HomeHealthWellbeing

How to boost your sense of self-worth

How to boost your sense of self-worth

Self-esteem is a key determinant when it comes to your mental and physical health. Learn about the importance of self-esteem and ways to bolster your self-worth

Scientists are learning more and more every day about the link between your mind and your health. Stress, depression and anger have all been shown to pave the way to illness and disease. On the other hand, if you feel good about yourself, have a positive outlook and stay active and involved, you’re more likely to be happy and healthy.

The importance of self-esteem

How to boost your sense of self-worth - confident woman pointing finger at her reflection in mirrorCredit: miss_j

Many things—genetics, environment, the food you eat, illness, sleep, even the seasons—influence your emotional state, but at the heart of it is how you regard yourself. If you have a healthy level of self-esteem, you not only cope with life’s challenges better, but you’re probably more content, confident and successful. You’re likely also healthier.

Studies show that a more positive self-esteem helps inoculate people against depression and anxiety, conditions that may pose an increased risk of everything from colds and viruses to osteoporosis to heart disease.

"Many things influence your emotional state, but at the heart of it is how you regard yourself"

Most people’s sense of worth is rooted in their childhood—in the early approval or disapproval of parents, teachers and friends. As we get older, however, most of us judge ourselves by our sense of how effectively we’re managing in the world, especially in the areas of love and work.

Our ability to love and be loved can give our lives a sense of purpose and deep fulfilment. We can also find satisfaction and pride in work-related accomplishments, and the people we meet and work with can reinforce our sense of self and our role in life.

Once midlife comes along, however, our self-esteem can take a turn in response to the changes in our lives. Marital relationships may change, children may leave home and we may begin to scale back on work as we approach retirement. Of course, the view in the mirror may not be what it used to be either.

Bolstering your self-worth

How to boost your sense of self-worth - a woman in a yellow sweater journalling on the couchCredit: PeopleImages

If you find that your self-esteem is eroding a little, there are plenty of ways to build it back up again.

1. Reframe your identity

Redefine what you base your sense of self-worth on. Instead of “sales manager”, “stock market analyst” or “mother”, start thinking of yourself as “community organiser”, “literacy volunteer”, “great cook”, “gifted gardener” and more.

2. Talk back to your inner critic

Become conscious of how hard you are being on yourself and counter a negative attitude with positive self-talk.

3. Let yourself off the hook

As the saying goes, it is better to try something and fail than to not try anything. Focus on goals that are linked to activities you are interested in so you will enjoy a sense of purpose and derive pleasure from the pursuit whether or not you achieve your goal in full.

"Focus on goals that are linked to activities you are interested in so you will enjoy a sense of purpose"

4. Take time for yourself

Read the paper, keep a journal or go for a swim. This is especially important for those who are often busy nurturing others that they neglect their own needs and interests.

older man running with earphones inCredit: jacoblund

5. Keep your body healthy

Eat a balanced diet and stay physically active to keep your body in good shape, whether it means taking the stairs more or working out with a personal trainer. You will look better, feel better and have more energy for new activities.

6. Give yourself kudos

Remind yourself of your best qualities and make a list of them. Are you fun to be around, thoughtful, generous? Keep adding to the list and pull it out whenever you need a boost.

"Remind yourself of your best qualities and make a list of them"

Learn to see the positive side of your faults, too. For example, if you think you chat on the phone too much, remember that you also value your friends and nurture your relationships.

Banner credit: Tamer Dagas

Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter

 

*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...