Low self-esteem can contribute to levels of anxiety especially in times of high stress or situations that provoke negative emotions.
In addition, anxiety can make you feel worse about yourself and make it harder to raise self-esteem.
This article will cover what causes self-esteem, how it is related to anxiety, and what you can do to raise your own self-confidence. But first, let’s look at what self-esteem really is.
What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is the view that you have of your own self, identity, and persona. A healthy self-esteem tends to be positive and optimistic with a hint of realistic criticism. This type of self-esteem will inspire confidents in the challenges that you face.
Low self-esteem is overly critical and judgmental and corresponds with negativity and self-doubt.
If you have low self-esteem, the voice in your head may teel you that you are dumb or worthless. This type of self-esteem contributes to anxiety, sadness, and lack of motivation.
What Causes Low Self-Esteem?
While there is no single cause of low self-esteem, there are some factors that can increase the likelihood of developing low self-esteem. Early childhood experiences have a significant impact on self-esteem. Abuse or neglect can have a detrimental affect on the way a person feels about themselves. Harsh punishment may even play a role because it forms the belief in a child’s mind that they deserved to be punished severely.
Even not being sufficiently praised and loved can have an impact on self-esteem. Positive reinforcement is important for development and the lack of praise can lead a child to believe that they are not good enough. Failing to meet the standards of your peers can also contribute to low self-esteem.
If you have an anxiety disorder, then you probably have worrisome and intrusive thoughts. These though processes can also make self-esteem worse and low self-esteem can contribute to worsened anxiety. Part of the reason for this is because anxiety disorders can make you more critical of yourself. Anxiety disorders can also cause catastrophic thinking which coincides with the negativity and pessimism of low self-esteem.
Self-esteem is important for positivity and well-being. However, that does not necessarily make it any easier to improve your own self-esteem and confidence levels. Here are some tips that you can use to help you feel better about yourself!
Keep Track of Experiences
Low self-esteem and anxiety can make us focus on the negative experiences while ignoring the positive ones. It is a good idea to look at the reality of things and identify the times when we are accepted in addition to the times when there is rejection.
This can help you challenge the criticism of yourself. Challenging our critical inner voice can be highly beneficial when it comes to improving self-esteem. The way that we speak to ourselves is sometimes far from what the reality is. You can keep track of your thoughts and challenge them if they are not true. Over time, this can alter thought patterns to more positive tones and inner voice.
Anxiety coupled with low self-esteem can make it hard to do things. It can strike fear in our hearts and lead to avoidance behaviors. We may not want to interact with others or may feel like inaction is better than potential failure. However, taking action and seeking out social interaction and taking healthy risks can help us build up positive self-esteem.
Then, when you find that you succeeded or had fun with others, focus on the positive aspects of those experiences. Anxiety can lead to thoughts about limitations or negative aspects, but taking the time and effort to focus on the good things about these experiences can be highly beneficial.
Check Your Predictions
When we are anxious, we focus on our fears of what could possibly happen. This motivates us to stay safe (and may contribute to inaction as well). It can be good for self-confidence and negative self-talk to check our predictions that our anxious thoughts make. Sure, some of them may come true, but you may find that a lot of the fears and anxieties that you have are not based in reality and do not come true.
If we find that the things that we are worried about rarely come true, then we will gradually come to the realization that our anxious thoughts are not logical. This can make it easier to challenge them and lead to more positive thoughts.
Healthy habits can be great for your mental health and help you form a positive perspective. Make sure that you sleep enough every night. Eat healthy foods to feed your body and your mind. Exercise is also a great way to improve mental health and can make you feel good about improving your overall physical health.
It is also important that you do things that you enjoy. Having a hobby that you love can boost dopamine levels among other things that can make us feel good about ourselves. It can also give us time to relax and focus on something enjoyable without anxious thoughts about the things that are worrisome in our daily life.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal can be great for both anxiety and low self-esteem. Journaling can help you identify negative thoughts patterns, accept who you are, and allow you to recognize the positive things in your life. Some people like to write things that you are grateful for. Other people like to write about positive experiences. You may also find that writing down your expectations (both negative and positive) and the reality of what happened can help you challenge your anxious thoughts that may not be realistic or logical.
If you feel like your anxiety or low self-esteem are severely impacting your ability to be happy or productive, then you may want to find a therapist. A therapist can help you change your thought patterns or learn techniques that can help you think positively. It is possible to improve low self-esteem and symptoms associated with anxiety, but sometimes it is difficult to do so on our own.
A therapist can also provide you with someone to talk to about things that you may not feel comfortable sharing with your friends or family. If there is underlying root of your anxiety or low self-esteem, then a therapist can help you address that cause as well.
Anxiety and low self-esteem often go hand in hand and can harm your sense of confidence, your mood, your ability to function, and your overall quality of life. However, it is possible to improve your self-esteem and reduce your anxiety levels.
You can start by developing positive lifestyle habits like regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and a healthy diet. You may also want to learn mindfulness meditation techniques. If you cannot seem to improve your low self-esteem or anxiety on your own, then you can always seek the help of a qualified mental health professional.