Anxiety and self esteem tend to be inversely proportional, when one is high, the other is low.
In our last post, we looked at how dealing with a lifetime of anxiety and panic lead to my having a very low self esteem. My situation is not unique. Those of us with anxiety disorders often beat ourselves up mentally. Therefore, we can certainly benefit from increased self esteem.
So without ado, here are 7 Ways to Increase Self Esteem:
1. Start your day on the right foot. Before you leave in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself the biggest, most loving smile in the world. (Even better: give yourself a hug!) Say aloud ‘I can handle anything that comes my way today!’
2. Greet everyone you meet today with a pleasant face and direct eye contact. You don’t need to have a big goofy grin, just a pleasant face. This conveys confidence and spreads good will. Making eye contact is excellent practice for overcoming social anxiety.
3. Act As If you have a healthy self confidence. When you ACT AS IF you have confidence again and again, eventually it starts to become a habit. It only takes about 2 to 3 dozen repetitions for the human brain to learn a new behavior. So ACT AS IF and you soon will be!
4. Don’t center your conversations around your problems. Instead try to focus on positive, healthy things: that great new recipe you tried, a new book you recommend, how nice it is that spring will be here soon, your daughter is really enjoying her dance class, etc. You get the picture
5. Watch for negative behaviors. Notice if you are eating when not hungry, spending too much time alone, avoiding activities, or blaming others for your problems. These are clues that you feel bad about something. Pinpoint the negative behavior (such as eating when you’re not hungry) and figure out what it is that you feel bad about. You might identify that you feel frustrated because you have so much work to do. Then do something about it—make a list of what you need to do, and start tackling one task at a time.
6. Take positive action steps every day towards your goals. Your goal may be to overcome your generalized anxiety disorder. Things you can do today: read a great book on the subject such as Hope and Help for Your Nerves or Panic Away, get active on anxiety forums.
Do something little to challenge your fears – go for a drive, take a little walk, go to the grocery store… Then talk to a support person, leave a comment here, or journal about how you did.
7. Practice gratitude. Having an attitude of gratitude is proven to increase the overall quality of life. It is also and excellent tool to get you out of a slump. Think upon the things you are grateful in your life. Make an A to Z gratitude list in your head or on paper. Just let your thoughts free flow and plug in something for every letter.
Here’s an example of how I can start my A to Z gratitude list today:
- A - I am thankful for Al-Anon. It is a wonderful program and I have made many lifelong friends there.
- B – I am grateful for my dog Buddy. He is the best dog in the world and he loves me like crazy.
- C – I am grateful for Challenges. I may not like it at the time, but after the fact, I am grateful for challenges. Every time I meet a challenge, I get an inner lift, and my spirit soars.
By the time you’re done with this list, you will feel fantastic.
Some of these behaviors might feel odd at first, but I’m here to say they really do work, so do them anyways. As you increase self esteem, you start to feel better about yourself, and your anxiety will lessen.
It took me awhile to learn not to center my conversations around my problems. For years this was all I ever did – I was a real downer. But when I started to talk about lighter subjects, I felt better and I truly believe this helped me
Use these tips to help you increase self esteem. If you have a tip, please share it so we can all benefit!
I wish you peace,