Happy Healthy You: Emotional
Self-esteem supports emotional health in significant ways. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines self-esteem as: "the degree to which the qualities and characteristics contained in one's self-concept are perceived to be positive." It includes one's physical self-image, personal view of one's accomplishments and capabilities, and perception of other people's responses to their whole person.
Tips to boost self-esteem for optimal emotional health:
- Surround yourself with supportive people. Developing relationships with people who encourage you to pursue your unique interests and skills and who embrace a growth mindset rather than a stagnant one can be helpful.
- Look inward for validation, not outward. Taking the time to think about and assess your positive traits and skills can help you develop positive self-talk that ultimately improves self-esteem. Reflect on your strengths, values, and qualities, and embrace individuality.
- Stop the negative self-talk. Negative self-talk isn't always a self-critique of specific characteristics or traits. It can also be an outlook as to whether something is possible or you can achieve a goal you want to achieve. Research suggests that positive self-talk can lead to improved self-esteem and emotional well-being.
- Set realistic goals. Setting and achieving goals can be a way to develop self-esteem because you can see your capabilities expanding. SMART goal setting (SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based) and goal achievement are linked to increased self-esteem and well-being.
- Practice self-compassion. Often, we are much harsher towards ourselves than others. Self-compassion can lead to less comparison, more open-mindedness, and less self-rumination.
- Get active. Regular exercise has been shown to improve mood and self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Get enough sleep. Getting more sleep can help improve mood and cognitive function, which can, in turn, enhance self-esteem. It can also improve energy levels and reduce irritability.
- Develop new skills. Personal development that gives you confidence in your abilities, whether at home, work, or in your relationships, can boost your self-esteem.
- Make time for the things you enjoy. Things that make you feel good will help you feel good about yourself.
- Consider talking to a therapist. Self-esteem is impacted by the situations and experiences you face throughout your life, particularly in the family and cultural environment in which you were raised. It can be helpful to explore trauma and damage to self-esteem from the past.
- Emotional Wellness Toolkit
- How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain
- 7 Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude in Your Everyday Life
- 9 Ways to Cultivate Emotional Wellness