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Let's face it, we all have days where we feel less than perfect about ourselves. I know I do. Our hair just doesn't seem to fall right, our clothes are ill-fitting, we keep making mistakes, or something is just out of whack with our day. Although the occurrence of viewing ourselves in a less-than-ideal manner is natural, the feeling shouldn't linger all day.
Sadly, thousands of individuals, unfortunately, feel negative about themselves; albeit their appearance or current circumstances. This means you're not alone if you feel this way.
In fact, Dr. Joe Rubino, the author of “The Self Esteem Book”, reported that over 85% of the world's population suffers from low self-esteem. Say what! 85%? WHOA!!!! This statistic leaves us with a world full of beautiful people who are unable to see their beauty for themselves.
Are we all doomed to live and die in an unhappy state? Surely, not! Fortunately, the battle of esteem can easily be won because humans are creatures of habit. Each of these habits contributes to our emotional state in one way or another. How can you overcome a pesky habit? By taking an action that is different from your prior actions.
Negative self-thinking is a learned habit that can be conquered by changing the way you think. With a few tips and tricks, you'll be able to heighten your opinion of yourself and live a life of purpose. Please keep in mind that these are practices and when forgotten about they do not work.
1) Repeat Daily Self-Affirmations
(Trick Your Brain to Happy Thoughts)
Self-affirmations are an excellent way to identify your strengths. In fact, a research study found that individuals who practiced positive thinking after receiving a serious diagnosis of an illness were able to process the information and develop positive coping strategies.
One excerpt reads, "Two recent sets of research findings suggest that positive beliefs and experiences increase attention to useful self-relevant negative information and thus may facilitate effective coping."
If positive self-thinking can assist with life-altering illnesses, surely it can help you to develop a positive self-image. At the very least, it's not going to hurt to try out this practice.
I like to pick affirmations that I have a hard time believing. For instance, “I AM good enough” is something I have written on a board and displayed in my living area as a visual reminder. I then say it out loud to myself, especially on days when I feel the complete opposite. I'm a recovering perfectionist and this is ongoing for me. The more I practice saying it out loud, the easier it becomes to believe what I am saying about myself. It sounds silly, but it works.
How do you practice self-affirmations?
It's simple, repeat to yourself the reasons why you love yourself. Many like to stare in the mirror and list their positive qualities daily. You can even use a dry-erase marker to write these affirmations on your mirror. Others find success by writing down five to ten of their favorable traits in a notebook or journaling about them.
The key here is to focus on what you appreciate about yourself or what you want to believe about yourself; not others. Once you've gotten into the habit of feeding your mind with positive affirmation, you will find that the previous negative voice will begin to quell. Changing your thinking is crucial if you want to raise your self-esteem. You have to believe you are great in order to exude it. This is a fake it-till-you-make-it trick.
10 Examples of Affirmations
I AM beautiful.
I AM good enough.
I AM smart.
I AM a great friend to have.
I AM energetic and full of charisma.
I AM capable of achieving my goals.
I AM deserving of good things.
I AM strong enough to make it through anything.
I AM lovable.
I AM confident with all I say and do.
2) Practice Living Well - Get Happy Endorfins
Living well isn't limited to engaging in exciting activities or making tons of cash. It's a deeper connection to your body, mind, and spirit. Balancing these three can really help induce feelings of joy and well-being.
Your gut and the foods you consume have a lot to do with how your moods fluctuate. New scientific research is denoting our gut as our second brain. When it is functioning at optimum levels then the rest of the body's organs have better vitality. It also helps to regulate the happy chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.
In fact, foods high in dairy and processed sugars are recipes for disaster if you're trying to think positively. They wreak havoc on your gut and alter your happy chemicals. Being mindful of what you put into your body can make you glow from the inside out! Aiming to eat raw or lightly cooked fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors daily will increase your overall health and boost the way you feel.
In addition to eating well, engaging in some sort of physical activity is beneficial to your overall health. It doesn't have to be anything hard or strenuous, it just has to be something. It can be a simple walk, dancing while you prep your healthy meal, playing fetch with your dog, light stretching, or anything else that gets you away from sitting down. Move your body any way you like and feels good to you. The point is to just move it!
Getting outside and basking in the sun will boost your serotonin and Vitamin D. Both are essential to your body's functions and contribute heavily to how you feel. Fifteen minutes a day in the sun is all you need to gain maximum solar support. It's no wonder we get so blue in the wintertime when it's mostly gray and cloudy.
When you take care of your body, you'll see changes in how you view yourself. As your body adjusts to a healthy diet or more movement you begin to feel healthier and stronger. When you feel healthier and stronger you begin to feel happier overall.
Mindset is everything and most of the time we walk around unconscious of the the thoughts we are thinking. They simply come to mind and stay there or brew up a thought storm. Creating habits and activities that help to redirect your focus also helps to redirect your mindset.
We already talked affirmations which is one way of consciously focusing on your mindset. What about other ways?
Read a novel, preferably a happier one. This helps to engage your mind in a world that is outside of your own. You can forget about simple worries and troubles as you focus on a fictional character's life. It's not any kind of permanent fix, but it sure does help you redirect to a specific moment.
Pick up some type of self-help book or non-fiction that has a more positive focus. We think and ponder upon the information we are taking in. If you intentionally fill your mind with positive thoughts then they begin to swirl around in the ethers of your imagination. If you do this long enough then they will replace some of those negative thoughts that often keep us stuck in life.
“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz
"Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert
"The Happiness Advantage" by John Achor
Aren't much of a reader? That's okay. You can listen to audiobooks instead. If books aren't your thing, then you're in luck. With the internet, you can listen to or watch anything! Hooray for the modern age! I am a fan of YouTube and there are tons of motivational talks and videos out there. You can find anything you want to have thoughts around and listen to or watch so that it becomes a frontal focus in your thinking.
One last little mind trick for you is to surround yourself with sights, sounds, and smells that invoke happiness within you. Place art around that makes you smile when you look at it. Play music that lifts your spirit when you hear it. Diffuse scents that carry you to an elevated dimension when you smell them. Turn your environment into something that makes you feel happy to simply be there. Trick your mind through your senses, you'll be glad you tried.
Your spirit is ultimately getting in touch with your center and your true self. It is your true essence. It's the you that has not been tainted by the trials and traumas of life or dissuaded by false belief systems. It's who you long to be because it's who you are at your core. When you can tap into your true essence you are able to experience yourself as divine and happiness finds you.
Here are a few practices that can help you get in touch with yourself.
* Go out in nature for a few hours. You can do any activity you like, but let nature surround you and help quiet your uncontrollable thoughts.
* Take up mindful meditation daily.
* Walk a labyrinth.
* Focus on only your breathing for five minutes.
* Hug a tree for a full minute.
* Spend time journaling each day.
Simply taking time in your busy schedule to focus on yourself can drastically improve how you feel about yourself overall. Why not try it today?
3) Choose Your Company Wisely
You don't pick your family but you do pick your friends.
Self-esteem starts from within. However, surrounding yourself with positive people will only encourage you to continue to think happy thoughts about yourself. They say that we are most like the top five people we choose to surround ourselves with. What kind of people are you hanging out with? Do they encourage negative or positive thinking?
Choosing companions who honor your strengths and acknowledge how great you are creates a healthy and happier space. It's really important to have good healthy relationships with those you allow into your life. The danger in attempting to improve your self-esteem while surrounding yourself with negative people is that their mentality will eventually rub off on you.
You’ll begin to live in that space of negative thinking without even realizing the repercussions. People who inspire you, motivate you, and challenge you are friends that will support your esteem. They respect you, so they would never intentionally attempt to taint your character. After you’ve established a firm hold on how you view yourself, it will be easy to attract like-minded people who think similarly.
The point? Find friends who lift you up and you can have healthy relationships with them. Cut out relationships that are toxic to your well-being. Find and surround yourself with positive people and let their energy rub off on you.
You have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. Why not make the experience a great one? We all have so many unique talents and opportunities to give to the world. It’s only right that we see the beauty we possess within ourselves.
By making the above tips a form of habit, you’ll be well on your way to improving how you see yourself and living a purpose-filled life. If you want help in adding things to your life that help you feel happier you can create your self-care toolkit. Get The Self-Care Toolkit Checklist HERE.