Self-esteem isn't something that comes easy. Sometimes we have our days when we feel on top of the world, and other times we need some advice on how to feel better about ourselves. Ultimately, if we want to boost our confidence and attitudes about who we are, we have to make a conscious effort to fix our thoughts to feel good about ourselves, and certain habits can help encourage this type of positive thinking.
"Commitment to daily self-esteem practice is critical for defining a positive sense of self," says clinical psychologist Dr. Joel Ingersoll, PH.D, CMC over email. "People are constantly bombarded with negative messaging, putting their self-esteem at risk to take a hit. When that happens consistently and decreases self-esteem over time, people are more susceptible to bouts of depression and anxiety."
Fortunately, just because you're experiencing low self-esteem now doesn't mean you're bound that way forever. Low self-esteem is a learned behavior, and it is something we can change; it just takes a bit of effort to get rid of those false beliefs we have had about ourselves.
If you want to work on boosting your overall self-esteem, try adapting these 11 habits that will have you loving yourself in no time.
1. Practicing Yoga
Many studies have found that yoga helps improve self-esteem in both young people and adults. Yoga tends to relieve stress and benefit people's mental health, which can contribute to a boost in self-esteem.
2. Getting To Sleep
We all know how important sleep is for our energy levels and focus, but sleep can also have an affect on our attitudes. "By increasing the depth and length of sleep, it allows your brain to work through the issues of the day," says Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC over email. "It will reduce the baseline anxiety and depression that may be impacting self esteem as well."
3. Working Out
One study from the Journal of Education and Human Development found that both men and women experienced a rise in self-esteem after engaging in regular physical activity. "Numerous studies have shown a connection between increased exercise and reduced depression, says Sanok. "Since low self esteem and depression are often linked, exercise offers a way to reduce stress, create time to think, and naturally fight low self esteem."
4. Writing In A Journal
Psychologists often recommend jotting down your feelings or writing in a gratitude journal to boost positive thoughts, and these habits can also influence how you feel about yourself. Writing can help you to get to know yourself better, help you manage your relationships with others, and even improve your physical wellbeing, according to PsychCentral.
5. Performing Random Acts Of Kindness
"It feels good to do something nice for someone else without intending to receive something in return," says E.J. Smith, M.S., NCC, LPC over email. "Whether you put change in someone's parking meter and they never know, or you buy a coffee for the person behind you in line. It helps us immensely to know that we helped someone else."
6. Spending Time With Good Company
Don't spend your time around people who put you down. "Sounds simple, but people who have healthy self esteem are more likely to celebrate and promote positivity in others," says Smith. "Noticing and commenting on the good things about others doesn't take away from us — it enhances. Positive people recognize this."
7. Setting Small Goals
We've all experienced that surge of pleasure when you reach a goal, and these types of successes — no matter how big are small — are crucial for building self-esteem, according to Psychology Today. "Set challenging, attainable goals," says Ingersoll. "Working towards a goal sets you up for a sense of achievement — a great self-esteem booster."
A study from Örebro University found that when young girls spent time dancing together two times a week, they experienced lower levels of depression and improved spirits, as well as higher self-esteem and greater capacity dealing with everyday problems.
9. Standing Up Straight
It may not be the first thing you think about when it comes to improving your self-esteem, but your posture plays a role in your confidence. Research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that slouching is related with lower self-confidence than sitting straight up.
10. Using Daily Affirmations
There are a number of affirmations you can say to yourself to help improve your self-esteem. "Write a daily, morning affirmation," says Ingersoll. "Start your day of by affirming your strengths. Remember, self-esteem is driven by how we think."
11. Accepting Compliments
"One of the more important ways to increase self-esteem is to be open to feedback on how others experience you," says Ingersoll. "Accepting compliments provides people with a valuable opportunity to learn what others value in your character. This feedback is usually something we minimize so it's important to accept compliments as it adds to the potential to increase self-esteem."
Involving yourself in positive activities can help get you into the habit of self-care and self-love, which will only improve your attitude about yourself.
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