Thoughts can set off chain reactions that build self-esteem or undermine it. Authority over our minds is the ultimate power.
“Mind is everything. What you think you become,”said Buddha.
Next, are our actions. Change begins in the mind but is manifested and amplified by our actions. How we behave can change our thoughts and feelings. They change us.
Spend 15 minutes doing the following each day, and watch your whole life change:
Mindfulness brings awareness to our thoughts. It’s merely the ability to observe our thinking in a dispassionate, neutral way. Research has shown that mindfulness meditation has numerous benefits, including:
- Reduced rumination
- Reduced stress
- Increased working memory
- Increased ability to focus
- Increased empathy
- Increased self-esteem and self-compassion
- Reduced reactivity
- Increased cognitive flexibility
- Increased relationship satisfaction
- Increased speed of information processing
- Other benefits. Mindfulness has been shown to enhance self-insight, morality, intuition and fear modulation, and other health and brain functioning benefits.
Mindfulness also changes how we perceive reality so that events don’t automatically affect us and our self-concept.
According to research, how you speak to yourself can have a huge effect on self-esteem. Self-talk can improve or ruin your mindset, mood, relationships, and job satisfaction and performance. Self-criticism is the biggest obstacle to good self-esteem. To overcome self-criticism, the first step is becoming conscious of your negative self-talk. Mindfulness helps, but so does writing down your negative self-talk. Start replacing the negative with positive, self-affirming statements. Beware, however, that if you tell yourself things you don’t believe, your efforts can backfire. Your unconscious is very literal and doesn’t distinguish between what you tell yourself and what others say to you.
Make a Gratitude List
Cultivating “An attitude of gratitude” has numerous health and psychological benefits. Among them, studies show that it will:
- Increased quality sleep
- Increased time exercising
- Increased vitality and energy
- Increased physical and psychological health
- Increased empathy
- Increased self-esteem
- Increase productivity and decision-making ability
- Increased resiliency in overcoming trauma
- Reduced depression (by a whopping 35%)
It can be hard to feel grateful when you don’t, especially when you have depression, anxiety, trauma, or physical pain. An easy way to begin is to keep a daily journal and write 3-10 things you’re grateful for. In doing this daily, your mind will start looking for things each day to add to your list.
Make a Plan
Not only has research shown that goal setting increases both motivation and performance, but it also enhances positive feelings and our sense of well-being, self-efficacy, success, and job satisfaction. Each day writes daily objectives. For me, it works better to do this the night before. If you have a lot on your mind that interferes with falling sleep, making a to-do list can get them off your mind. It’s important not to abandon yourself. When you don’t feel like doing something, like paying bills or exercising, do it anyway. Larger goals require more thought and planning, but research shows that the more difficult the goal, the greater the pay-off. This makes sense since the greater achievement would build more self-confidence and self-esteem. When you have a bigger goal, break it down into small, daily, actionable steps.
Do Estimable Acts
Actions count a lot. Doing things in line with your values that raises your self-esteem and elevates your mood. Conversely, doing things that make you feel ashamed or guilty undermines self-worth. Aside from living in accordance with our values, such as not lying or stealing, making an effort to do things that build self-esteem pays off. Plan to do one each day. Examples are:
- Writing a thank you note
- Sending birthday cards
- Calling a sick friend
- Cleaning out a closet
- Staying on top of filing, bill-paying, etc. (not procrastinating)
- Volunteering to help someone or a group
- Setting a boundary
- Speaking up about your wants and needs
- Showing appreciation to others
- Apologizing when you’re wrong
- Making a special meal
- Self-care, including keeping medical appointments