The mind-body connection
So you want to know how to overcome low self esteem and increase your confidence? Read on to discover proven and effective ways to success!
In the previous post I have touched on recognising what low self esteem is and also to spot the most obvious signs. In these articles I am addressing how to overcome low self esteem. This is such an important area of our whole being, I am still amazed to learn and discover every day more evidence how self esteem is connected to a healthy mental state.
You may not be surprised to find out that I will advocate specific self esteem activities here to help you start overcoming low self esteem. But there are also other factors that impact our wellbeing, notably diet, exercise and social connections. They act together and reinforce each other to create a healthy, balanced being. For too long I was even guilty of not acknowledging this fact, but in truth our psyche is not separate from our bodies, therefore whatever happens in one domain will influence the other. This is a vast topic, therefore I had to break it up into two sections. You can find Part 2 here.
To help you on your way, check if you need to improve any of these areas of your life. I am not saying that you will only have optimal mental and physical health if you follow these suggestions, however, you will be in a much better place to tackle issues of the emotional realm when these basic needs are met.
A healthy diet for a healthy mind
I discounted the importance of this factor until fairly recently when I changed my eating (and drinking!) habits. I have embarked on a journey of healthy and nutritious eating regime and within weeks, I felt better and noticed significant changes to my overall vitality. The biggest change perhaps was seen in my sleeping patterns. I used to suffer insomnia once or twice a week – which of course contributes to tiredness and can be a precursor of other problems – but that has not happened since. Also my skin is better, and now I am running on my own energy.
A lot of this was down to giving up ‘comfort’ food. Drinking lots of caffeine, consuming red meat and simple carbohydrates sometimes resulted in mood swings and unnatural highs and lows in my emotional state. I ran a food diary the week before starting the new diet, and words like ‘feeling sluggish’ and ‘bloated’ frequently appeared in the ‘How do I feel today’ section, although I was not overweight the slightest.
It was a tough few weeks of forming new habits, but it was well worth the perseverance. I am now leaner, happier, have more energy, a clearer mind and sharper thinking. I can now see the connection of how what we put into our bodies have an influence not only in our physical appearance but also how we feel inside.
Exercise Your Heart and Mind
Another area that can help our emotional state, lies in how active we are. We all know the benefits of exercising regularly – be that a daily routine of going for a jog or playing as part of a professional team – making sure that we challenge our bodies consistently is a very good way of creating that mind-body balance. However, I would err on the side of caution with exercise, as I do believe it is somewhat overrated nowadays. For most of us it is sufficient to do activities that raise our heart rates consistently for about 20 minutes, two to three times a week. But if you want to go crazy and sweat it out on the treadmill every day, by all means go for it. Just be careful it doesn’t turn into an obsession or a quest for creating more perfectionism in your life!
On the other hand if you have neglected engaging in physical activity recently, my advice would be to start small, do what you enjoy and comes easy to you. There is no point signing up at the health club, if you are not going to make the most of it. You might imagine that others will be judging of you, or even worse, you compare yourself too much in a negative way to someone who is a seasoned pro. Rather, find something that you can incorporate to your daily routine and that is fairly difficult to make excuses for not doing it. For example, it takes hardly any effort to go out for a 20 minute brisk walk every other day in the neighborhood, and this can be scaled up too.
Other activities also count as exercise such as doing the housework, gardening or even looking after young children!
As this is not intended to be an article about exercise as such, I will wrap up here with what I want you to take away from the above. I believe, for us to have the best possible frame of mind to work on overcoming low self esteem, it is vital that we take a multi-faceted approach. For this, I identified that diet and exercise can help to create that optimal environment.
In the next part of this post, I talk of the social elements of our lives and types of cognitive activities that can be helpful to establish overall and long lasting change.
Thanks for reading,