5 Steps to Boost Your Self-Esteem, Even During Trying Times
By Dr. Bradley Nelson
Self-esteem refers to a person’s sense of personal value — how much you appreciate and like yourself. Self-compassion is your ability to be kind and compassionate with yourself.
Higher levels of self-compassion have been linked to greater happiness, higher motivation, better relationships and physical health, less anxiety and depression, and resilience to cope with stressful life events, research shows. Having healthy self-esteem is also a predictor of other positive behaviors. For example, people with higher self-esteem tend to take better care of themselves physically and emotionally and are more likely to pursue their dreams and aspirations. Research on self-image has also shown that people who have a more compassionate relationship with themselves are more able to be compassionate with others.
Today, when isolation and job losses due to COVID-19 are taking a toll on our mental health, it’s more important than ever for us to be kind to ourselves. Here are things you can do to increase your self-compassion and self-esteem:
- Positive self-talk. Positive self-talk is a great way to begin practicing more compassion with yourself. Self-talk is your inner voice, which is almost always chattering away inside your mind. This inner commentary can have a huge impact on how you feel about yourself and the world around you. Pay attention to your thoughts, and aim to speak to yourself in kinder, gentler ways.
- Focus on what you can change. While you can’t control everything in your life, you can control your choices and the way you show up for yourself. Putting your attention on things you can change, rather than lamenting things over which you have no control, is a good way to build self-esteem and heal emotionally. As the Serenity Prayer says, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” One way you can do this is to set attainable goals that you have the power to achieve, and create habits and routines that support those goals. Perhaps make it part of your weekly routine to meditate, take walks outdoors, set time aside to work towards your personal career aspirations, or whatever else will help you move forward towards the things you want in your life.
- Adopt a growth mindset. Once you’ve set goals that you’d like to achieve, it can be helpful to focus less on the outcome, and more on how you arrive at it. Those who are emotionally healthy often have what’s called a “growth mindset,” meaning that they’re focused on how they can learn and evolve from any given situation. People with a growth mindset thrive on being challenged and see failures as a way to learn and grow, instead of evidence of incompetence. This is a healthy mindset that takes the pressure off of your achievements and allows you to enjoy the journey instead. As you work towards your goals, take time to celebrate your successes too, no matter how small. Congratulate yourself on a job well done, and take time to appreciate your abilities. The more you celebrate yourself, the more your confidence will grow.
- Surround yourself with support. If the people in your life frequently say negative things about you or hold you in low regard, it can be really challenging to overcome those ideas about yourself. One great way to build self-esteem and heal emotionally is to spend time with positive, supportive people. Take some time and space away from people who only have negative things to say about you, and focus your time and energy on those who celebrate you and your accomplishments instead. You’ll quickly see what a positive impact this small shift can have on your life!
- Heal yourself from past traumas. No matter how much you progress in self-confidence, one thing that can hold you back is trapped emotions, unresolved feelings from difficult and traumatic events in your life. Emotional healing through processes such as The Emotion Code®can facilitate emotional and physical balance so you can achieve higher self-confidence.
When our emotions are weighing us down, it can be hard to feel confident and proud of who we are. Learning to accept and love yourself is an essential part of emotional healing and building self-esteem. When you are able to identify and release negative emotions, it allows you to focus on all the wonderful things you have to offer the world instead.
About Dr. Bradley Nelson: Veteran holistic physician Dr. Bradley Nelson (D.C., ret) has trained thousands of certified practitioners worldwide to help people overcome physical and emotional discomfort by releasing their emotional baggage. His best-selling book “The Emotion Code” provides step-by-step instructions for working with the body’s energy healing power. For more information and a free Emotion Code Starter Kit, visit www.emotioncodegift.com.