Increasing Self Esteem in Teenagers Using NLP
“Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table. It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness.”
– Louise Hart, Community Psychologist
It’s a difficult time being a teenager in this day and age. Teenagers see images of celebrities such as Victoria and David Beckham in the media, and they may start to compare themselves to them. Their bodies go through radical change, with this comes the various hormonal fluctuations. It is a time when facial spots are more prevalent and they are getting more self-conscious. Teenagers are prone to being teased and bullied, by their peers, for being spotty or being overweight.
Teenagers with low self-esteem are more likely to get involved in drugs, girls with lower self-esteem are more likely to be promiscuous. Boys tend not talk about issues they may have and bottle it up, which can make things worse. When things do get worse, teenagers sometimes turn to self-harm, overdose and in some cases attempt suicide. A boy in Portsmouth, last year, committed suicide by throwing himself onto the train-tracks.
The cause of self-esteem can be down to attitudes of teachers and non-supportive parents, peer pressure and myriad of other things. Some teenagers think they are being playful i.e. having a ‘joke’, but to the sensitive recipient with low self-esteem this may spiral them down further and in some cases it can lead to depression. Teenagers with low self-esteem sometimes fail to even try, because they don’t believe in themselves. Low self-esteem in teenagers can result in a lack of self-belief and confidence.
Self-esteem is lot to do with our self-image and how we view and value ourselves, our self-worth. Also, it’s how we perceive others value us. How teenagers view their body image can affect their self-esteem and determine whether they feel attractive to others. High self-esteem in teenagers is important, because it allows them to feel good about themselves. They are more realistic and find it easier to find friends that like and appreciate them for who they are. They generally feel more in control of their lives.
The good news is that self-esteem is not a static gauge of how you’re feeling and teenagers are able to increase their self-esteem using a number of simple techniques. Generally, all NLP techniques are really just about ‘Reframing’ the perceived problem. That is seeing the problem in a new and more resourceful way. The problem may still exist, but the meaning is different and this new way of thinking can empower the teenager to feel more resourceful and have more choice. When they are more resourceful, they are more able to participate, have better relationships, feel more confident and are free to enjoy life more.
A teenager could say: “My parents always interfere in my business”
This can be reframed to: “Your parents would like to protect you from harm”.
In this reframe example, there is a positive intention behind the behavior.
Mistakes should be ‘Reframed’ as learning opportunities. Accepting that everyone makes mistakes at some point, teenagers should view mistakes are part of the learning process. Teenagers should be remind themselves that a person’s abilities are constantly developing, and some people are better at some things than others.
An Attitude of Gratitude:
Generally you get more of what you focus on. Be grateful for what you have. Teenagers can make a list of all the things they are grateful for. This can make a positive difference to how they feel. Things that are possibly good in their lives, for example supportive family, good friends they may have, experiences they’ve had, places they’ve been.
Teenagers should remember and celebrate their previous accomplishments and they should give themselves permission to bask in their own glory. Keeping a diary of accomplishments can help enormously.
Get them to imagine a scenario where they are preparing for a meeting with a journalist about their lifetime accomplishments starting when they were young. Have them imagine that they are sitting down at a table as they write down all their accomplishments. Have them now imagine floating out of the their body and standing behind a glass wall watching themselves writing their accomplishments. Then have them imagine someone whom they love and whom admires them, standing by their side, whilst they continue watching together. Next have them step into the body of the person who loves and respects them. They should notice the good feelings they feel and allow these good feelings to spread through every part of their body.
Positive Power Affirmations:
Having positive thoughts can make a massive difference to empowering beliefs. The use of Affirmations, are very simple to use, and yet are very powerful. For example, “I am hard working”, “I have strong legs”, “I am good at football”, “I am attractive” and so on. These affirmations said regularly can help to improve self-esteem. As they seep deep inside the subconscious mind.
The NLP Communication model shows how the brain filters information coming in through our sensors, by the way of generalizing, deleting and distorting. For instance a generalization a teenager may say, “I always do the wrong thing”. This would just make the teenager feel bad about them selves. This is most probably a gross generalisation. A better thing to say would be “I sometimes make mistakes, but, when I do I always learn from them”. There is strong connection between the way we think and the way we feel. The above are just a few techniques that can help teenagers think differently and positively at a more subconscious level and therefore improve their self-esteem and their experience in the world.
If you have a teenager that could benefit from the help of a therapist to improve their self-esteem or if you’re concerned about your teenager’s self-esteem, you can talk to one of our therapists. They are located in Portsmouth and elsewhere around the UK, providing workshops and one to one therapy.