Posted: 20 Mar 2012 01:55 PM PDT
Low self-esteem is a problem which affects many of us from time to time. It's certainly something that I've battled with throughout my life. I thought for this particular blog post I would take a look at some strategies to combat low-self esteem and promote feelings of positivity and wellbeing.
Be kinder to yourself
Our self-esteem is based on how we feel about ourselves and, for most of us, we're way too harsh. Take a moment to think about the things you say to yourself. Have a listen to that little voice in your head – is it critical, negative, harsh?
Do you tend to say things to yourself like: "I'm such a failure" or "I never do anything right"? Well, imagine that a friend of yours was feeling down about himself. Would you say those things to him? No! You'd offer support and encouragement wouldn't you? So, why say them to yourself?
Next time you start coming out with self-criticism, try to think of some positive and encouraging words instead. Look at mistakes as learning experiences, forgive yourself and focus instead on your good points and achievements. Don't be so harsh on yourself!
Always hang out with people who make you feel great
Being around people who love and respect you will do your self-esteem no end of good. Have a really good think about the people you know who always put a smile on your face and resolve to spend more time with them because they will lift your spirits.
If certain people have a habit of dragging you down, making you feel depressed or criticising you all the time, then make every effort you can to avoid them. If you simply can't avoid them, then take a look at my earlier article on The Daily Mind about how to cope with
Do things that you enjoy
If there's a particular task you struggle with then you're bound to feel negative and miserable whenever you do this. In my case I'm terrible with numbers – bills, accounts, you name it – I can't get my head round it. This is why I leave these particular jobs to my partner. However, I'm great at cooking and it's something I enjoy, so I take care of this side of our life.
In this sense I try to make sure that I do things I enjoy because they increase my self esteem and feed into that cycle of positivity. Make a list of things you enjoy and know that you are good at – ask a friend to help you – and resolve to do at least one of these things every week.
Following on from that last point, practising mindfulness is a great way of combating the negative self-talk that chips away at our self-esteem. Mindfulness helps to switch off that internal chatter, which the Buddhists call the "Monkey Mind", and instead replace it with clarity, focus and calm.
Mindfulness involves focusing entirely on the present moment, rather than living in the past or looking to the future. It's not about trying to change things but trying instead to accept the way that things are for better or for worse. Here's a simple mindfulness technique that I often practise myself:
Sit somewhere comfortable and quiet where you won't be disturbed. Turn off your phone and any other distractions, like the TV or radio. Close your eyes and take a few deep, calming breaths. Stay this way for at least 10 minutes, just focusing on your breathing.
If thoughts start to pop into your mind, don't get stressed or anxious about them, don't consciously try to get rid of them. Instead, acknowledge them, and then imagine them floating away like clouds in the sky. After the 10 minutes is up, congratulate yourself on having taken time out to relax and still your mind.
About the author: Liz Parry is a writer specialising in holistic health and wellbeing, personal development and spirituality.