NHS Lothian

Tips and resources for improving your self-esteem

2 min read

There are lots of things you can do to improve your self-esteem. Try these helpful tips:

  1. Get positive. Write a list of things you like about yourself and forgive yourself when you can’t get everything right.
  2. Take care of yourself. Try to get enough sleep, eat well, take some exercise and take care of your personal hygiene. Plan fun and relaxing things for yourself.
  3. Fight your “inner critic.” Challenge the way you talk to yourself by asking “what says my thoughts are right?”
  4. Don’t avoid things. You’ll never know if you could have done something well or if you could have coped. Make a plan. Start with small goals. Try out new things or restart old hobbies.
  5. Recognise the value of being assertive. Learning to be assertive can have a positive impact on relationships and your wellbeing. Try talking assertively in front of the mirror or practise with a friend. Remember to be aware of your body language and your tone. You might not get it right straight away, but be patient and allow yourself to make mistakes.
  6. Be open and honest about how you feel and what you think. If you want something, ask for it, rather than waiting for someone to notice.
  7. Get help from others. Ask someone you trust to tell you what they like about you and what you’re good at. You might be surprised at what they say!

There are also lots of other things that can help you increase your self-esteem. We recommend that you have a look at the following self-help tools:

Websites and online resources:

  • NHS Inform provides a good source of evidence-based information about a range of mental health problems 
  • Mind provides advice and support for anyone experience a mental health problem. It has a range of reliable information on the help and support available for people with low self-esteem 
  • Wellbeing Glasgow  offers a range of useful and informative resources available for anyone to download from their website. There is a specific section on self-esteem. 

Podcasts & Blogs:

For inspiring talks on improving self-esteem and self-confidence, visit or search:   

  • Radio Headspace – https://play.acast.com/s/headspace 
  • How to fail with Elizabeth Day – https://play.acast.com/s/how-to-fail1 
  • TED Talks – Cultivating unconditional self-worth by Aida Gooden 
  • TED Talks – The space between self-esteem and self compassion by Kristin Neff
  • TED Talks – Your body language shapes who you are by Amy Cuddy 


Self-help guides: 

  • An NHS self-help guide for improving self-esteem. Available here  
  • A self-help guide to help improve self-esteem issues from Wellbeing Glasgow. Available here  
  • The Centre for Clinical Interventions is an Australian website which provides a series of self-help information and worksheets that you can work through. The booklets are organised into modules that you can work through one-by-one. The modules provide information about low self-esteem, how it develops, how it is maintained and strategies to help you start to improve your self-esteem. Available here  


  • Overcoming low self-esteem: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioural therapy techniques by Melanie Fennell 
  • Manage your mind: the mental fitness guide by Gillian Butler and Tony Hope 
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