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Low self-esteem is a problem that affects many people, particularly adolescents and young adults, and it can have a seriously deleterious effect on one's day-to-day life. An individual with low self-esteem is prone to criticize himself heavily, fear mistakes, feel guilty for no reason, and be overly defensive without cause. While it is very difficult to overcome these problems, there are a variety of ways that one can learn to feel better about oneself through self-help techniques. Self help for low self-esteem primarily involves developing a greater awareness of behaviors that contribute to low self-esteem in order to avoid them — and to try to change them. Furthermore, self help for low self-esteem can, in some cases, simply involve focusing on living a healthy and active lifestyle.
The first step in effective self help for low self-esteem is realizing that one has a self-esteem problem. Excessive self-criticism, a generally poor opinion of oneself, an excessive need to please others, and an extreme fear of failure all indicate that one has problems with self-esteem. Upon realizing that one has a problem with low self-esteem, he should attempt to develop a greater awareness of moments when this low self-esteem manifests itself. When he notices such a moment, he should try to determine if the extent to which he feels bad about himself really makes sense. Simple awareness of the thoughts that lead to feelings of low self-esteem is a major step in self help for low self-esteem.
Upon identifying the particular thoughts related to low self-esteem, one can use positive affirmations to counter them. If, upon looking in the mirror, one is struck by some particular quality that he does not like, he should pause and reflect on that thought. He should then comment on something about himself that he does like. While doing this does not have any power of its own, over time such affirmations can lead to the development of a more positive mindset that may greatly decrease the problem of low self-esteem.
In some cases, simply living a healthier lifestyle is a good way to combat self-esteem problems. This form of self help for low self-esteem involves eating right, exercising, and getting sufficient sleep. Doing so can help one to be more balanced and relaxed at all times and may also result in the development of a better body-image. Furthermore, this method of self help for low self-esteem keeps one busy, and staying busy often prevents one from dwelling on problems.
It is important to remember that, in some cases, low self-esteem results from bigger problems, such as depression. Self help for low self-esteem is often not helpful in treating such conditions, which are often based in an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. If low self-esteem persists despite concentrated efforts to relieve it, one may want to seek professional help.