Five Self-Esteem Strategies for Students p2

By · August 14, 2009 · Filed in life skills

The rigors of school present can present many complex and unique challenges for today’s students. Maintaining a balance between the burdens of course work and the social demands of peers can be extremely difficult no matter who you are.  Consequently, within this challenging environment, the necessity for creating and sustaining healthy self-esteem takes on significant importance.

Low self-esteem, whether stemming from poor grades or a lack of popularity, can be a very serious issue.  Studies show that students with an unhealthy self image are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol and using illicit drugs.  If the condition is not addressed, students may present with symptoms of anxiety and depression, develop physical ailments, and even contemplate suicide.

The enormous pressures that youths face on a daily basis can accumulate and often seem unbearable. To weather this storm, it is crucial that students develop ways to maintain a healthy self image—to build their self-esteem.  The first part of this series discussed the first two tips you can use to create and maintain a healthy self-image. Below are three more tips you can use to construct and nourish more positive self-esteem:

3.  Create a Network of “True” Friends

If your current network of friends includes people you feel you need to impress or who pressure you to act in ways you ordinarily wouldn’t, you may want to reconsider your affiliation.  Trying to be someone you’re not, just for the sake of popularity, is unhealthy and unnecessary.  It can cause anxiety and your feelings of self-worth may suffer.  You should never have to try that hard.

True friends are the ones you can always count on to be there for you.  They are the people that enrich your life, not by how they look or what they wear, but by their loyalty and integrity.  You rely upon them to help celebrate your success and for a sympathetic ear in times of affliction.  Having people in your life that help motivate you towards triumph, and cushion the blow when you when you fall, will do a world of good for your self-esteem.

4.  Be Honest and Keep Your Word

Have you ever told a lie and then, when you thought it may come to light, told another just to protect the first?  If you answered no, I congratulate you, but if you answered in the affirmative, rest assured, you are in the majority.

How did these lies make you feel?  A bit stressed? Anxious? I’m guessing they did.  These “little white lies” may seem harmless on the surface, but they can create tribulations for you down the road.

The problem is, while trying to juggle these minor inconsistencies, told, perhaps, to escape an obligation or appear more popular, you are elevating your level of stress, which can in turn damage your self-esteem.

The truth, however, has dual benefits.  As the American Playwright David Mamet once quipped, “Always tell the truth—it’s the easiest thing to remember.”  Well said.  When you tell the truth, you never have to get your story straight.  Also, while the truth is not always convenient, it will, at the very least, bolster your sense of integrity.  Tell the truth and keep your word.  You may not always be popular, but you will be respected.

5.  Take Time for Gratitude

When you truly appreciate just how special and how unique you are, it can feel very powerful.  You feel like you can accomplish anything.  But there is another emotion, one equally powerful, that is perhaps even more significant—the feeling of gratitude, expressed to those who helped to shape you.

Remember, you didn’t become who you are without help, and taking time to give regular thanks for the blessings in your life will help unlock a spiritual lift that will forever sustain you.

Comments

Russ, great article! I love the “true” friends point…sometimes we have to “weed” our circle of friends and commit to spending time with only those people that are truly uplifting. Hope you’re doing great.

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