Your sense of self-worth will impact every arena of your life. Your job, your relationships, and even your physical and mental health are a reflection of your self-esteem. But what exactly helps shape your view of yourself and your abilities? The truth is that your level of self-esteem may have grown or shrunk based on how people have treated you in the past and the evaluations you’ve made about your life and your choices.

The good news is that you have a fair amount of control when it comes to increasing your level of self-worth. There are simple, concrete changes you can make that challenge your mind and your body. One such change is to take steps to reduce negative thinking and build up positive, encouraging thoughts about the person you are and can be.

Replace Negative With Positive Thinking

  1. Identify triggers – To increase the level of positive thinking in your day-to-day life, you first have to recognize what people, places, and things promote negative thinking. Maybe it’s the balance in your bank account, or perhaps it’s a coworker who’s always complaining. You can’t change certain situations, but you can change how you react to them and understand them. That starts with paying attention to what makes you feel sad or anxious.
  1. Take notes – There’s an ongoing dialogue, or “self-talk,” always happening in your brain as you go about your day. This self-talk takes in the world around you and makes evaluations about yourself and others. So take the time to start noticing any interesting trends in this dialogue. Is this thinking based on facts? Or is it usually leaning towards the irrational, always assuming the worst in a situation?
  2. Challenge your thinking – If you see yourself jumping to conclusions, or always downplaying the positive about yourself, then you have to step up and add some positive thinking to your self-talk. Learning to focus on the positive and to encourage yourself is a lot like a strengthening a muscle. You have to exercise your brain a little every day to develop a capacity for positive thinking, to forgive yourself when you make mistakes, and to learn to give yourself credit when you accomplish a goal.
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Take an Inventory

 If you’re unsure where you rank when it comes to self-esteem, taking an inventory of your personal qualities can help. If you find yourself listing more weaknesses than strengths, this might be a sign that you tend to be too hard on yourself. Consider what talents, abilities, and passions you have not listed or maybe even discovered yet. Never assume you know everything about yourself and what you’re capable of. People with high self-esteem leave room for self-discovery every day.

Acknowledge Successes

Often people with low self-esteem will dismiss their successes as luck or chance. Or they might focus on not being perfect rather than highlighting how far they have come. People with high self-esteem take the time to celebrate their accomplishments. They say, “Thank you,” when people compliment them, rather than dismissing their praise. This doesn’t mean that people with high-self esteem are arrogant or narcissistic; they just have faith in their abilities and acknowledge successes when they do happen.

Stop Comparing Yourself

Other people can’t be the standard when it comes to your self-esteem. This is because you’ll always find someone who appears better than you or more capable than you in any arena of life. Social media certainly doesn’t help, as researchers have found that people who check social media very frequently are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem. Remind yourself that people usually only share the best parts of their life online. Your own life should be the yardstick rather than others’ lives because what is your best may not be someone else’s, and vice versa. Remind yourself that any time you make an improvement or prevent yourself from repeating a mistake, you are making progress.

Practice Self-Care

The more you demonstrate that you value your health, the more you develop a capacity for loving other parts of yourself. Listen to your body and avoid foods that make you feel irritable or tired. Eating healthy and exercising also can increase positive thinking and help you feel more encouraged about your future. If you spend time with people who care about you, you may find that suddenly it’s easier for you to care for yourself.

Remember that learning positive thinking and developing healthy lifestyle strategies aren’t going to be overnight miracles. Being kind to yourself and increasing your sense of self-worth takes time, practice, and patience. But the more you challenge your thoughts and perspectives, the greater joy you can find in yourself and your abilities. You’ll feel proud of how far you’ve come, and you’ll look forward to the future.

Last Updated: Mar 27, 2018