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Red Deer College

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Counselling Services

Counselling services and supports are inclusive, confidential, and available to all RDC students free of charge.

Self-Image & Self-Improvement

Self-esteem is how you value and respect yourself as a person. It is the opinion we develop about ourselves in terms of our ability to meet the challenges of life and achieve happiness and success. Self-esteem impacts how you take care of yourself, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. 

Individuals with high self-esteem value themselves, act independently, assume responsibility for their lives and their choices, and appreciate their strengths and abilities, and accomplishments. People with low self-esteem tend to constantly fear rejection, can be passive in their interactions with others, and blame others for their problems of challenges they face. 

Improving Your Self-Esteem

Image of The Cognitive Triangle; Thoughts, emotions, and behaviour.

The first step in improving self-esteem is to challenge the negative thoughts and messages inside your head. Are the messages logical, realistic, or non-judgmental? The answer is likely no. You are responsible for your thoughts, so halt these negative thoughts by replacing them with more positive ones.  

The second step includes practicing self-compassion. Try to nurture yourself by feeding your soul, mind, and body in ways that make you feel special (eg. Treating yourself to your favourite cup of coffee or taking time to relax). A step further would be to discover and pursue some of your passions that spark your spirit. Set a few manageable goals and keep track of your progress to boost motivation and build self-esteem. It is important to also be mindful of your emotions- Take control of your emotions in a balanced way, instead of being overwhelmed by them. Learn ways to manage and cope with stress, anxiety, fear, and guilt.  

The third step is to reach out. There is no reason to feel ashamed or feel like you don't deserve help. Ask for support from those you trust personally and professionally. You will get a chance to share, hear other perspectives, and be reminded of what is great about you. This will set the path of getting the help you need.  

It is never too late to feel good about yourself. We need to be able to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses while at the same time be accepting of who we are (Marbella International University Centre, 2017). 

Helpful Resources

 Build Self-Esteem

Use these various strategies to help build healthy self-esteem.

 Self-Esteem Affirmations

Use these self-affirmations to encourage yourself to think positively about the important things in your life. 

 Thinking About Thinking; Cognitive Thinking Distortions 

View common cognitive thinking distortions that can contribute to negative emotions. These emotions fuel catastrophic thinking patterns that are can be disabling. Try to identify distortions that are familiar to you, so that you begin to re-frame those thoughts.

Everybody is beautiful in their own way.

Body image is the personal relationship one has with their body, which may or may not be realistic to how one appears. It includes mental perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, and feelings about one's physical appearance. Body image is subject to many kinds of distortion and dissatisfaction is common as it affects 90% of women and 50% of men (EDNA, 2020).

 

10 Steps to Positive Body Image

Image says "Love your body because you only have one".One list cannot automatically tell you how to turn negative body thoughts into positive body image, but it can introduce you to healthier ways of looking at yourself and your body. The more you practice these new thought patterns, the better you will feel about who you are and the body you naturally have.

Appreciate all that your body can do. 

Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you—running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, etc.

Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself.

Things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Read your list often. Add to it as you become aware of more things to like about yourself.

Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin-deep. 

When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.

Look at yourself as a whole person. 

When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts. See yourself as you want others to see you — as a whole person.

Surround yourself with positive people. 

It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are.

Shut down those voices in your head. 

Shut down voices that tell you your body is not right or that you are a bad person. You can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones. The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.

Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body.

Work with your body, not against it.

Become a critical viewer of social and media messages. 

Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Protest these messages: write a letter to the advertiser or talk back to the image or message.

Do something nice for yourself.

Do something that lets your body know you appreciate it. Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, or find a peaceful place outside to relax.

Limit time spend worrying.

Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others. Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world (EDNA, 2020).

Helpful Resources

 Body Activism Activity Guide

A body confidence and self-esteem toolkit for young adults to promote body acceptance and prevent the onset of eating disorders. 

 Body Image

Understand how body image develops, ways to improve your body image, and challenge assumptions we make about appearance. 

Anger is a perfectly healthy human emotion and one that we need to manage threatening situations. Everyone experiences anger in different ways depending on individual differences, life experiences and their personal beliefs and world view. Some people find that their anger has caused them serious problems as they feel unable to control it or behave in an aggressive manner. Anger management strategies can be helpful for students who meet a variety of frustrations and challenges as part of their post-secondary experience (Help Guide, 2019).

Coping with Anger

Image depicts how to manage your angerExplore what’s really behind your anger. 

Have you ever gotten into an argument over something silly? Big fights often happen over something small, like a dish left out or being ten minutes late. But there’s usually a bigger issue behind it. If you find your irritation and anger rapidly rising, ask yourself, “What am I really angry about?” Identifying the real source of frustration will help you communicate your anger better, take constructive action, and work towards a resolution. 

Be aware of your anger warning signs. 

While you might feel that you just explode into anger without warning, there are in fact physical warning signs in your body. Becoming aware of your own personal signs that your temper is starting to boil allows you to take steps to manage your anger before it gets out of control. 

Identify your triggers. 

Stressful events don’t excuse anger, but understanding how these events affect you can help you take control of your environment and avoid unnecessary aggravation. Look at your regular routine and try to identify activities, times of day, people, places, or situations that trigger irritable or angry feelings. 

Learn ways to cool down quickly. 

Once you know how to recognize the warning signs that your temper is rising and anticipate your triggers, you can act quickly to deal with your anger before it spins out of control. Browse the resources below for many techniques that can help you cool down and keep your anger in check. 

Find healthier ways to express your anger. 

If you’ve decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. 

Stay calm by taking care of yourself. 

Taking care of your overall mental and physical wellbeing can help ease tension and diffuse anger problems. Practice self-care and coping mechanisms that are helpful to you. 

Use humor to relieve tension. 

When things get tense, humor and playfulness can help you lighten the mood, smooth over differences, reframe problems, and keep things in perspective. When you feel yourself getting angry in a situation, try using a little lighthearted humor 

Recognize if you need professional help. 

If, despite putting these previous anger management techniques into practice, your anger is still spiraling out of control, or if you’re getting into trouble with the law or hurting others, you need more help (Help Guide, 2019).

Helpful Resources

 Coping With Anger Toolkit

This free toolkit offers strategies to cope with anger and tools to manage negative emotions that arise. 

 Anger Management Handout

This handout defines anger, discusses ways to manage your anger, and change your thinking paterns. 

 Emotional Intelligence Toolkit

This free program offers tools for managing stress and emotions, improving your relationships, and brightening your life. 

National Eating Disorder Awareness

Resources and information dedicated to advancing the field of eating disorders and building a community of support and hope.