How Lifestyle Choices Can Boost Your Self-Esteem

Bolster your self-confidence by increasing your physical exercise and taking the time to participate in activities you enjoy

Taking the time to enjoy the things you like in life, like that delicious cup of coffee, can greatly increase your self-esteem

Low self-esteem can be hard to overcome, so surround yourself with supportive people and positive things

Low self-esteem isn’t considered a mental health problem, but anyone who’s suffered from feelings of inferiority and worthlessness can attest that it can have a profound effect on your well-being.

Having a poor opinion of yourself can diminish your ability to cope with life’s stresses. As a result, you may be at higher risk of going on to develop health problems such as eating disorders or depression.

What Causes Low Self-esteem?

Causes of low self-esteem are varied and complex. Negative experiences in childhood, however, often play a role. When your sense of self is in its early stages, hurtful moments can leave you believing you’re not valued. So can having your physical and emotional needs in childhood neglected.

Negative events in adulthood can contribute as well. Experiences such as abuse, bullying or harassment at work, trauma and job loss can all chip away at self-value.

Lifestyle Choices that Improve Self-esteem

On the positive side, there are several steps you can take to bolster your self-confidence. Regular exercise is a big one. Physical activity boosts mood as well as overall health.

Getting adequate rest is crucial too, since fatigue exaggerates negative feelings. Mindfulness, which means paying attention to the present moment, through techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga, has been shown to help people handle their feelings instead of being overwhelmed by them.

Talk therapy can help people overcome poor self-image, as can support groups and self-help resources.

Other tips? Avoid putting yourself down or comparing yourself to others. Acknowledge your abilities and positive qualities. Spend time with supportive people and participate in activities you like. Focus on the good things in your life, and treat yourself with kindness and encouragement, just as you would a dear friend.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.