Written by Karl Perera, MA, DipLC
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As an experienced teacher, I have often wondered how to help students to build their self esteem. Self-esteem activities can be used in the classroom with all age groups. In the book I published in 2009, Self esteem Secrets: 12 Steps to Success, I include some very effective activities you can use to build your self esteem and confidence. Some of those I will include here, as well as other new ones. As a life coach I use activities to help clients build confidence, and as a former sufferer of low self esteem I have used many different activities myself that helped me. I know what works and what doesn’t.
On this page we will discuss how certain self esteem activities can help you and the best way to use them. I’ll tell you why they work and we will also look at ideas from others that you might also try. So, whether you are a teacher, student, coach, counsellor or just someone interested in the topic, you will find some useful ideas and help here.
A variety of self esteem activities can help children, adults, students and those in all walks of life. These activities include the use of art, music, journaling etc. Leisure activities are particularly helpful, but whatever activity is chosen the participant must have commitment to the task.
To help you discover which self esteem activities may be the most helpful for you, it will be necessary to first help you understand the principles of these activities and of the nature of self-esteem itself. We’ll start there and then I will suggest some very beneficial activities you can try out.
Which Self Esteem Activities are Best for You?
Here is a useful table to choose the kind of self esteem building activities suitable for different groups of people:
|Kind of Activity||Who is it for?|
|Leisure activities||All **|
|Social activities with work colleagues or family members||Women**|
|Activities done on one’s own||Men**|
How Leisure Activities Can Boost Self Esteem
Anything that interests you and that you would enjoy spending your free time doing is a good candidate for an activity that could help you towards personal growth and confidence.
I particularly recommend activities that involve a challenge and require learning.
Learning is a lifelong pursuit that can improve how you feel about life and may enable you to get more enjoyment from the world around you. If your learning involves investigation and research into something that you find fascinating or that you have always wondered about, then all the better. Learning involves self-discovery.
Your emotions have to be part of the process of learning and remembering. If they’re not, the information won’t be yours and won’t become a part of who you are.Exploringyourmind.com (2020) source
Find something that you are curious to learn more about and, as the above quote shows, if learning is part of an activity you want to start or do more of, then take up the challenge today!
A Hobby I Started Involving Learning
In the summer of 2020 I took up something I had wanted to do since childhood. I always wanted a telescope to see the stars and planets. I had a small one as a teenager but couldn’t really see anything with that. I decided to just buy a powerful telescope and get started. I didn’t imagine how challenging it would be and to what lengths I would go to progress. I started by realising that I couldn’t see much in my telescope but it is possible to photograph amazing scenes from space with some equipment. I started researching and then I put my knowledge into action. I found out that there were things to photograph I never knew was there. I started to research how to photograph in the dark with a DSLR camera. I had to learn about photography, about how a telescope works, about space and the universe. I learnt from doing and by seeking answers to the problems I encountered.
Soon I was photographing the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn and then Nebulae and even Galaxies!
I learnt how to stack many images on my laptop and how to edit them in programs like Photoshop.
It has been an amazing adventure so far and enables me to learn more about the universe and about myself. If you’d like to learn more about how I am progressing in my hobby check out my blog called Astro Imagery.
I do feel that this activity has benefitted my self esteem and given me new skills and confidence to grow. You can do the same with any activity you choose to take up, as long as you are motivated to learn more.
Self Esteem Activity 1
Ask yourself – what would you like to learn more about? What are you curious about? Do you have an interest that you would love to explore?
If you can think of something when answering these questions then check if this idea excites you enough that you would be prepared to learn about it and get started doing this activity or hobby.
Please choose something you are or will be passionate about. Something that is suitable for you and that could become part of who you are. If it is challenging, involves learning and excites you then it has the potential to help boost your self esteem and create a new confidence within you.
Start to research ideas and start to learn about this new interest today. You can at least get started on this right away to see if your idea is for you or not. If it isn’t, choose something else. A healthy interest in learning and doing will go a long way to improving your mental health and overall life satisfaction.
The Benefits of Sports Activities on Self Esteem
There is a large amount of research that indicates that sports can have a positive impact on a person’s self esteem and so any activity that involves sports can boost self esteem and confidence.
This study found that younger girls between 9 and 12 experience a positive effect on their self esteem when doing physical activity such as sports. However, it is shown in the study that girls of this age have difficulty in getting the physical activity necessary and this can cause low self esteem.
It is not only young girls that benefit from sports. In the 1989 Chrysler-Fund Amateur Athletic Union 10-year Study on boys and girls aged 10-17, almost 60% of teachers involved in the study claimed that students improved their self esteem as a result of the sport activity and that this was the biggest benefit they witnessed. Other studies that agree that sport can help to increase self esteem include Haugen et al. (2011) who study adolescents, and this study on adults.
Therefore, one of the best self esteem activities would involve some form of sports participation.
Self Esteem Activity 2
Think of a sport that you would really like to take up again or try for the first time. It should be something that you are excited about doing and that will help you feel good about yourself. If you cannot do an outside sport right now, then what could you do indoors? Any physical activity you enjoy would be a great choice.
Now that you have chosen the activity, plan how you can get started. When will you do it? Can you do it alone or do you need others? Make a move now to plan your first session.
Possible suggestions you might consider include include yoga, fitness training, zumba, water sports, or sports like badminton or tennis.
The Benefits of Volunteering
Activities involving volunteering seem to benefit the volunteer psychologically. According to this study, volunteering improves personal well-being which includes life satisfaction and self esteem. Other benefits documented in this study were that volunteers experienced more optimism and felt more in control of their lives. These are all positive factors which can aid increased self esteem.
It is possibly the social aspect that helps volunteering to be of so much benefit to the volunteer. However, the moral aspect of helping others is also something that can boost self esteem (Wilson, 2000). Beyond self esteem the positive effects of volunteering on the volunteer includes improved satisfaction with life.
Too many people who suffer from low self esteem and are looking for ways to boost their confidence get trapped into focusing on themselves and looking inward. It is as if they believe that their low self esteem is a result of something within themselves that they need to “fix”. This is not normally true. Building self esteem is about taking steps to interact in a more positive way with the world and with those around them.
One of the best ways to build self esteem is to help others. Volunteering, as we have seen, has many benefits for both the receiver of the help and for the giver. In the same way, any form of helping others provides mutual benefits for both parties. Try changing your focus from yourself and your imagined problems to helping others with theirs.
This brings us to another valuable self esteem activity you can try.
Self Esteem Activity 3
Take some time to think about how you could help others. What would you like to do that could help others? What gifts do you have that you could share with others? Would you like to support others or teach them?
Think about one step you can take today, or as soon as possible, to volunteer or to start helping others. Get started!
Whatever self esteem activity you choose to do from this page, I’d love to know how you get on and what benefits you see including with your level of self esteem. have these activities helped you? If so, email me and let me know how helpful these activities have been for you.
Before You Go….Here’s Something Else for Your Confidence
Go grab a copy of my hour-long Audio A More Confident You. It contains my best tips and includes many more activities to build your self esteem. Instant download and a very special price. It’s worth every penny!
- Exploringyourmind.com. (2020). Meaningful Learning: The Value of Learning by Doing. https://exploringyourmind.com/meaningful-learning-the-value-of-learning-by-doing/
- Haugen, T., Säfvenbom, R., & Ommundsen, Y. (2011). Physical activity and global self-worth: The role of physical self-esteem indices and gender. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 4(2), 49-56.
- Jaffee, L., & Manzer, R. (1992). Girls’ Perspectives: Physical Activity and Self-Esteem. Melpomene Journal, 11(3), 14-23.
- McAuley, E., Blissmer, B., Katula, J., Duncan, T. E., & Mihalko, S. L. (2000). Physical activity, self-esteem, and self-efficacy relationships in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 22(2), 131-139.
- Mellor, D., Hayashi, Y., Firth, L., Stokes, M., Chambers, S., & Cummins, R. (2008). Volunteering and well-being: Do self-esteem, optimism, and perceived control mediate the relationship?. Journal of Social Service Research, 34(4), 61-70.
- Perera, K. (2013). Self Esteem Secrets: 12 Steps to Success. Motivational Press. https://books.google.com.tr/books/about/Self_Esteem_Secrets.html?id=jGLTnQEACAAJ
- Reitzes, D. C., Mutran, E. J., & Verrill, L. A. (1995). Activities and self-esteem: Continuing the development of activity theory. Research on aging, 17(3), 260-277.
- Wilson, J. (2000). Volunteering. Annual review of sociology, 26(1), 215-240.
Website Author and Your Guide
Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA), and author of the book Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 since suffering from low self esteem for more than 25 years overcoming it in his thirties.