Why Self-Esteem Is Important for Mental Health

JUL. 12, 2016

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:

  • Poor Relationships. As humans, we strive to interact with others and the relationships we have with those closest to us help define us as people. So negative relationships ultimately equal negative feelings and a negative perception of ourselves.
  • Addiction. Psychological studies indicate that low self-esteem in childhood and early adulthood can be a predisposition to addiction in later life. Many addicts use substances such as drugs or alcohol to help ease the negative feelings they have about themselves. But over time this method of escapism develops into an addiction and of course this has detrimental effects on their already depleted self-esteem levels.
  • Depression and anxiety. Low self-esteem tends to work in a vicious cycle with other mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. It's hard to say which comes first, only that the combination is both common and troublesome. Someone who already lives with a mental illness may find that low self-esteem develops due to the social stigma surrounding mental illness. Stigma can perpetuate the feeling that they have somehow failed.

Building Self-Esteem

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.


SEP, 06, 2018 03:32:19 PM
Finding the issue behind low self esteem or fear is simple. Finding the solution is not.

Want free help understanding why? No problem I’ll help.

Want to know how to fix it? That’s easier said than done. Most people will say “tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” However, many will do nothing to change their way of thinking.

Humans by nature follow the path of what is familiar to them. The fear of change goes beyond the need for change.

For example. If you fear being the first one on the dance floor it is easier to not go dancing. But this does not come close to solving the real issue. Maybe you can’t dance. But that is still not the issue, the issue is your insecurity preventing you from dancing as if no one was watching you.

Where did your lack of self worth come from?

Honestly there are many triggers for this. Such as...

It can start from something you heard, thought you heard, assumed someone said or assumed someone was thinking about you.


You have not been honest with yourself or others and now you are about to be proven dishonest.


You have jealousy toward someone that you feel is better than you and you don’t want them to find out they are better at something than you.

Obviously the list of poor reasons behind the fear of change is exactly that. “Poor Reasons”

So how do you change yourself?
1. Uncover your fears and insecurities.
2. Understand the reasons why they exist.
3. Make a decision to release the chains that bind you.
4. Do something uncomfortable.
5. Choose to be honest about yourself.

Examples of hard changes:
1. Be the first one to speak up at a gathering.
2. Be the first to dance.
3. Don’t one up people’s stories.
4. Never insult or belittle anyone.
5. Keep negativity out of your vocabulary and personal life.

Try this:

Get a dry eraser and write on your mirror these simple words. Then look in the mirror and say

I forgive those that hurt me.
I release my fears and insecurities.
Negativity has no place in my life.
I choose positive thinking.

Everyone is important,
everyone matters,
everyone is unique,
everyone is special,
everyone is worthy of love.
I am important,
I matter,
I am unique,
I am special,
I am worthy of love.
Being happy is a choice and I choose to be happy.

Remember no matter what your beliefs are spiritually, there seems to be one truth that is undeniable. If you are unkind, unhelpful, unhappy, cheat, lie, steal, complain, or if your a negative thinker, you will receive the same in return.

So try this.

Today and everyday do one thing that is truly selfless. Remember selfless means you expect nothing in return not even a thank you. How or what you do is up to you. Make someone happy or pick up that trash along your walk. It’s easy to do as long as you truly want change in your life.

Everyday try doing something that is hard for you. It could be just leaving the house. While your out get the bill for some random couple you see at a restaurant with out telling them. What you do is up to you but make sure it feels like something you wouldn’t normally do. The key is to make changes that could alter your poor habits and insecurities.

Have you ever watched “Yes Man” it’s a little over the top but if you have not watched it this could give you some ideas.

SEP, 05, 2018 01:21:29 AM
Very thoughtfull post on mind .It should be very much helpfull.


AUG, 22, 2018 12:22:55 AM
i have one arm and 3 legs. The worse birth in australian history. I tried to commit soccersuide.
PLz help Me

APR, 13, 2018 03:33:05 PM
How can i survive this? I grew up a bit shy and people pleaser. Now am having low self esteem and anxiety that have made my body to be stiff whrn i walk or among people. This have made me lose the way i used to walk and feel free. Its like someone is watching me and i begin to walk terrible. This whole situation have made me have bad facial expresion because i think people talk about me. I even tried to commite suicide twice. Can someone share an idea or advice if had such horrible esperience

APR, 04, 2018 03:50:09 AM
I had extremely low self-esteem as a child and teen. When I met my husband, his love convinced me I could be worthwhile. But, it wasn't until I started valuing myself regardless of what he and others thought that I began to put addictions, anxiety, and depression behind me. Now, I'm not saying I'm totally immune to those things now. Growing up feeling unloveable may always be a part of my consciousness. However, I feel that if those problems do come up, they will be mild and fleeting, because I've built a solid foundation of self-worth. It took decades of therapy, but I have arrived!

FEB, 24, 2018 07:07:34 PM
I've been dealing with low self-esteem all my life. and a negative view of my own reality. This is material I use to help. Try picking up a book by Katy Richards for building confidence, check out liveboldandbloom.com for numerous tips on similar topics. And Jay Earley on IFS.
Also, try Mark Tyrell with uncommonhelp.com. Also, check out the program lead by John Demartini
work on your relationships. the good ones. Avoid the bad ones that reinforce mental walls that stop you from seeing the unique vibrant person you are.
For me it took 1 person to show me I had value and to see it in myself. But also, continuing to test limiting beliefs is key to growth

JAN, 30, 2018 04:51:12 AM
amol joshi
A classic annoying symptom of low <a href="https://www.ishq.com/5-signs-partner-serious-self-esteem-issues/">Self esteem</a> constant reassurance of love. Well, love is surely going to evaporate into thin air every time you ask them the same question. Even they have bosses and deadlines breathing down their neck. Amidst this, a non-trusting partner is really annoying.

DEC, 06, 2017 01:12:11 AM
Nice sharing !! I really appreciate your writing. Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health, leading to problems like depression and anxiety. Here is a list of websities of psychology you can follow more tips .

1. PsychCentral
2.Psychology Today
3. <a href = "http://www.livingwellpsych.com.au/">Living Well Psychology Clinic</a>
4.Pacific Standard

NOV, 22, 2017 10:14:46 AM

AUG, 21, 2017 07:33:01 AM
Mo Nemat
I want more about cause low self esteem.
I am anunwanted child and be sick up to 5 years . Several times hospital send me home because they could not do a y thing and wanted me did in peace at home.
But I am surviver. But with low low low self esteem.
What do recomend.

AUG, 20, 2017 06:22:48 PM
For those of you saying what to do about self esteem .. The artical clearly states that good diet , exercising and meditation can be used to practice self love

JUL, 01, 2017 04:04:33 PM
I have many mental health disorders, because of being traumatized early on in my childhood. Despite receiving professional help, I still cannot find a reasonable outlet for my anger.

FEB, 09, 2017 02:25:14 PM
Skyler Doucet
I have very bad self-love issues. I cant control the way i think, and when i notice stuff that makes me feel less about myself the thoughts spiral. I begin feeling like i dont matter and my life has no real significance. Ive thought about a support group, but am anxious because i dont believe in God, and most of the ones ive seen are in a church and so i assume they are all about accepting god and stuff. I get better for a little while but eventually i start noticing things again. What can i do?

JUL, 13, 2016 03:41:26 AM
I don't know what to do anymore my son has no friends come over anymore. He wont accept Jesus to help him. He has a stomach disorder, we don't know what is wrong with his stomach, now on top if his mental illness. I can't even leave the house to work or have a life with my son.

JUL, 12, 2016 11:57:49 AM
I have self-esteem issues, Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. I am currently seeking help and a peer-to-peer program to help me get through some of my self-esteem issues. I have decided to take a break from my husband and move in with my mother who has overcome some of the same issues herself and will hopefully be attending an out-patient program near her home town. Please help me find a peer for the peer-to-peer program to help satisfy my level of care needs. I have a strong desire to overcome and get back with my husband.

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