How To Improve Your Self Esteem
Self-esteem reflects how you feel about yourself. People who struggle with low self-esteem tend to see themselves as unlovable, inadequate, or unworthy. Negative self-perception then affects a person’s behaviour and emotional state, usually further lowering self-esteem.
On the other side, if you have healthy self-esteem, you will most likely be appreciative, self-compassionate and caring to yourself. A healthy self-image means having a realistic and well-balanced view of your personality and abilities.
Transformations that your body and mind go through in adolescence can be hard to handle. Changes in physical, cognitive, social and emotional aspects of your life may cause a wide range of difficulties, including low self-esteem, sudden mood swings, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.
However, there are many strategies available to improve your self-esteem. Learning how to change your mindset and take a different perspective about yourself can improve your life satisfaction and overall well-being.
One of the best approaches to boosting self-esteem is mindfulness exercise.
Mindfulness Meditation and Self-Esteem
Persistent self-criticism can grow into low self-esteem over time. Studies show that mindfulness exercises can help you train your mind to observe your thoughts and emotions as they appear, without responding to them. To strengthen your self-respect, you need to recognise and acknowledge your negative feelings instead of trying not to feel upset about them.
Once you learn to acknowledge your emotions and thoughts without self-judgment, it is more likely for those feelings and thoughts to settle down and pass. Mindfulness exercise allows you to acknowledge what’s happening in the present moment. So, when you recognise that self-defeating thoughts are emerging, remind yourself that they are just thoughts, not facts.
One of the best ways to bring up esteem building thoughts is to practice affirmations. These are empowering positive statements about yourself that promote self-acceptance and self-compassion. Your thoughts tend to build upon each other. Therefore, a daily habit of repeating positive affirmations will reprogram your subconscious mind to accept your positive statements as the only truth and to act in harmony with them. This will encourage self-compassion and boost your self-esteem.
Mental imagery, also known as visualisation is a powerful way to enhance your self-esteem. Visualisation can help you construct an image of yourself within your mind as you want to be. Visualising a positive version of yourself can increase your motivation and boost your self-appreciation.
Focus on the things you are good at and practice imagining yourself as a confident, self-assured individual.
Recognising and Overcoming Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)
Automatic negative thoughts are unintentional thoughts that appear randomly, flooding your mind and making every situation look worse than it is. ANTs lead to an insecure and anxious mindset. Using principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy, you can learn to recognise and then correct these dysfunctional thoughts. This mindset shift can help reduce anxiety and boost self-esteem.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Try not to compare yourself to others. This can be hard in the modern age of social media but try to understand that what people show on their social media accounts are their best moments, don’t get sucked into comparing them to your everyday. For further reading check out our blog post on how social media affects your mental health.
Gratitude exercise has proven to be an effective strategy in improving self-esteem, boosting optimism and enhancing your mental health. Research shows that gratitude can increase your assurance, positive attitude, self-respect, and happiness. It can help you experience more positive emotions and more successfully tolerate frustration.
Try writing down 3 things you are grateful for every morning and see how it changes your mood. If you want to take it one step further, before bed also write down 3 good things you experienced that day.
Learning how to improve your self esteem is a process. However, a sense of worth already exists within you, you just need to learn to recognise and start nurturing it.