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Mental Health Minute: Special Feature on Teen Self-Esteem

Updated: May 28

By: Elizabeth Ramquist, PhD

Welcome to Paseo Aquatic Club’s Mental Health Minute! This is a space where parents and swimmers can find monthly articles offering tips and updates on mental health issues.

Understanding Mental Health

What is “mental health”? It refers to the aspects of our well-being that influence how we make decisions, respond to others, and maintain our overall internal state. To be mentally fit means being emotionally, socially, and psychologically well.

Our mental wellness affects how we cope with challenges, interact with others, and create a meaningful life (Myers et al., 2011). It's evident that our self-esteem—the way we view and value ourselves—impacts both our sports performance and our life outside the pool.

Teen Self-Esteem Insights

Here’s what we know about teen self-esteem:

  • Multiple Factors: Self-esteem is influenced by our psychological health, connections with others, body image, and physical health.

  • Dynamic Nature: Self-esteem can change over time.

  • Adolescent Challenges: Self-esteem may decline during adolescence, so it's important to explore ways to boost a healthy sense of self during these years.

Fostering Good Self-Esteem

Here are some effective strategies to enhance self-esteem:

  • Avoid Comparisons: Remember, there is only one you in the world. Comparing yourself to others is unrealistic and unproductive. Social media can impact self-perception, so consider reducing exposure to influencers. Celebrate your own growth, accomplishments, and strengths. Parents, be mindful of how you talk to your child about themselves and how you speak about yourself in front of them. Children learn self-love or self-criticism from you first.

  • “Doing Good Does You Good”: Volunteering and helping others can boost self-esteem and reduce feelings of loneliness. Simple acts, like bringing a coffee to a fellow swim parent, helping a neighbor, or volunteering poolside, can remind you of the good in your life and your contributions to the world. (Mental Health Foundation)

  • Healthy Home Relationships: Stable, caring relationships during childhood affect self-view in later years. Parents of young children, your safe and loving relationship with your child now will benefit their future self-esteem (Huntsinger, 2004; Carlen et al., 2023). Maintain open communication with your teens about their lives and share about your own.

  • Stay Active: Physical activity boosts our sense of well-being. Whether you’re swimming, walking, playing with your pet, or competing in the pool, these activities offer joyful opportunities to move and improve your mood.

Choose Wellness

Our sense of self and well-being is influenced by many factors. Focus on one area this week to see immediate benefits and continued improvement. Choose wellness!


Elizabeth Ramquist, PhD, is a clinical psychologist practicing in Los Angeles. She works with first responders, combat veterans, and medical professionals to help them bring their best selves to work and home. Dr. Ramquist also provides group training sessions on mental wellness. Learn more at Valencia Psychology.

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