could I please be put in contact with an admin team member to discuss the possibility of including your material in our learning content. Best Regards
    Ric Duguid

    Reply
  38. ailia

    Thank you. I will try these excercises.

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      That’s great to hear, Ailia!

      Reply
  39. Eric

    Thank you so much! I feel like I have somewhere to start!

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      Wonderful! Thanks for sharing, Eric.

      Reply
  40. Lisa Hjorleifson

    Hello,
    I’m an OT working in community mental health in Kenora, Ontario. I own this book and I am seeking your permission to use the worksheets within with my clients. Is there a way to download these? or would I have to photocopy them?
    Thanks,
    Lisa Hjorleifson

    Reply
  41. catherine

    it was of much help. thank you so much

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      Hey Catherine, I’m so happy to hear you found this piece helpful! Thanks for leaving us a comment.

      Reply
  42. Behnam

    I really enjoyed studying this article. I study school counseling and this text really helped me to have some good tools to work with secondary school students. you know…in our country the most important thing that we have lost is self-steem and self-concept.
    Thanks

    Reply
  43. Desilia Lang

    What I like most about this collection is the variety. I am a teacher at secondary school, and I and some fellow teachers are trying to start a program at our secondary school where we teach life skills to our students during home room period. I am hoping to use a worksheet or two with my students. So very kind of you to make them available to us…

    Reply
  44. Flora Deepa

    Hi! This is Flora!
    This is really educative, learn many good tips and techniques! I am a social worker and work with children, adolescent and child club members. Hope I will share my learning when conducting sessions on group therapy with children.

    Reply
  45. Deepak Sharma

    Thanks for sharing the gem of information.As rightly said sharing is caring.

    Reply
  46. reynita p. nazareno

    thank you for sharing this ‘treasure’ it is a big help for my mentoring of junior high students.

    Reply
  47. K Gal

    As an adult currently going through a separation this emotional toolkit has made me realize how much i have let my own self esteem down. Im in tears trying to answer some these basic questions. Thanks so much this article has helped me start a new journey.

    Reply
  48. ANDY JOHNSON

    Thanks for these wealths of information.

    Reply
  49. Amel A.

    Loved it all. Excellent excellent piece of work – I can’t say article, because this is much more. Thank you very much. God bless you all!!

    Reply
    • Jessie van den Heuvel

      Thank you for your lovely comment Amel.

      Reply
    • ANDY JOHNSON

      You’re right, this is more than an article.

      Reply
  50. sananaz

    Its really amazing and I’ll use these worksheet and other useful material in my job placement a resource person in a youth training center.Thank you so very much Seph Fontane Pennock you are doing great job.

    Reply
  51. Stine Abell

    Great tools and inspiration. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Jessie van den Heuvel

      Glad to hear that Stine and thanks for leaving a comment!

      Reply
  52. Yvonne Flynn

    Wow! Fantastic ideas and resources. I will use these in my work as a Personal Development Coach but more importantly with my 12 year old son who is struggling with confidence and self-esteem. Thank you for sharing.
    Yvonne Flynn

    Reply
    • Jessie van den Heuvel

      Happy to hear that Yvonne ? Thank you so much for stopping by.

      Reply
  53. Anika

    Thank you so much. These are amazing! so nice of you to share.

    Reply
    • Jessie van den Heuvel

      You’re very welcome Anika!

      Reply
  54. Megan Michaelides

    Hi Steph,
    I have accessed all the worksheets.
    Thank you so much for making them freely available, this is a great mini toolkit.
    Meg

    Reply
  55. Renata

    Brilliant! Thanks for bringing it all together Seph and sharing. Renata 🙂

    Reply
  56. Linda Ugelow

    What a great compilation of ideas and worksheets!

    Reply
    • Seph Fontane Pennock

      Thanks Linda! 🙂

      Reply

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