How to Boost Students’ Low Self Esteem – CBT Tips

Many students feel inadequate and unworthy of what they hope to accomplish during their education – unfortunately, these feelings can impact academic achievement and overall well-being. Thankfully, evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques can help boost your self-esteem. To understand how CBT works read my blog about the Different types of Therapy for Mental Health.

Why do Students Suffer from Low Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is an essential factor for students. It can affect how confident they feel when tackling challenging tasks, their willingness to ask for help and how they handle setbacks or criticism. Those with low self-esteem may be too afraid to try, feeling destined to fail regardless of their efforts. For example, if a student has low self-esteem, they may think that asking for help isn’t worth the effort and that no one will understand their problems.

Some causes of low self-esteem in students may include:

  • A lack of positive affirmation from parents or teachers.
  • Self-criticism that results in a negative self-image.
  • Comparisons to their peers.
  • Fear of failure or not living up to expectations.

How Can CBT Help?

CBT is an evidence-based approach to helping people with mental health issues. It’s based on the idea that our thoughts, emotions and behaviors are all intertwined and that we can effectively change how we feel and act by changing our thoughts.

CBT is an excellent tool for boosting student self-esteem, as it encourages positive thinking and provides strategies to cope with difficult situations. Research has shown that CBT can effectively treat depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.

Tips to Boost Student Self-Esteem Through CBT

1. Identify Negative Thoughts

One of the first steps to improving self-esteem is recognizing the negative thoughts impacting your feelings and behaviours. Identify unhelpful thoughts, such as “I can’t do anything right” or “Nothing I do matters” and challenge them by questioning whether they are true.

2. Reframe Negative Thoughts

Once you’ve identified your negative thoughts, try to reframe them more positively. For example, instead of thinking, “I can’t do anything right”, try thinking “, I may not have succeeded this time, but I can still work on improving and learning from my mistakes”.

3. Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals can help to boost self-esteem by providing a sense of accomplishment and progress. Try breaking big tasks into smaller, achievable steps, so you don’t become overwhelmed or discouraged. It’s also important to remember that it is ok to make mistakes and that it’s part of the learning process.

4. Practice Self-Compassion

It’s easy to be harsh on ourselves when things don’t go as planned, but self-compassion is key to improving your self-esteem. Try reframing your mistakes or failures positively, such as looking at them as learning opportunities.

5. Celebrate Your Achievements

Recognizing your successes and giving yourself credit for the hard work you put in is essential. Take some time each day to reflect on what you have achieved and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may be. This will help boost your self-esteem and remind you of everything you are capable of. Read my blog about The Ultimate Guide To Self-care: How To Do Self-care Like A Boss.


Students have to work hard and face many challenges during their education, but low self-esteem makes it harder to achieve success. However, with the help of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, students can learn how to boost their self-esteem and develop the confidence needed for academic success and personality growth. You can learn to love yourself with the right strategies and an optimistic attitude and make your dreams come true.

For more tips on how to deal with negative thoughts, read the blog in which I share 12 Simple Ways to Challenge Distorted Thinking When Feeling Depressed.

I also share 15 Unusual Ways to Boost Your Mental Health