Self esteem and self confidence are strange things. I always find it funny that people with low self esteem (including me!) are so quick to reassure other people. For example if a friend is taking their driving test and they are really nervous, we will assure them that they will be great, they can do it, we believe in them etc. But when the tables are turned we seem unable to tell ourselves the same thing. Why is this? Do we underestimate what we are capable of? Is our self esteem so low that it sucks away any confidence that we had in ourselves? What I find even more bizarre is what happens after we successfully do whatever it was that had us nervous. We get a little lift for a while but it doesn’t last. The next time we are faced with a challenge we forget the success we had last time and go back to worrying or believing that we won’t be able to do it!
I believe this is especially true for people with mental health conditions. I feel that low self esteem worsens my anxiety, one feeds the other and it can turn into a vicious circle! I’m often told “You just need to believe in yourself more!”. Obviously its not that simple but I do believe that low self esteem can have a negative impact on mental health. I took to Twitter and asked the following question:
Do you have low self esteem? Do you think it contributes to your MH condition?
@vickymummyrc: Yes rock bottom self esteem and definitely exacerbates my MH and prevents progress at times
@Dev_AU: Very low and I think it’s always gone hand in hand with my mental health problems, each makes the other worse
@saraphoenix2014: Yeah I have low self esteem. It seems to fuel my bipolar on really bad days. Or it could be the other way around…not sure!
@Lababup: Low self esteem certainly feeds in to my MH problems. In turn, mental illness though has further dented my self esteem.
I love hearing your opinions on these things and the results were pretty conclusive. It seems that a lot of people feel that low self esteem contributes towards or worsens their mental health condition. I decided to do a bit more digging and found the following quotes on the Mind UK website.
“Negative thinking patterns associated with low self-esteem, such as assuming you will fail at things you do, can develop over time and lead to mental health problems such as depression or anxiety.”
“Low self-esteem and mental health problems can reinforce each other, creating an unhelpful cycle.”
My self esteem seems to have crashed over the last couple of weeks. I’m not sure if there’s a particular reason, some of my relationships have become strained lately, maybe that contributed? Anyway I have decided that I need to try to boost my self esteem in order to keep improving my anxiety. I have came up with a couple of strategies, I have no idea if they will work but I’ll keep you all posted.
- Take more care in my appearance. My mood over the last couple of weeks has been low. My hair needs dying again, I have inch long roots and I have the hair dye in the cupboard but I haven’t got around to doing it. I don’t wear makeup during the day very often but lately I can’t even be bothered to put my lipstick on. It kinda feels like I’ve decided that I don’t deserve to look my best, I don’t really understand but I’m going to change that! I’m going to dye my hair and apply lippy =) They say “Look good, feel good!” and if nothing else it’ll mean I stop thinking that I look a total mess!
- Look after my physical health. I’m still eating whole grain and I’m pretty healthy but I want to make sure I’m getting my 5 a day everyday ! I’ll also make sure to stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep =)
- Make plenty of “Me” time. I’m going to try to make time to have a bath or read or even just watch rubbish TV with a glass of wine. My house can be like Waterloo Station sometimes so I’ll try to take some time out when I can.
- Keep working on the bucket list and add to it! I do like setting myself little challenges, I get a little lift each time I finish one but it doesn’t last. So I want to tick some more things off my bucket list and think of some more things to add to it. I’m hoping that eventually the “See, you can do it!” feeling will last!
Do you have any tips on managing self esteem? Please get in touch =)