How The Arts Can Foster Self-Esteem

Research has shown that activities such as singing, playing instruments and writing can serve as very powerful forms of expression that help build self-esteem.

The action of singing out loud is a very powerful tool. It let’s a person connect to others in a very different way. It allows one to show who they are through a medium that is both beautiful and strong.  A shy teen expressing him or herself on stage in front of an audience through song is very healing. It commands attentions and puts smiles on people’s faces.  The words one sings are also very powerful and serve as a way to nourish the soul and help us feel better when having a bad day. This ability can be quite empowering and important to building self-esteem.

The mastering of an instrument is no easy task, but with practice comes perfection. It takes patience, concentrate and dexterity.  Sticking with something day after day such as learning a song and learning how to play it, can create an amazing sense of accomplishment. Hearing that song and sharing it with others can create a sense of pride which in turn builds one’s self-esteem.  After rising to the challenge and performing a song (one never thought possible) many teens then feel confident to take on other challenges in their life.

Journaling and poetry are two forms of self-expression that build positive self-esteem and clarity. One can express things through written word that otherwise cannot be expressed through conversation. Sometimes feelings are scary and can be more easily explored in private with a diary. While others choose to write poetry as a form of self-affirmation. Sharing a poem one has written sends a powerful message, similar to singing.

Self expression can come in so many forms and no two kids are like, so help them find their voice.

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About Carol Langlois
Dr Carol is a former University Dean and Associate Provost, trained therapist, researcher, educational consultant and writer. During her training, she counseled hundreds of clients in one-on-one sessions as well as in group settings where her work was with college freshman dealing with transitional and developmental issues on campus. Her primary research focus is female self-esteem development among teens. Her published dissertation “The effects of single gender versus coeducational environments on the self-esteem development and academic competence of high school females” focused on 15 year old girls in the Bay Area where her research findings showed disturbingly low levels of self-esteem across the board. This staggering discovery has led her to further research this topic. She is working on her second book called Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image, which is a compilation of interviews with teens girls on the topic of self-esteem while offering an effective and practical system designed to RAISE (Resilience, Attitude, Independence, Self-Respect and Empowerment) teen self-esteem. In addition, she runs groups for non-profits interested in adding self-esteem training into their overall mission.

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