Improving self-esteem takes commitment and hard work.  However, the rewards are well worth the effort.  There are many different self-management techniques that can help you to change the way you see yourself. Here, we share our strategies to show you how to improve your self-esteem.

Our Top Tips For Increased Self Esteem

  • Be kind and nurturing to yourself.
  • Never compare yourself to others.
  • Use regular exercise to release endorphins and ‘happiness hormones’ like dopamine and serotonin.
  • Set achievable goals for yourself and check in with your progress regularly.
  • Practice self-forgiveness when you make mistakes.
  • Focus on the things that are within your control.
  • Schedule time for hobbies and the things you enjoy.
  • Celebrate your talents and victories, no matter how big or small.
  • Cultivate great friendships, and spend with your loved ones.
  • Choose your tribe wisely; surround yourself with supportive people.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is essentially the way you feel about yourself and your abilities. Important influences are your confidence levels, your sense of identity, and feelings of belonging. For many people, self-esteem levels can fluctuate.  The secret is finding a way to value your stability and happiness to such a degree that your self-esteem levels remain high.

Low self-esteem

Low self-esteem can be caused by feeling insecure about your abilities, your personality traits, or the way others feel about you. Low self-esteem can be caused by:

  • A lack of security
  • Doubts about your identity, ie. sexuality, gender.
  • A lack of belonging ie. feeling like you don’t belong with your family, friends, or colleagues.

Healthy self-esteem

Those with healthy self-esteem retain positive beliefs about their abilities and their place in the world. Feelings associated with healthy self-esteem are:

  • Confidence in your abilities.
  • A belief that you can create change and withstand challenges.
  • Pride in your own identity.
  • A strong sense of belonging.

What are the 4 components of self-esteem?

  • Four key attitudes impact self-esteem:
  • Confidence
  • Identity
  • Belonging
  • Self-assurance

What is Self-confidence?

Self-confidence is strongly linked to a sense of security. It is essential that as humans, we feel our needs are being met.  This means things like having a safe place to live, good health, and stable finances.  It is very hard to grow as a person when coming from a place of lack.


Those with a strong sense of identity understand who they are and what makes them tick. Areas we need to understand about ourselves include – cultural beliefs; workplace aspirations; sexuality.  By knowing who we are, we are able to develop and grow.


A sense of belonging is linked to feeling welcome and safe in our environment. It is about feeling as though we are an active part of our groups and communities.

Self Assurance

When we feel confident in our abilities, we feel more in control of our lives. This allows us to handle big challenges and make the changes we need to respond to them.  Confidence in our abilities allows us to learn from our mistakes and to be resilient when things do not go to plan.  Being able to learn from mistakes is an invaluable human quality.

Why is self-esteem important?

It is important to cultivate self-esteem because it provides an underlying foundation supporting everything we do, from the mundane to the extraordinary. Feelings associated with low self-esteem include:

  • Insecurity
  • A lack of motivation
  • Fear of change
  • Depression


To increase self-esteem:

  •     Exercise regularly
  •     Be kind to yourself
  •     Do work that you feel passionate about
  •     Surround yourself with people who inspire you
  •     Ensure your home is your sanctuary

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The Importance of Being Social

Have you ever felt lost, left out or lonely?

Have you felt like you are stuck in a maze and dark clouds are following you?

Have you experienced a sense of being isolated, estranged or alienated it felt like we were imprisoned in your space?

Loneliness was emphasized during the pandemic but loneliness was an issue way before we entered into lockdown in 2020.

In 2018, Theresa May stated, that loneliness is one of the greatest political challenges of our time. Back then GP’s said that between one and five people a day were suffering from loneliness which has been linked to a range of damaging health impacts like heart disease, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease.

We know social interaction is vital for our well-being.  We are social animals and we need social contact to thrive.  “No Man is an Island”, said John Donne back in the seventeenth century and it’s as true today as it was then.  Limiting social interaction can seriously impact our mood if we don’t consciously work to maintain that connection we will result in that sense of loneliness.

There are all kinds of small day-to-day interactions we don’t normally think about which give us a sense of connection, such as buying a coffee or going to the gym.  Some of us rely on these interactions for daily connection more than others and feel the impact of self-isolating much more than those who are able to maintain points of connection at home with their partner or family.

Loneliness is a growing epidemic in the UK with 2.4 million adults feeling lonely, according to data from The Office for National Statistics.  We now also know that loneliness is a growing health epidemic.  The University of Chicago found loneliness to be twice as bad for people’s health as obesity and almost as great a cause of death as poverty. A survey conducted by the American health insurer Cigna, found widespread loneliness with 54% of respondents saying they feel no one knows them well, and four in 10 reported they “lack companionship,” their “relationships aren’t meaningful” and they “are isolated from others.” The same study found that loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Loneliness isn’t simply about being on our own – some people are happy alone and we all enjoy a bit of solitude from time to time. It’s also not about the number of people you know, it’s about the strength of those connections.  In fact, the Harvard Study of Adult Development, the longest longitudinal study of what makes a good life spanning 80 years showed that the single most important factor in leading a healthy, happy life was the quality of our relationships.

So what can we do if we find ourselves swept up in the loneliness epidemic? Firstly, seek out other people like yourself.  There are so many tools now for finding people with shared interests be it cycling, hiking or bog diving! If one group doesn’t work for you persistently try another. Kindness goes a long way – we all have the power to offer generosity of spirit to all we come into contact with.  It’s an attractive quality that pulls people in like a magnet.  And of course, let’s not forget, come and join us for the next Pi social!

People in the Exeter and Plymouth areas who are alone and looking for a long-term partner can benefit from Pi Society’s expert advice and assistance with dating. “We provide human intelligence as well as digital matching and offer a personalised and proven approach to finding potential compatible partners,” explains Nicky Dunn, Pi Society CEO.

Pi Society’s extensive social events calendar is the perfect antidote to loneliness. As well as monthly singles evenings, there are food and drink masterclasses, supper nights, book club nights hosted by authors, comedy nights and guided walks/lunches, cycle rides, theatre nights and other activites. Focusing on inclusion and fun, new members are welcomed by Pi Society team members and introduced to new people.

Nicky’s top 5 Tips to start to overcome loneliness by yourself

  1. Change the name of loneliness to a sense of freedom. Or a word you like it to be! Changing the word brings us to look at the experience differently.
  2. Go back to doing things you love. Maybe its stuff you have not done since you were a child.
  3. Go back to a beautiful memory and play that memory as a movie in your head. To bring up good feelings in your body.
  4. Set yourself small things or a purpose to achieve each day.
  5. Learn something new or do something new.

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Are you always the one who’s doing her best to make sure everyone else is happy and comfortable?

Do you like to find consensus rather than impose your opinion on others?

Are you good at providing sympathy to a friend in need?

Some would say you’re a “people pleaser” but I don’t like this term because it sounds like a criticism. But what you are is high in the personality factor “Agreeableness”.

Agreeableness is one of the factors in the Big 5 factor personality model. Personality psychologists generally agree that the Big 5 model is by far the most reliable and accurate method for measuring personality over the lifetime, as compared with Myers Briggs and others you might have come across.

Anyway, if you’re high in “Agreeableness” what does this mean?

It means you’re likely good at seeing other people’s points of view and then acting on that. Agreeableness is all about empathy, trust, and consensus seeking. You’ll tend to be helpful and kind. Quick to forgive, slow to get angry and you hardly ever fall out with people.

People high in Agreeableness tend to be pretty nice, all in all.

And women tend, on average, to have higher scores than men.

And for the record – if you ARE high in agreeableness – no I don’t think you’re TOO nice.

Being highly Agreeable is great. Agreeable people tend to have the most harmonious relationships.

IF they get together with a highly Agreeable partner.

And this is the crux of it. As someone with a high Agreeableness score, you need to have the right kind of partner to be able to thrive.

It’s kind of like the hawks and doves you get in game theory, if you’re familiar with that. Hawks exploit others for their own gain, while doves cooperate. In game theory you generally get the highest score as an individual, the best outcome, if you cooperate with another co-operator.

So we can imagine potential partners as hawks or doves then. It’s pretty rubbish for two hawks together – maybe it was like that for Johnny Depp and Amber Herd – both attacking each other.

Then if you have a hawk and a dove together – the hawk wins and takes all while the dove loses out – in that case it’s rubbish to be a dove.

But if you get two doves together then things are pretty wonderful because they’re both being nice and supportive to each other and both invested in their relationship – so in that case it’s great to be a dove.

So the bottom line is, agreeable dove people need to make sure they find other doves to be with!

Unfortunately though a lot of us get attracted to men who are hawks. Men who are dominant, have high status, a good salary or a high level of wealth.

Guys don’t get money and status by being highly agreeable dove types. They need to be less empathetic and more ruthless for that to happen.

So, for example, a study of male business executives found that their score on agreeableness negatively predicted their income, and how quickly they climbed up through the company ranks, and how high up the ranks they got. So male bosses, at least, tended to be at the lower end of agreeableness. In the competition for status and money, nice guys finish last

This is ONE of the reasons men tend to be less agreeable than women. Being nice is more costly for them in terms of being attractive to the opposite sex.

But if you are highly agreeable but your partner isn’t, because you’ve chosen a dominant, high status guy – if they’re more focussed on their own needs, they’re less empathetic and more ruthless – this is where you end up in a relationship where you get taken advantage of.

It’s a bummer, but it’s the truth – you can’t get everything in one man!

There are trade-offs to be made.

To have a highly agreeable partner, to have a NICE guy, you might have to accept that they’re going to be less competitive and might not have high status.

There are pros and cons with all personality scores. You have to decide what’s most important for YOU.

I’d suggest if you yourself have a high Agreeableness score, this means that your ideal trade-off in a partner moves towards the “nice guy-with-potentially-lower-status” end of the spectrum.

So this means looking for a guy who’s kind, considerate, looks out for others. Someone who’s nice to people, even when he thinks you’re not looking.

And you also want a guy who has a high welfare trade-off ratio skewed in your favour – and that’s what you’re likely to find in a guy with high agreeableness. So what I mean by this is he’s inclined to make sacrifices to his own wellbeing to increase yours.

A friend of mine told me about something her lovely guy does that demonstrates this high welfare trade off ratio concept well. She was telling me about how, on cold winter nights, he would lie on her side of the bed to warm it up before she got in. That’s nice. Obviously a small thing, but that tendency will play out in situations across the board, and if you can both be looking out for each other like this, then obviously that will be a great relationship to have.

So there are pros and cons of high agreeableness in a partner, but when it comes to long term relationship satisfaction, high agreeableness wins out without a doubt.

And if you’re a super-nice person yourself – that makes it all the more important, and beneficial to find a guy who’s nice too.

So… before you go bending over backwards to please your dates or prospective partners, pleeeze make sure they’ve got what it takes to give you the relationship you need to be happy.

Good luck x

Dr Mairi Macleod is a behavioural scientist and helps women over 50 to find the man they need for the relationship they want. For more on her work and her programs, head over to

And you can book a complementary call with Mairi to chat about your dating challenges and she’ll give you personalised advice you can put into action right away!
Book a free call here:

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