Mental Health Awareness Week: Self-esteem

Posted: 11 May 2017 at 7:15 am | Author: Alison German

Self-esteem refers to the beliefs that we have about ourselves.

This includes the opinions we have about our personalities, character traits, behaviours, abilities, strengths and weaknesses.

People with healthy self-esteems will generally have a positive opinion of themselves. As such, although these people will experience tough times, they will be able to cope better than someone with low self-esteem. People with low self-esteem are more vulnerable to developing mental health problems, because they tend to focus on their weakness and find it harder to pinpoint good things about themselves.  As a result they blame themselves when bad things happen and find it harder to cope with failure.

Having a healthy self-esteem is important, because how we view ourselves has a huge influence on our mental wellbeing. Low self-esteem is not recognised as a mental health problem in itself; however it tends to feed into common mental health problems such as anxiety or depression.

Low self-esteem makes it harder to push yourself to try new things and take on challenges; this can stop you from making the progress in life that you want to, and eventually pave the way to depression overtime. Mental health problems then knock your self-esteem levels further, and so a seemingly never-ending cycle of negativity continues and becomes harder to overcome.

Everybody’s self-esteem could do with a boost occasionally, however if you feel your self-esteem is hindering your ability to live a fulfilling life; there are ways you can help to boost your opinion of yourself. The key to solving issues surrounding self-esteem is challenging negative beliefs. You could do this by pursing hobbies that build confidence (choosing a hobby you feel you have a natural ability in will help!), and doing things that can bring you happiness and give you a sense of achievement, for example doing paid work, voluntary work or caring for somebody else.

Low self-esteem is sometimes encouraged by the people around you. Are you surrounded by groups that encourage negativity and critical thinking? If so, you should seriously think about how you can reduce the influence these individuals have over your decision making and thought processes. This might be as simple as telling them how their behaviour impacts your opinion of yourself in a negative way. Alternatively, sometimes the better option is to distance yourself from toxic people and put more time and energy into those who support and care for you.

Further information on how you can improve your self-esteem can be found here.

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