Natural ways to feel good
We all have self esteem but whether it’s high or low will depend very much on our past experiences, upbringing, current circumstances and belief in ourselves. Although self-esteem can be improved by external things like a good job, nice clothes, money or flashy car, it actually has much more to do with how you feel on the inside than what you have on the outside. There are plenty of rich people who have everything money can buy, yet seem unhappy in themselves. Then there are many others who have little material wealth, or live with challenging situations like disability or illness, yet appear to have good self-esteem and happy lives.
Whatever your personal circumstances, self esteem is like a muscle which can be strengthened through regular exercise. Here are some helpful tips to improve yours.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Scientific research is beginning to find evidence to prove that gratitude can help boost health and emotional well-being, as well as self-esteem. It’s not always easy to be grateful, especially on days when it seems like the whole world is against you, but if you make a concerted effort you will soon start to feel the benefits.
One way of cultivating a self-esteem boosting attitude is to practice writing down three things you’re grateful for at the end of each day. This simple exercise, if repeated regularly over a period of time, can give you a remarkable boost as you begin to realise how many blessings you have in your life.
Believe in yourself
Much of our self talk is negative criticism. If you spoke to a friend the way you speak to yourself, do you think they would still be friends with you?
Learning to give yourself positive messages of encouragement and affirmations can have a huge effect on your self esteem, especially if practiced regularly. Writing them down can help. Start by remembering all your achievements in life – your talents, skills, characteristics and things you like about yourself. Add to the list your successes (big and small) and compliments people have given you over the years.
They don’t need to be complicated things. A simple statement like ‘I am enough’ or ‘I am lovable’ when said to yourself repeatedly will, over time, start to sink in. There are lots of free websites which post daily affirmations to help focus on specific areas of your life you want to feel better about.
Broaden your horizons
To really feel good about yourself, you need to occasionally push your limits. If you always stay in your comfort zone, you may be safe but you’ll lose confidence the more you shy away from new experiences.
It may be going on dates, taking up a new hobby or taking a long dreamt of trip. Whatever you wish you could do, do it – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s natural to feel afraid when you do something for the first time but the boost to your self-esteem when you break through the fear barrier is long-lasting.
Take good care of yourself
Every living creature has basic human needs which must be satisfied in order for them to thrive. Human beings are unique in the animal kingdom in that they will deliberately deny these needs when they feel low or are having a difficult time. This is due to our emotional natures and can cause us to eat food that’s bad for us, not sleep enough, drink too much alcohol and engage in other self-harming behaviours. It can become a destructive situation – you feel bad so your self-care slips, your self-care gets worse so your self-esteem plummets even further.
You can break this negative cycle by making satisfying your basic needs the priority in your day. Ensure you eat well starting with a good breakfast, get enough sleep and rest, drink plenty of water and get at least 20 minutes of exercise and fresh air every day. Remember alcohol is a depressant, it might give you a temporary lift but you’ll feel even lower the next day.
Good self esteem isn’t a happy accident, it’s something that can be strengthened and worked on. Regular practice will also make you more attractive to other people, because the more you love yourself, the more you allow others to love you.
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