Belonging To Groups Boosts Your Self-Esteem More Than Having Friends Does, New Study Says, And Other Proven Things That Give You Confidence

According to a new study the ticket to boosting your self-esteem is about how many groups you belong to, not how many friends you have. Yes, fellow loners of the world, the reason your self-esteem might be in the toilet is because you, like me, cringe and back away slowly from anything involving being part of a group. In fact, you can have all the friends in the world, and if you don’t have memberships to various groups, then things in your life are liable to feel lackluster ― apparently having a membership to Netflix doesn’t count, which makes ZERO sense to me.

The study by researchers at the University of Kansas and University of Queensland examined various groups ― school kids, old folks, and former homeless people ― to see what affect, if any, a group situation has on people. What they found was that as long as the group contributes to a person’s self-identity and sense of self, their self-esteem greatly benefits. According to lead author Jolanda Jetten, “Groups often have rich value and belief systems, and when we identify with groups, these can provide a lens through which we see the world.” In other words, it’s hard to feel alone and to second-guess your thoughts when you’re surrounded by people who are on the same page as you.

But if you’re not a group person, because honestly, who is now that we can belong to things via the Internet, (Just look at all the groups I belong to on Facebook, you guys!), you can still boost your self-esteem in other ways. Here are six ways to do just that.

1. Smile More

Say what? Yeah, I’m confused, too! But according to a 2013 study by social psychologist Amy Cuddy, our body language has a lot to do with how we feel about ourselves, as do our facial expressions. With fake “high-power poses,” stress reduces and confidence skyrockets, even if you’re feeling like the world is out to get you. Toss in some standing up straight, with your chin up, and you’ll just feel your self-esteem grow.

2. Exercise Regularly

To quote Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't,” and those same endorphins also kick your self-esteem into shape.

Study after study has proven that not only is exercise amazing for your physical body, but it’s also great for your psychological and emotional state, too, by helping with depression and giving self-esteem a boost. Just look at the effect runner’s high has on people ― they literally feel high and like they can conquer the world.

3. Live In Serbia

According to a 2005 study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people living in Serbia report having the highest self-esteem in the world (or at least of the 53 countries that were researched). Not far behind are Chile and Israel, in second and third place respectively. The United States doesn’t pop up until the sixth spot, so...maybe you should move.

4. Learn A New Skill

Research by the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found that people who learn something new in their free time feel the same level of a self-esteem boost as they do when they get a raise. Taking a class or picky up a hobby where you learn something new also helps in kicking depression in the butt, too.

Learning how to play the piano, in particular, has been found to really boost the self-esteem in kiddos.

5. Spend Some Time On Facebook

Shocking, I know, but a 2011 study by Cornell found that just a few minutes on your Facebook wall, basically looking at how awesome you are, will do wonders for your self-esteem. The thinking is the majority of people only post the highlights of their life on Facebook (well, except for that one person who’s always looking for sympathy about everything), so when you look at the positive version of yourself, the one you put forward for everyone to see, you just feel better about who you are and the direction in which you are going.

6. Dress Well

A 2014 study by University of Hertfordshire found that how we dress plays a major role in how we feel about ourselves. Not only do we realize that people’s first impressions of us go up when we’re looking good, but when we’re dressed to the nines, we just feel awesome inside, too, like the world is our oyster. Basically, you should never leave the house in anything but a ball gown again.


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