Ultimate Guide: Self-Esteem Activities for Children, Teens, and Young Adults

Discover the best self-esteem building activities and exercises that will transform your entire life! And these are for both kids, teens, and adults, so regardless of who you are and what age you are, they will work for you perfectly fine! Self-esteem activities that will change your life and the way you see yourself.

In psychology, self-esteem or self-worth includes a person’s subjective appraisal of himself or herself as intrinsically positive or negative to some degree (Sedikides & Gregg, 2003).Self-esteem involves both self-relevant beliefs (e.g., “I am competent/incompetent”, “I am liked/disliked”) and associated self-relevant emotions (e.g., triumph/despair, pride/shame).

Self-esteem is a major key to success in life. The development of a positive self-concept or healthy self-esteem is extremely important to the happiness and success of children and teenagers. This page will share the basics for helping kids and teens to improve their self-esteem

Ultimate Guide: Self-Esteem Activities for Children, Teens, and Young Adults

Self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves, and our behavior clearly reflects those feelings. For example, a child or teen with high self-esteem will be able to:

  • act independently
  • assume responsibility
  • take pride in his accomplishments
  • tolerate frustration
  • attempt new tasks and challenges
  • handle positive and negative emotions
  • offer assistance to others

On the other hand, a person with low self-esteem will:

  • avoid trying new things
  • feel unloved and unwanted
  • blame others for his own shortcomings
  • feel, or pretend to feel, emotionally indifferent
  • be unable to tolerate a normal level of frustration
  • put down his own talents and abilities
  • be easily influenced

Self Esteem Building Activities & Exercises

These great self-esteem building activities & exercises that will transform your entire life!

There is no chronological order of these, you can use them interchangeably and simultaneously. The ordering here is just for simplification purposes.

❍ Daily Diary

If your mental picture of yourself is not the best in the world, you definitely need some kind of exercise to improve it.

Addition to the daily diary, when you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, then grab the journal and pen, and give yourself three compliments.

Perhaps you like how your eyes glow in the morning light? Or maybe you appreciate how your hair looks today? Perhaps you believe that you are a smart and intelligent person? Just find anything… anything that you appreciate in yourself, things that make you feel good about yourself.

Write down the compliments, read them aloud in front of the mirror and congratulate yourself. Then let your day go on as usually.

❍ Pay Attention to Your Desires and Needs

All of us consist of three parts: our Body, our Soul, and our Mind. If you are to live a truly fulfilled and happy life, you must develop and take care of all three of them.

Start listening to their cries and desires. Maybe your body is telling you that you are completely out of shape, it says that it needs to be exercised and that it doesn’t feel comfortable. Go ahead and do it, stretch at home, go to the gym, jog on the street or perhaps hike the nearest mountain.

Perhaps your soul wants you to see some dear person that you haven’t talked to in a while. Maybe it is a dear friend of yours, your brother or sister, or perhaps your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Do it, listen to your soul, go for a cup of coffee and spend some time with that person. It will fill your heart with joy!

What about your Mind? Maybe it’s telling you to listen to some special piece of music, to learn a new language, to clear up your yard or buy a new bicycle, or simply that it is time to meditate and calm it. Whatever its needs, step into action, and do it!

Now if you recognize some of these in your personality, don’t panic. I tossed this in for your benefit, just for you to become aware of some bad self-esteem attributes. No reason to worry!

By doing these self-esteem building activities you will eliminate most if not all of the above!

Ultimate Guide: Self-Esteem Activities for Children, Teens, and Young Adults

❍ Find Your Power Pose

Right now I challenge you to stand up tall, shoulders back, chin up, smile confidently and move your body into the posture of someone who is highly self-assured; someone who never buys into beliefs that diminish them. Notice a difference? That’s because when we shift our physical state, it shifts our mental and emotional state. Not only that, but as Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy has found,  putting ourselves in a “Power Pose” literally changes our physiology releasing a hearty dose of testosterone to fuel our bravery.

❍ Understandings Emotions

❍ Start Eating Healthy and Take Proper Care of Yourself

Change your diet. Start nurturing your body with healthy foods. They not only influence your physical health but mental as well. Buy more fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, cereals, and whole grain products.

Make fresh homemade juices, full with vitamins and antioxidants. Avoid junk food, food rich in sugars, fat, and salt, and please, avoid meat and dairy products, and especially processed vegetable oils. If you want the meat that much, eat only fish or chicken.

Exercise regularly. Make a schedule and do it every day even if it is a simple exercise, like stretching in the morning, or walking in the park. Perhaps you could try yoga? How about martial arts? They always increase people’s self-esteem and confidence, there’s no doubt about it!

❍ Set Aside Perfection and Grab a Hold of Accomplishments… and Mistakes.

Perfection is simply unattainable for any of us. Let it go. You’re never going to be perfect. You’re never going to have the perfect body, the perfect life, the perfect relationship, the perfect children, or the perfect home. We revel in theidea of perfection, because we see so much of it in the media. But that is simply an artificial creation of society. It doesn’t exist.

Instead, grab a hold of your accomplishments as you achieve them. Acknowledge them to yourself for their actual value (don’t de-value them by saying, “Oh, that? That’s just so easy for me, no big deal.”). It may even help to keep a little journal or list of things you accomplish. Some people might even do this on a day-by-day basis, while others might feel more comfortable just noting them once a week or even once a month. The key is to get to your smaller goals and move on from each one, like a connect-the-dots game of life.

It’s just as important to take something away from the mistakes you make in life. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it simply means you made a mistake (like everyone does). Mistakes are an opportunity for learning and for growth, if only we push ourselves out of the self-pity or negative self-talk we wallow in after one, and try and see it through someone else’s eyes.

❍ Take Proper Hygiene

Proper personal hygiene means taking care of every aspect of your body, from keeping it clean to looking your best. Basic hygiene should be taught to children at an early age to help establish good habits. Parents can reinforce the good hygienic behavior by creating routines and being good role models. Personal hygiene practices include bathing, washing your hands, keeping your hair clean and brushing your teeth. Your personal, social and professional worlds are all affected by hygiene habits.

When you’re clean, you’ll feel much better about yourself than when you’re dirty. People will react more positively to you, which will also help raise your self-esteem.

The goal is to feel comfortable in your own skin.

❍ Forgive yourself for being imperfect

Remember that you, like everyone, are human. You do not have to be perfect to have high self-esteem. If you can accept yourself as you are, even if you are trying to improve in some areas, you will have much higher self-esteem.

  • Create a mantra for yourself, like “that’s okay, I’m awesome anyway.”

Ultimate Guide: Self-Esteem Activities for Children, Teens, and Young Adults

❍ Dress Something That Makes You Feel Wonderful

  • ‘Enclothed cognition’, the idea that what we wear can change our minds

  • Studies have shown that clothes really can change how we think and feel.

  • Research has confirmed that Our clothes reflect our mood – and can change it

❍ Make a Self-Esteem Collage

Many people lose their self-esteem when they forget about their hopes, aspirations, and abilities – or when they let others eclipse them with hurtful comments.

One particular exercise that will certainly remind you what a valuable individual you are, is making a self-collage and hanging it on a wall in your bedroom.

Take a large piece of poster board and a stack of magazines to go through, then browse their pages to find pictures that represent yourself, your talents, abilities, and aspirations. This will help you remember who you are, and what you are capable of – not what others say you are capable of.

❍ Accept your thoughts

Instead of fighting, resisting or being overwhelmed by negative thoughts or feelings, accept them. You don’t have to like them, just allow yourself to feel them.

Negative thoughts don’t need to be controlled, changed or acted upon. Aim to lessen the power of your negative thoughts and their influence on your behavior.

These steps might seem awkward at first, but they’ll get easier with practice. As you begin to recognize the thoughts and beliefs that are contributing to your low self-esteem, you can counter them or change the way you think about them. This will help you accept your value as a person. As your self-esteem increases, your confidence and sense of well-being are likely to soar.

Ultimate Guide: Self-Esteem Activities for Children, Teens, and Young Adults

❍ Set Up Challenges You Can Achieve

One of the most common causes of low self-esteem is the inability to achieve your goals. How many times have you admonished yourself for not completing a project up to your supervisor’s expectations? And how many times have you felt completely worthless after failing to shed the extra pounds?

Many times, the goals you set are not realistic for you, hence they cannot be achieved – so it is no doubt that you fail to accomplish them.

To improve your mental image about yourself, set up challenges you can achieve. At least, in the beginning, to start feeling good, then by all means, go for the big dreams.

For instance, make exercising part of your day-to-day routine – it will not be that difficult to find 10-20 minutes a day for a bit of fitness or yoga, and you will certainly feel so much better about yourself at the end of the day.

As you gain more self-esteem, you can gradually make these challenges, well, more challenging, so your accomplishments will be even more satisfactory.

❍ Reinforce a Good Self-Image with Affirmations

When you think of yourself, what feeling do you get first? Do you like yourself? What is the picture that flashes instantly when you think of “you“?

Start using Affirmations and strengthen your self-image. Read them on a constant basis and be persistent. Changing your perception for yourself and replacing your self-image with a new one, takes time and effort.

Say right now: “I know I am a worthwhile person! I believe in myself in my abilities. My self-confidence is high and I can do anything I want in life. People love me and respect me, and I nothing can stop me from becoming who I want to be!

❍ Explore Yourself

“Know thyself” is an old saying passed down through the ages, to encourage us to engage in self-exploration. Usually, the most well-adjusted and happiest people I meet are people who have gone through this exercise. It isn’t just about knowing your strengths and weaknesses, but also opening yourself up to new opportunities, new thoughts, trying out something new, new viewpoints, and new friendships.

Sometimes when we’re down on ourselves and our self-esteem has taken a big hit, we feel like we have nothing to offer the world or others. It may be that we simply haven’t found everything that we do have to offer — things we haven’t even considered or thought of yet. Learning what these are is simply a matter of trial and error. It’s how people become the people they’ve always wanted to become, by taking risks and trying things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.

❍ Do Something Nice for Yourself

Take time out for a little fun and self-congratulation. You deserve it!

Life should be filled with joyful moments. On top of that, as living, breathing human beings we all deserve to be acknowledged, appreciated and celebrated. Life gets busy for most of us as we juggle responsibilities and spend much of our time nurturing others. It is important that we each find the time to celebrate who we are, to honor ourselves for our efforts and triumphs, and to praise our resilience even during the hardest of times.

Doing something nice for yourself will make you feel better about who you are, which will certainly improve your self-esteem.

❍ Practice Laughing… at Yourself Also

Most of us know from experience that having a sense of humor about things can make life a little easier.

And there’s science to back that up: Being able to laugh at yourself may be a sign of an optimistic personality and a sense of humor, according to a small 2011 study, and it might even improve your mood. Humor has also been identified as a possible factor in the development of personal resilience.

“If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself,” Susan Sparks, author of “Laugh Your Way To Grace,” says. “And if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others.”

❍ Make a Self-Esteem Bucket

Another great self-esteem activity is the self-esteem bucket – one that you will definitely find both amusing and interesting, plus very inspiring.

Take a plastic bucket, and hammer in several nails into its bottom. Fill the bucket with water – that will be your self-esteem. Now start removing the nails – the hurtful comments or life experiences that have led you to have such a bad mental picture of yourself.

Once the bucket is completely empty, begin to brainstorm ways to plug the holes – and hence improve your self-esteem. For example, healthy exercise, a strong family, earning more money by starting a new business or working from home, working on your love life, and other activities you find pleasure in.

If you are wondering about it, the goal of this exercise is showing you what hurtful life experiences, and negative things others have said to you, can actually do to your self-esteem. Furthermore, it will show you that the only reasons why you question your worth as a person are those experiences and negative comments, which will certainly make you feel much better about yourself.

❍ Make a Contribution

Increasing your self-worth is a matter of what you do to be worthy in your own eyes – and there is no better way of improving self-esteem other than making a contribution.

For example, you may help clean up your neighborhood, or volunteer for a local cause.

If you are still in high school or at university, you might offer to help one of your classmates improve his grades, because yours certainly are. If you are good at something and know someone who would like to be too, give him a helping hand – he will surely appreciate your efforts, and you will feel worthier at the end of the day.

❍ Find a Hobby You Can Pursue Independently

Hobbies can help you enrich your creativity, and also improve your self-worth – so why not find one you can pursue independently, with no one to tell you what you are doing wrong?

If you are unsure of what hobby to go for, think about what you would like to do. Perhaps you love holding a digital camera in your hands and photographing wildlife, or various stances of urban living. Or maybe you like the thrills of treasure hunting with a metal detector?

Heck, it can be anything really! Anything that makes you feel good and passionate about it. The things that inspire you and fill you with enthusiasm. Just do it!

Once you start pursuing your hobby, you will soon be amazed by the many accomplishments you will have, which will make you proud of yourself, and will also improve your self-esteem.

❍ Use Positive Self-Talk

What would make you happy? A new wardrobe, a faster car, moving to a different city? People often think these things are the key to feeling good, but experts say only about 10% of a person’s happiness is related to them.

Much more happiness — 90% — has to do with your general outlook on life. You can learn a lot about your own worldview by paying attention to “self-talk” — the conversation you have in your head about yourself and the world around you. Even more important, changing how you talk to yourself can actually help shift your perspective, too. Here’s how.

While talking to yourself in the mirror might sound creepy, it can actually be an excellent self-esteem exercise to help you improve your mental image about yourself.

If you have a mirror in your bedroom, that is going to be even better, as you will not have to use the one in your bathroom. Find a moment when nobody else is at home, close the door of your bedroom, and stay in front of the mirror – now begin your positive self-talk session.

Give yourself all kinds of compliments, constructive critiques, and share your everyday experiences with yourself. Remind yourself of your accomplishments, of what worthy people have said good about you, and empower yourself with positive words.

Improvements Will Come in Small Steps

It is difficult to go from poor self-esteem to positive self-esteem overnight.

Instead, you will find you make small improvements over a period of time. Try and stay in touch with how you feel during the day.

Do you feel good about yourself? Why is that?

If you feel low and you sense negative thoughts running through your mind, ask yourself why this is the case. Half the battle to conquering poor self-esteem is to identify when and why you feel a certain way.