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Boost your self-esteem to keep mental disorders at bay

Boost your self-esteem to keep mental disorders at bay
Self-esteem is the self-worth or value that we place in ourselves. © Shutterstock

What we think of ourselves can affect our health. Scientists say that a low self-esteem can have an adverse impact on our mental health. Here, learn how to boost your worth in your own eyes.

Written by Nayonika Chakraborty |Published : July 6, 2019 11:28 AM IST

Most of us spend our lives trying to leave a good impression on others. By doing so, we expect to gain some ounce of validation if not appreciation from them. When we cannot find our self-esteem ourselves, we want others to hand it to us on a platter.

Little things can make us criticise ourselves quite harshly. A small protruding belly, an almost invisible scar on your face left by a pimple or even a small mistake that you made. We forget that perfection only exists as a word in the dictionary and all these little things are what make us our own unique person.

There can be various factors that affect your self-esteem. It could also be some past experiences. If you have often received negative and critical reviews from those around you, including your family, teachers and friends, you may be more likely to have a lower self-esteem. Aside from that, your psychological state, physical appearance as well as age can also influence your level of self-esteem. Possibility of any potential illnesses, disabilities or physical limitations are some of the things that can have an effect on the way you think about yourself.

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SELF-ESTEEM CAN BE GOOD FOR HEALTH, SAY EXPERTS

Broadly the meaning of self-esteem is the self-worth or value that we place in ourselves. Science now says that it can even be good for mental health. The journal Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health published a study, which stated that high self-esteem at baseline predicted fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression and attention problems in the future.

For the study, researchers obtained psychiatric samples of adolescents aged 13 to 18 years. The level of self-esteem along with symptoms of anxiety, depression and attention related issues were measured through a self-report and reassessed after three years. Results showed that a higher self-esteem not only helps in preventing the development of more anxiety and depression symptoms but it also provides protection against attention related problems.

HOW TO TELL IF YOU HAVE A HEALTHY SELF-ESTEEM

There are some tell tale signs that can help you identify if you have a healthy self-esteem. If you are a confident person with a positive outlook and have the ability to say 'no', you can look after your own needs. This means that you have a good sense of your esteem. Not letting your bad experiences change your perspective can also indicate to a healthy self-esteem.

On the other hand, if you constantly feel inferior to others and have a negative outlook, you have a low self-esteem. A persistent fear of failure or discomfort while expressing needs are also signs of a low self-regard. You should work on building your morale if you tend to think that others are better than you or if you overly focus on your mistakes and weaknesses.

7 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR SELF-ESTEEM

There is no reason to worry even if you are a victim of low self-esteem. We show you how you can change your impression of yourself.

Allow yourself to feel bad

According to some experts, you should feel comfortable and safe enough to let yourself feel whatever comes to you naturally, even if they are negative emotions. Allow yourself to feel your emotions freely but without drowning in self-pity. This will help you to become more aware of yourself.

Cut yourself some slack

We tend to be tough on ourselves because we look at criticism as a tool to avoid laziness or indulgences. We are not used to being kind to ourselves. You can change this by dismissing your negative thoughts when you realise that they are not particularly helpful and are only keeping you from moving on.

Embrace your failings

You can be kind to yourself by acknowledging that your imperfections are a part of being human. Accept your flaws without fixating on them or overly criticising yourself because of them. Punishing yourself after a failure is also a bad idea and will only end up bringing you down. Sometimes, giving yourself a small treat along with a pat on the back during these situations will help.

Cheer for yourself

Cheering for yourself out loud or verbally comforting yourself helps to not only acknowledge and validate your current feeling but also keeps you from denying your emotions afterwards. By reminding yourself that whatever you are feeling is normal, you can be your own cheerleader and help yourself when in need.

Realise thoughts for what they are

Try to be aware of what is going on inside your mind by noticing when your thoughts go down the path of self-criticism. Experts say that thoughts are something that we have come to learn and, hence, we can also 'unlearn' them. Instead, we can believe what we want to by repeating it to ourselves.

Be good to others

It will be easy for you to recognise your value if you do something that you can be proud of. By doing something respectable, you can raise your worth in your own eyes. Being helpful to others can also get you out of negative thoughts.

Learn to forgive

Forgiveness can also lead to an improvement in self-esteem. Forgiving others for what they have done to us and also ourselves can help us to connect with our true nature. If you have an unforgiving attitude, you will stay trapped in a continuous loop of negativity and shame. This will make you resent others as well as yourself.