How you think and feel about yourself impacts on your actions and behaviours every minute of every day. Negative self-talk can affect our relationships, our job and our day to day life. In today’s busy society where there is a constant pressure to do well, or to keep up with social media trends (fashion, home and parenting to name just a few!), it is no wonder that so many of us struggle with self-esteem.
What is self-esteem?
The term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth. It is how much we value, appreciate and like ourselves, and is based on our individual opinions and beliefs.
Whether you’ve struggled with low self-esteem for decades, or you’re experiencing new feelings based on new circumstances, it is important to address it because it can have a devastating effect on your ability to make decisions and assert yourself, try new or difficult things, or move past mistakes without blaming yourself. When you stop having the confidence to speak up and make yourself heard or accept the status quo even if it doesn’t feel good, you’re on the path to suffering from anxiety or loneliness. When you are constantly thinking that you aren’t good enough in any capacity (emotionally, physically or mentally), your negativity can cause you to develop stress, anger, depression and physical illnesses.
How do you know if you have low self-esteem?
Knowing as much as we can about self-esteem is important because once we identify it, we can take steps to improve low self-esteem. On a scale of 1-10 answer the below – there’s just one rule, you can’t answer with a 6.
- How do you feel about your whole self (include body + personality + intelligence + skills etc)
- Rate your ability to speak your mind
- Rate your ability for composure, anger management and decision making
- Do you put the needs of others before yourself
- Rate your outlook for success in general
Now pay attention to the numbers – how many are 5 or below? Three or more could be an indicator that you might have low self-esteem.
How to improve low self-esteem
The good news is that you have a fair amount of control when it comes to increasing your level of self-worth. There are simple, concrete changes you can make that challenge your mind and your body. Although it’s not an overnight process, by starting small and focusing on what resonates with you, you can remove that negative voice from inside your head and break through the fog of a damaging self-image.
Here are 10 ways to improve low self-esteem:
1. Positive affirmations
Try to name 3 things you like about yourself every day for a week (something new each time). If you recite these affirmations whilst in a relaxed state, the words will sink into your subconscious and alter the way you behave.
2. Do things you love
Allow yourself to have joy in your life, whatever that may be. Planning and going on a holiday, having a hobby, visiting your favourite café etc – find something that’s good for the soul and don’t feel guilty about it. Life is for living!
3. Set yourself a goal to achieve this month and work towards it
Setting realistic goals for yourself will allow you to reach milestones in your life that in turn will help you to feel more confident and inspired. When we accomplish goals, we can truly believe in ourselves, which helps to improve low self-esteem.
4. Eat well and nourish your body
When you nourish your body, you nourish your mind. Eating a balanced diet rich in nutritious foods such as wholegrains, fruit and vegetables can help sustain energy levels for longer. Carbohydrate rich foods, protein sources (meat, fish, eggs and low-fat cheeses) and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B and D are critical for a healthy body.
5. Get a pet if permitted
Owning and loving a pet can improve your mood and overall outlook on life. It is that simple!
6. Learn how to accept compliments
Believe the nice things people say about you, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Accept them and thank the person that gave you the compliment.
7. Think about things you can change, not the things you can’t change
It’s easy to get hung up on all the things that are out of your control, but it won’t achieve much. Instead, try to focus your energy on identifying the things that are within your control and seeing what you can do about them.
8. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small you think they are
Focus on the positives by celebrating your victories. Celebrating your wins not only feels great physically, it is a great way to build confidence and start feeling better about yourself.
9. Surround yourself with people who encourage you, not bring you down
Find people who will support you, encourage you and help you reach the goals you set in your life. You are the sum of the people around you.
10. Don’t compare yourself
Don’t compare yourself to others. When you recognize that you are a unique person who has a lot to offer to the world, you will feel your sense of self-esteem rising. There is only one you – celebrate it!
If you are struggling with low self-esteem, start with these 10 actions and contact me for a confidential chat.