You might also try these steps, based on acceptance and commitment therapy:
1. Identify troubling conditions or situations
Again, think about the conditions or situations that seem to deflate your self-esteem. Once you've identified troubling situations, pay attention to your thoughts about them.
2. Step back from your thoughts
Repeat your negative thoughts many times or write them down in an unusual way, such as with your nondominant hand. Imagine seeing your negative thoughts written on different objects. You might even sing a song about them in your mind.
These exercises can help you take a step back from your thoughts and beliefs and observe them. Instead of trying to change your thoughts, distance yourself from your thoughts. Realize that they are nothing more or less than words.
3. Accept your thoughts
Instead of fighting, resisting or being overwhelmed by negative thoughts or feelings, accept them. You don't have to like them, just allow yourself to feel them.
Negative thoughts don't need to be controlled, changed or acted upon. Aim to lessen the power of your negative thoughts and their influence on your behavior.
These steps might seem awkward at first, but they'll get easier with practice. As you begin to recognize the thoughts and beliefs that are contributing to your low self-esteem, you can counter them or change the way you think about them. This will help you accept your value as a person. As your self-esteem increases, your confidence and sense of well-being are likely to soar.
Aug. 08, 2014
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- Karren KJ, et al. Mind, Body, Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions and Relationships. 4th ed. San Francisco, Calif.: Pearson Education Inc.; 2010:543.
- Building self-esteem: A self-help guide. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Building-Self-Esteem-A-Self-Help-Guide/SMA-3715. Accessed May 6, 2014.
- Self-esteem booster. National Association for Self-Esteem. http://www.self-esteem-nase.org/booster.php. Accessed May 7, 2014.
- Creagan ET (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 8, 2014.
- Examination of the core cognitive components of cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy: An analogue investigation. Behavior Therapy. 2014;45:482.
- Billman RR (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 18, 2014.
- Harris R. ACT Made Simple: An Easy-to-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Oakland, Calif.: New Harbinger Publications Inc.; 2009:1.