By Anne Gold
Although low self-esteem is not categorized as a mental health condition in itself, there are clear links between the way we feel about ourselves and our overall mental and emotional wellbeing. U.K.-based charity, Teenage Minds, defines self-esteem as “how a person feels about themselves and what they do.” So a person with high self-esteem believes they are a good person; they can recognize their good qualities and will generally strive for a happy and successful life. Someone with low self-esteem has negative feelings about themselves, believing that they are not worthy of love, happiness or success.
With research linking low self-esteem to mental health issues and poor quality-of-life, this is a potentially dangerous way to live. Here are just a few ways that low self-esteem can affect mental health and how you can try and improve yours:
Building self-esteem is crucial. When we learn to love ourselves, we strive for a better life—a happier relationship, a more fulfilling career or recovery from addiction. But changing the deep-rooted feelings we have about ourselves isn't easy and often experts recommend some form of therapy (usually Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) to get to the underlying reasons behind our negative thoughts about ourselves.
The key then is to challenge and adjust these negative thoughts into more positive ones. Learning to value and care for your mind and body through a healthy lifestyle is also important. Good diet, exercise and meditation can be the first stepping stones in reclaiming physical and emotional confidence. Fully engaging with those we love is important. Feeling loved and supported (and being able to offer love and support in return) is a wonderful way to start increasing self-esteem. If you don't have any immediate friends or family then consider joining a support group or even volunteering. Helping others is a great way to help yourself.
Now a writer, Anne Gold worked previously in the mental health sector. She's someone who has battled her own problems with depression and anxiety and firmly believes that to be able to help others, you have to help yourself. Now that she's a mother, she's more acutely aware of staying well and promoting good mental health to others.
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