How To Improve Self Esteem With Depression

Depression can be a challenging condition to manage, particularly when it comes to self-esteem. Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness can quickly turn into a vicious cycle that negatively impacts how you view yourself. However, there are steps you can take to improve your self-esteem and boost your mood. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to improve self-esteem with depression.

Understand depression and self-esteem

Before delving into the specifics of how to improve self-esteem with depression, it is important to understand the relationship between the two. Depression can impact your self-esteem in several ways. Firstly, depression can reduce your motivation and energy levels, making it challenging to engage in activities that boost self-esteem. Secondly, depression can lead to negative self-talk, where you ruminate on self-blame and self-criticism, leading to further damage to self-esteem.

Therefore, a key part of improving self-esteem with depression is learning to recognize and control negative self-talk. It can also help to understand that depression is an illness, and your negative self-image is a symptom of this illness. With time, treatment, and persistence, it is possible to manage the symptoms of depression and improve your self-esteem.

Create realistic goals

Creating realistic goals is an essential part of improving self-esteem, providing a sense of accomplishment and pride. With depression, it’s essential to set achievable goals that can be accomplished in small steps. For example, instead of aiming to climb Mt. Everest, set goals that are more achievable, such as taking a short walk or spending time with friends. Gradually increasing the complexity and duration of goals can help you feel more confident and improve your self-esteem with time.

Focus on positive self-talk

Negative self-talk can easily spiral out of control with depression, leading to a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness. By focusing on positive self-talk, you can reframe your negative self-image, leading to improved self-esteem. Start by identifying negative self-talk, such as saying “I’m not good enough” or “I always fail,” and replace it with positive self-statements. For example, say “I did my best,” or “I can handle this.” It can take time to retrain your brain, so be patient and consistent.


Self-care is a critical component of managing depression and improving self-esteem. Self-care refers to any activity that helps you relax, rejuvenate, and nurture your physical and emotional wellbeing. For example, it could be taking a bath, practicing yoga, reading a book or journaling. Self-care helps to reduce stress, increase resilience, and improve your self-esteem. Make self-care a priority, scheduling time for it throughout the week.

Focus on what you can control

Depression can make everything feel out of control, leading to feelings of helplessness and worthlessness. It’s essential to focus on what you can control, such as your thoughts, feelings, and actions. You can’t control everything, but you can control your responses to it. For example, you can’t control what others say or do, but you can control how you react to it. Focusing on what you can control helps you feel more confident and empowered, leading to improved self-esteem over time.

Challenging negative beliefs

Negative beliefs can significantly impact self-esteem, leading to self-criticism and self-doubt. However, challenging these beliefs can help improve self-esteem. Start by identifying negative beliefs, such as “I’m a failure” or “I’m not good enough.” Then, question the evidence that supports these beliefs. Often, negative beliefs are not grounded in reality, but rather distorted thinking. Finally, reframe these beliefs into something more positive and realistic. It can take time to challenge negative beliefs, so be patient and persistent.


Therapy can be an effective way to manage depression and improve self-esteem. Therapy provides a safe and supportive environment to explore your thoughts and feelings, gain new perspectives and learn new skills. A therapist can help you identify negative self-talk, challenge negative beliefs and develop coping strategies. Therapy can be delivered in different formats, such as individual sessions, group therapy or online therapy, providing flexibility and accessibility.

Finding Support

Depression can be an isolating condition, leading to loneliness, further exacerbating symptoms. Finding support can be an essential component of improving self-esteem with depression. Support can come in different forms, such as friends, family, support groups or online forums. Connecting with others who have similar experiences can provide a sense of belonging and understanding, reducing feelings of isolation and improving self-esteem.


Depression and low self-esteem can be challenging conditions to manage, but it is possible to improve self-esteem with time, effort, and persistence. Creating realistic goals, focusing on positive self-talk, practicing self-care, and challenging negative beliefs are just some of the strategies that can help improve self-esteem. Finding support through therapy or connecting with others can also be an essential component of managing depression and improving self-esteem. Remember that depression is an illness, and negative self-image is a symptom of this illness. With time and treatment, it is possible to manage the symptoms of depression and improve your self-esteem.


FAQ 1: What are some practical tips to improve self-esteem with depression?

Answer: Some practical tips to improve self-esteem with depression include setting achievable goals, focusing on positive self-talk and self-care, challenging negative thoughts, surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people, and seeking professional help if needed.

FAQ 2: How does depression impact self-esteem?

Answer: Depression can have a significant impact on self-esteem, causing individuals to experience feelings of worthlessness, shame, and self-doubt. These negative thoughts and emotions can impact nearly all areas of life, from relationships to work to personal wellbeing.

FAQ 3: Can improving self-esteem help improve symptoms of depression?

Answer: Yes, improving self-esteem can help improve symptoms of depression. When individuals value themselves and have a positive view of themselves, they are more likely to engage in positive activities and interactions, leading to improved mood and functioning. However, it’s important to note that improving self-esteem should be a part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes therapy and other interventions.


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3. Fennig, S., & Hadas-Lidor, N. (2019). The Effect of Physical Exercise on Self-Esteem in Depressed Patients: A Pilot Study. Mental Health & Physical Activity, 17, 100305.