Boosting self-worth in the age of social media

27 April 2023 dot 4-minute read
Feel Well Healthy Mind How to Self-worth Social media
Likes, shares and comments trigger the brain's reward system to release the feel-good chemical dopamine, hooking users online. (Credit : Shutterstock)
Studies have shown that too much time spent on social networking sites can negatively affect perceptions of self-worth, possibly leading to mental health issues. In response, some people suggest quitting social media altogether. However, this overlooks the platform's value for connection and self-expression.
Approaching social media in a healthier way can enhance rather than detract from your sense of self-worth. You can start by building your self-esteem.

What is self-worth?

Understanding self-worth is crucial because it forms the foundation of self-esteem. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines self-worth as "an individual's evaluation of himself or herself as a valuable, capable human being deserving of respect and consideration."
With a healthy self-esteem, you are more likely to feel good about your abilities and accomplishments. It also influences how you perceive and react to challenges and failures.

How to value yourself

Accepting your strengths and weaknesses can help enhance self-esteem. (Credit : Shutterstock)
A high sense of self-worth makes you feel more empowered and confident. You become less vulnerable to feelings of inadequacy, especially on social media, where the focus on appearances and comparisons can trigger feelings of insecurity. Here's a guide to boost your self-esteem.

1. Practise self-acceptance

Practicing self-acceptance involves acknowledging and embracing your strengths and weaknesses. By doing so, you are fostering a positive self-image, which can lead to increased confidence and resilience. While it may take time and effort, practicing self-acceptance is a great step towards cultivating a healthy and fulfilling relationship with yourself.
You can practice self-acceptance by:
  • learning to forgive yourself
  • observing self-compassion
  • acknowledging your achievements
  • engaging in mindfulness meditation
  • being grateful

2. Follow the right people

Avoid social media profiles that make you feel bad about yourself or promote comparison. Many accounts use social media to promote body positivity, mental health awareness and self-care to uplift their audience. Make a conscious decision to follow those who inspire you and contribute to your self-value.

3. Go on a digital detox

Making genuine connections with others can enhance your overall wellbeing. (Credit: Shutterstock)
Research in the Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology shows that likes, shares, comments and messages on social media trigger the brain's reward centre to produce feel-good chemicals (dopamine). As a result, people on social platforms find pleasure and satisfaction when their posts get reactions.
By reducing your time on social media, you can redirect your energy towards more productive pursuits, such as hobbies, exercise and time with loved ones. Ultimately, taking steps to minimise your social media consumption can help you prioritise your mental health and cultivate a more positive and fulfilling life.

4. Spend more time with people offline

While social media is an excellent tool to connect you with others, there's nothing like being physically present with the people you love. According to a study published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, supportive relationships help shape the development of your self-esteem throughout your life.

5. Try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can teach you how to reframe bleak or defeatist thoughts and replace them with more positive and realistic ones. A study in the Journal of Research in Personality shows that CBT is the most effective intervention in increasing self-esteem in adults.

6. Set a challenge for yourself

A high sense of self-worth makes you feel more capable of pursuing your goals. (Credit: Shutterstock)
The feeling of accomplishment you get from learning something new or starting a hobby makes you feel capable and proud. As a result, your mood improves and your self-esteem gets a boost.
Small wins can also make you feel more motivated to pursue your goals. This is the mindset you want to have when you plan for your future. For example, you may face obstacles working towards a financial goal like a retirement income. But goal setting builds focus and encourages you to act amidst challenges.
In today's digital age, knowing your worth is more important than ever. It enables you to bounce back from setbacks, making you less likely to let failures define you. It can help you appreciate your accomplishments, big or small. In addition, high self-esteem equips you to set healthy boundaries in your social media relationships.
Do you feel that social platforms affect your sense of self-worth? Bookmark this article when you fall into the trap of comparison online and help boost your self-esteem.
N & Journals, Electronic. 2018. A Study between Social Media Usage and Self-Esteem among Youths. [online] [Accessed on 20 December 2022]
Datareportal. 2022. GLOBAL SOCIAL MEDIA STATISTICS. [online] [Accessed on 21 December 2022]
Datareportal. 2022. DIGITAL 2022: GLOBAL OVERVIEW REPORT. [online] [Accessed on 21 December 2022]
American Psychological Association.Self-Worth. [online] [Accessed on 21 December 2022]
American Psychological Association.Self-Esteem. [online] [Accessed on 21 December 2022]
European Scientific Journal. 2017.Impact of Social Media on Self-Esteem. [online] [Accessed on 20 December 2022]
Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology. 2020.Neurotransmitter Dopamine (DA) and its Role in the Development of Social Media Addiction. [online] [Accessed on 20 December 2022]
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2019.The Link Between Self-Esteem and Social Relationships: A Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies. [online] [Accessed on 20 December 2022]
Journal of Research in Personality. 2021.Self-esteem Interventions in Adults – A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis [online] [Accessed on 21 December 2022]
BMC Public Health. 2013.Positive psychology interventions: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. [online] [Accessed on 22 December 2022]

This is general information only and is not intended as financial, medical, health, nutritional or other advice. You should obtain professional advice from a financial adviser, or medical or health practitioner in relation to your own personal circumstances.

Related articles