By: Sharon Heckathorn, LIMHP
Self-esteem is a topic that almost everyone can relate to on some level. We may not all struggle with significant anxiety or depression but we can all relate to the idea of feeling unsure of ourselves at times in our life. Having a healthy view of ourselves is important but it does not mean that we have to be full of ourselves in order to do so. For me, having a healthy self-esteem falls in the category or appropriate self-care and has been shown to have many benefits. According to Guy Winch some of the benefits of having a healthy sense of self include being able to bounce back more quickly from rejection or stress in relationships and we are less likely to be prone to anxiety. A third benefit of a healthy self-esteem is that we release lower amounts of cortisol (stress hormone) in our bodies when we are stressed and it is less likely to linger in our bodies. While we can agree that all of these benefits are helpful, how does one go about trying to improve their self-esteem? I am going to offer just three tips, although there are many more if this topic is interesting to you.
Tip 1-Increase self compassion and decrease critical self-talk
Why is it that we often are full of compassion for our friends and family and yet we beat ourselves up over the smallest things? Learning to be kind and patient with ourselves creates an environment where it is ok to make mistakes and try again. Often when I talk to clients I tell them that you can be your own worst enemy or your own best advocate. If we want to improve our self-esteem we need to be more compassionate to ourselves.
Tip 2-Use Appropriate self affirmations
It is important to learn how to talk to ourselves in a positive and helpful manner but it is important to choose our words wisely. Using affirmations that are unrealistic will only end up making you feel more defeated if they don’t come true. Instead of saying “I can do anything I put my mind to” try “I can be proud of myself when I work hard and don’t give up”. It can also be helpful to focus on the process and not the outcome.
Tip 3- Get a move on
I am sure that most of you know that there is a link between physical health and mental health. Working out and moving your body is a great way to improve self-esteem because of the chemical changes that happen in the brain when we move. If you work out with others there is also the added benefit community. When we are around others that are making healthy choices this can also impact our self-esteem in a positive way, we experience a sense of belonging and connection.
As I stated, these are just three of my favorite ways to improve your self-esteem but it my no mean an exhaustive list. If this is a topic that interests you or you feel like you could benefit from learning more about it, please don’t hesitate to reach out by e-mail () or give me a call 402-513-4416.
Winch, Guy. 5 Ways to Build a Lasting Self-Esteem, Aug. 23, 2016. Ideas.Ted.Com