7 Natural Ways To Boost Your Self Esteem
Good self-esteem is not just a happy accident, it’s like a muscle that can be worked on and strengthened with these natural strategies.
Self-esteem is our sense of worth and value as a person and is often shaped by the messages we received while growing up from parents, teachers, friends and society. It’s affected by external things like money, status and career but it’s actually an inside job. There are many people who have all the trappings of a successful life but feel bad inside and others who have relatively little, or live with challenging situations like illness or disability yet are rich in happiness and self-esteem.
Whatever your personal circumstances you can boost your self-esteem with these 7 simple exercises. Like any exercise they’ll be most effective if they’re practiced regularly.
Positive affirmations can have a powerful and transformative effect on your life if you get into the habit of practicing them daily. You can begin by remembering all that you’ve achieved in life – your skills, talents, successes (big and small) and compliments other people have given you.
Often negative messages play over and over in our head and it takes a concerted effort to replace them with positive messages like ‘I am enough’ or ‘I am lovable’. There are many free websites which post daily affirmations for specific areas of your life you want to work on.
2. Gratitude lists
At the end of each day try writing down 5 things that you’re grateful for. This practice will make you feel better about your life and about your part in creating and maintaining it. There’s a lot of research that shows gratitude can help boost health and emotional well-being because it programs the brain to look for the positive even in difficult circumstances.
3. Doing the thing you don’t like first
Self-esteem is seriously damaged when we set goals or make lists of things to do and get to the end of the day not having achieved them. The trick is to start with the thing you really don’t want to do first and then work back to the easiest. Do it before you do anything else and everything that comes after will feel much easier.
4. Practice your skills
What do you really enjoy? Maybe it’s swimming, yoga, drawing or playing an instrument? Whatever it is practicing it will serve two vital functions in boosting your self-esteem. 1. It will get into the flow of whatever you’re doing which can help to stop negative thought patterns. 2. If you practice regularly you’ll eventually be able to see improvement in your practice which will help you feel more competent, accomplished and capable.
5. Taking risks
Whether it’s going on dates; taking up a new hobby or asking your boss for a pay rise, don’t let fear put you off living and going after what you want in life. Everyone feels scared when they’re doing something for the first time, its natural but the boost to your self-esteem when you break through the fear barrier is long lasting. The more you do it the more confident you will become.
If you neglect your basic needs and don’t eat properly, dress well, get enough sleep or exercise it’s like neglecting any living thing, you’ll fail to thrive. How are you ever going to feel good about yourself if you treat yourself worse than you would treat a pet? It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation – you feel bad about yourself so your self-care slips, your self-care gets worse so your self-esteem plummets further.
You can break this negative cycle. Start by concentrating on the basics needed for healthy life. Eat well, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water and get at least 20 mins of exercise and fresh air a day. Avoid self-harming behaviours especially drinking too much as alcohol is a depressant, it might give you a temporary lift but you’ll feel even lower the next day.
7. Helping others
Low self-esteem is often the result of too much focus on yourself and what others think about you. Doing something to help someone less fortunate than yourself will help you remember you can make a difference to someone else’s life which will in turn make you feel better about your own.
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