Tips for Strengthening Self-Esteem

Tips for Strengthening Self-Esteem

Some Good Advice

Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand brake on.” — Maxwell Maltz
When we’re born we come into the world with only two fears – that of loud noises and that of falling. All the rest are learned along the way. Some of those fears break down our self-confidence but the good news is that there are ways to work on building great self-esteem and confidence that, if practiced diligently, will reap great results.

Visualize yourself as you want to be.
“What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill
Visualization is the technique of seeing an image of yourself that you are proud of, in your own mind. When you struggle with low self-confidence, you have a poor perception of yourself that is often inaccurate. Practice visualizing a fantastic version of yourself, achieving your goals.

Affirm yourself.
“Affirmations are a powerful tool to deliberately install desired beliefs about yourself.” — Nikki Carnevale
We tend to behave in accordance with our own self-image. The trick to making lasting change is to change how you view yourself.
Affirmations are positive and uplifting statements that you say to yourself. These are normally more effective if said out loud so that you can hear yourself say it. We tend to believe whatever we tell ourselves constantly. For example, if you hate your own physical appearance, practice saying something that you appreciate or like about yourself when you next look in the mirror.
To get your brain to accept your positive statements more quickly, phrase your affirmations as questions such as, “Why am I so good at my craft?” instead of “I am so good at my craft.” Our brains are biologically wired to seek answers to questions, without analyzing whether the question is valid or not.

Do one thing that scares you every day.
“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.”–T. Harv Eker
The best way to overcome fear is to face it head-on. By doing something that scares you every day and gaining confidence from every experience, you will see your self-confidence soar. So get out of your comfort zone and face your fears!

Question your inner critic.
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” — Louise L. Hay
Some of the harshest comments that we get come from ourselves, via the “voice of the inner critic.” If you struggle with low self-confidence, there is a possibility that your inner critic has become overactive and inaccurate.

Strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy help you to question your inner critic, and look for evidence to support or deny the things that your inner critic is saying to you. For example, if you think that you are a failure, ask yourself, “What evidence is there to support the thought that I am a failure?” and “What evidence is there that doesn’t support the thought that I am a failure?”

Find opportunities to congratulate, compliment and reward yourself, even for the smallest successes. As Mark Twain said, “[A] man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

Help someone else.
Helping someone else often enables us to forget about ourselves and to feel grateful for what we have. It also feels good when you are able to make a difference for someone else.
Instead of focusing on your own weaknesses, volunteer to mentor, assist or teach another, and you’ll see your self-confidence grow automatically in the process.

Care for yourself.
“Self-care is never a selfish act –it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” — Parker Palmer
Self-confidence depends on a combination of good physical health, emotional health and social health. It is hard to feel good about yourself if you hate your physique or constantly have low energy.
Make time to cultivate great exercise, nutrition and sleep habits. Dress the way you want to feel; remember the saying “clothes make the person.” Build your self-confidence by making the effort to look after your own needs.

Create personal boundaries.
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”— Harvey Fierstein
Learn to say no. Teach others to respect your personal boundaries. If necessary, take classes on how to be more assertive and learn to ask for what you want. The more control and say that you have over your own life, the greater will be your self-confidence.

Shift to an equality mentality.
“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” — Marilyn Monroe
People with low self-confidence see others as better or more deserving than themselves. Instead of carrying this perception, see yourself as being equal to everyone. They are no better or more deserving than you. Make a mental shift to an equality mentality and you will automatically see an improvement in your self-confidence.

Adapted from an article by Chris W. Dunn in Entrepreneur online magazine

Expectations

I Didn’t Expect THAT To Happen!

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about EXPECTATIONS:
In the case of uncertainty, expectation is what is considered the most likely to happen. An expectation, which is a belieft that is centered on the future, may or may not be realistic. A less advantageous result gives rise to the emotion of disappointment. If something happens that is not at all expected, it is a surprise.

What Did You Expect?

You embarked upon 2019 with certain thoughts in mind … things you wanted to see happen for you when it comes to your health, wellness, and life. We all look at a new year as another opportunity to start fresh and get the job done right this time. Now that we’re into the second month of 2019, maybe you’d like to revisit the things you want to see for this year and determine what is realistic and what could be reshaped into something that could work for you.

You see, when you have expectations that are unrealistic, whether your own or those of others in your life, when they’re not met you will likely find yourself disappointed. How many of you remember hearing someone of importance to you tell you they’re disappointed in you? Why? Because they had an expectation and you failed to meet it. Or, maybe you’ve had great expectations for yourself and didn’t achieve what you wanted to achieve within the timeframe you’d allotted. How did you feel about yourself?

Expectations Can Lead to Disappointment

When we’re disappointed in ourselves or someone else, our speech changes. It becomes more negative and discouraging. A person who lives with the emotion of disappointment on a regular basis soon finds their sense of themselves begins to wither and change.

This is readily seen in children who are reminded by a parent or teacher with high expectations that the child has missed the mark, one more time. Adults who are constantly under fire to meet expectations, like children, develop performance anxiety. This, unfortunately, isn’t the end of the road though.

Constant Disappointment Can Lead to Poor Self-Esteem

Constant disappointment can, over time, lead to poor self-esteem. Do you struggle with feelings of low self-worth, poor self-image, lack of self-esteem, and no self-love or respect? I encourage you to check out your expectations of yourself and what you’ve allowed to be placed on you from others. Are they healthy expectations? Are they realistic?

You’re probably asking if all expectations lead one down a dark and disappointing path. The answer, of course, is NO. Not all expectations end poorly. There are some really healthy expectations you can create for yourself that will support success and a sense of accomplishment and value in your life.

Setting Good Expectations for Yourself

Many years ago I heard someone say, “You don’t have a right to expect that from me.” I couldn’t tell you now what “that” was, but those words have stayed with me until this day. It’s an interesting concept to ponder.

Here are some thoughts to help you with setting realistic and healthy expectations for yourself.

Are you asking for too much too soon?
Are the expectations clear for you? Can you articulate them clearly for yourself?
Do you know where you need expectations?
Are you putting pressure on someone to perform according to your rules?

When embarking upon a fitness program or making changes nutritionally, do you expect to wake up one morning soon after you begin with the body you dreamed of when you were much younger? Don’t laugh. Many people do. Is it realistic to expect that? Your sensible mind would laugh and say, Of course not. But …

What do you expect?

TV

My Challenge For You – 2019

We’re already half-way through January but I want to issue a challenge for 2019, and here it is:

Implement one of the following changes into your life and see what a difference it makes to the quality of life you have.  I’m thinking your life will be better for it.

Get Rid of Your TV

I can hear you laughing, but trust me on this, okay?  We don’t have a television in our home, although we occasionally watch Netflix on the computer, but it isn’t a nightly routine.  I refuse to have a television in my living room.  Here are some of the benefits:

You don’t have to arrange your furniture around the TV and your “feng shui” will be quieter and more pleasant, allowing for a flow of conversation and peace.  It stimulates human interaction instead of everyone sitting side-by-side staring at a screen.  It also makes for a happier environment …

There have been a few studies done over the years that indicate that unhappy people watch more TV, and in turn yield no positive gain.  I’ve included a link here for you to check out:

New Research. Does Watching TV Make Us Unhappy?

While watching TV doesn’t actively make you unhappy, it causes you to go emotionally stagnant, which is probably worse.  So, give it a try … even if it’s only for a month.  You can always go back to it if you feel that TV made you feel happier.

Go to Bed Before 9

Sleep is KEY! Even if you have too much to get finished before bed, getting there by 9:00 will affect you in the following ways:

You’ll wake up feeling fresh… energized… and ready to tackle the day! This way you can get everything you need to get done actually accomplished.  I realize and appreciate that sometimes you just want to stay awake until whatever hour it happens to be just to get things done, or to hang out because you’re just not tired yet.  But…

That just feeds back into a negative loop of less sleep… less energy… less productivity… and more anxiety!

So, why be in bed by 9?  Several reasons, the first of which being that you likely won’t go directly to sleep at the stroke of 9, you’ll need some time to wind down a bit.  If you’re in bed by 9 you’ll have, at the very least, 7.5 hours of sleep, which is optimal for anyone (and that’s if you wake up at 4:30 am).  You could use this time to your advantage to help you get a powerful jump start on your day.

Try going to bed by 9 and you’ll see how much better you feel and how much more you’ll get done because of it!

Stretch at Night

Try making it a habit to stretch at night after you’ve gotten things done and before you head to bed.  You’ll be amazed at what a few minutes of stretching can do for your body and your state of mind.  Not only does it help get the kinks of the day out, it helps to keep you limber, loose, and calm.  Besides that, you’ll save money on massages and chiropractic appointments.

Don’t know what to do?  Check out some easy and pleasant stretches for before bed by searching Google for Before Bed Stretches.  There are a number of routines ranging in time from five minutes to half an hour.  Choose a series that works best for you and s-t-r-e-t-c-h out.  Your body will thank you and you’ll sleep better.

Hire a Coach

I have a client who discovered fitness last year as a result of our work together and has determined to become their fittest possible.  This client has gone on to become a super-swimmer, will be running a 5K in a few weeks and works out faithfully with weights in the gym five days a week.  How?  By hiring coaches to get to the next level.  (btw, this person still works with me, too).

Is it worth the investment?  I think they’d yell out a resounding YES.  We all need support and accountability and that’s what coaches provide.

Please give one of these challenges a try and you will definitely see the difference it makes to your life.

Contact me with your questions about nutrition and diet; exercise and movement; personal growth and life issues.  I’m here for you and remember that often, simply talking out your issues goes a long way to making the life changes you’re hungry to have.

Let’s Talk. 

Before All Else, BE GRATEFUL

Before All Else, BE GRATEFUL

This is the time of year when we are provided with holidays that remind us of the good things in life. It’s also the time when we tend to focus more on being grateful – that is once the shopping, cooking and baking are behind us. Read on to learn how being grateful is a great way to stay healthy.

Gratefulness is an Emotion

If I were to ask you to list some powerful emotions you’d likely write fear, love, hate, happy, or sad (and probably a lot more). However, there’s one emotion that is like a magic wand in many ways and is often overlooked … it’s Gratitude.
Most people are focused on lack instead of on the abundance they actually enjoy, if they’d take the time to acknowledge it. For instance, people focus on the 20 pounds they have yet to lose, the lack of money, the car that needs to be replaced and countless other areas of lack. As a close friend of mine used to say, “Just STOP”, and let’s do a bit of reframing.
Do you turn on the tap in your kitchen and clean water flows out? Do you have enough blankets on your bed to keep you warm on a cold winter’s night? How about eyes that can see the beauty of nature all around you? Are you reading this on a computer or on your SmartPhone? We have so much to be grateful for … acknowledge how good you really have it and say Thank You.

So Many Benefits of Gratefulness

By embracing a practice of gratitude you’ll soon feel the beneficial effects in many areas of your life. It’s been found to improve psychological health by reducing toxic emotions like envy and regret. When it comes to physical health, grateful people have been found to have fewer aches and pains and take better care of themselves in general. When medical science started looking into the key attributes present in centenarians (people who live over l00 years), they found these people were very adept at expressing gratitude.

Gratitude is also linked to better sleep, with both better sleep quality and duration being linked to a grateful attitude. This same outlook has been linked to higher levels of self-esteem and it can also help us make new friends: Thanking an acquaintance encourages them to pursue an ongoing relationship with you, as it sends the signal that there is potential for a high-quality relationship to be formed.

Form a Gratitude Practice

It’s clear there are multiple benefits to be had from incorporating a regular gratitude practice into your wellness routine. Yes, gratitude is part of being healthy and fit. I advise my clients to write down a few things every day in a journal designated specifically for the subject. Silently (or audibly) acknowledging things you’re grateful for on your commute or taking a moment at the dinner table to say something you are thankful for out loud—all of these acts open up your mind and body to feel their best.

Don’t Misunderstand …

Don’t get me wrong: being in a state of gratitude all the time does not mean you’re grateful for everything – that’s just impossible.

It does mean that you’re constantly connected to all the blessings in your life and you’re always able to find the lesson and positive side to every situation or outcome. How would that be different from the way you’re “doing life” at present?

Mastering this state of mind is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

So let the holidays be a time to practice gratitude and strengthen its role in your life, but be sure to keep up the practice even after the celebrations are over to support your best health.

Is Sleep Overrated?

Is Sleep Overrated?

Are you getting less sleep than you need believing it’s normal?

Sleep – that oft times elusive commodity – can make or break your day, depending on how many hours you managed to garner. For some people who get little sleep and have to perform high demand tasks day after day, the common comment heard is this: “Sleep? It’s Over-rated”.

But is it?

After all, most of us are very aware of the eight to ten hours of sleep priority and we know that a good night’s sleep is really important – but few of us ever experience it consistently. The phenomenon of “sleep debt” has left many people with a hazy memory of what being truly rested feels like. And, just to make matters a little more interesting, the myriad interferences to our circadian rhythm caused by stimulants like coffee, alarm clocks, lights (including our devices) compound the situation.

It is true, though, that lifestyle and health impact individuals’ sleep needs. In order to know how much sleep you need, you’ll need to know where you fall on the “sleep needs spectrum” as well as check out what factors inherent in your lifestyle affect the amount and quality of your less – that would include your work schedule, stress levels, diet and exercise.

So, How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

I spent some time at sleepfoundation.org where I happened upon their recommended sleep times chart, which you can access here: https://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/STREPchanges_1.png
According to their site, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how much sleep people need specifically, but they’ve created the above chart that indicates minimum and maximum ranges for health along with “recommended” windows of time – general rules that have been agreed upon by experts.
They do suggest that before you can find the number that most closely relates to your particular sleep needs, it’s important to assess how different amounts of sleep affect you. Below is their set of questions to ask yourself before you check the chart:

  • Are you productive, healthy and happy on seven hours of sleep? Or does it take you nine hours of quality ZZZs to get you into high gear?
  • Do you have health issues such as being overweight? Are you at risk for any disease?
  • Are you experiencing sleep problems?
  • Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day?
  • Do you feel sleepy when driving?

Improve your health by making sleep a Priority

How do you make sleep a priority? Well, first of all you have to assess your own particular needs and habits around sleep. Observe how you respond to various amounts of sleep. If you’ve had a poor night’s sleep, check in with your mood and energy levels then compare them to times when you’ve had a great night’s sleep. A good question to ask is, “How frequently do I actually get a good night’s sleep?”

There are a few tips given by the Sleep Foundation that can help you achieve better sleep:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound and light.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeine.
  • Turn off electronics before bed.

The most important take-away is to make sleep a priority. Schedule it the same way you’d schedule any other activity; put it on your “to-do list” and be sure to cross it off at night. Don’t make sleep an afterthought, something you get around to when everything else is taken care of. Stop the activities in order to get the sleep you need. You might even find you enjoy life more.

 

 

beach-chair-daylight

People have forgotten how to relax; how to be lazy, wind down and enjoy life.

Have you noticed the extreme emphasis placed on productivity, efficiency (or should I say hyper-efficiency), on wringing every ounce of production out of every last minute?

It seems most people have lost the fine art of relaxation … the joy has gone out of life and the very thought of being disconnected from their technology makes them break out in hives.

Check out some of the latest reading material – bestselling books, magazines, blogs and YouTubes on productivity and efficiency and note how many of them give you tips and ideas on how to get the most out of any time you may have to spend waiting (in line; in the doctor’s office; in traffic; the airport – you get the idea), how to maximize your energy in the least amount of time possible, how to use your commute time to really get things done, how to get more out of your workday, how to create a super-effective meeting, and on it goes …

People are constantly checking their iPhones, inboxes, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook in a bid to get more done during their longer working hours.

So, tell me – to what end?

Is it about making more money for ourselves or our corporations? Are we trying to hold on to our jobs, the jobs we might want to quit anyway?

I suppose it is possible we’re trying to get everything (and then some) done for the love of doing it, and if that’s so, then Great! However; pounding out long hours working and putting life and rest on hold isn’t necessarily the best idea. There really are times when it’s good to Do Less, relax and breathe.

So, How Do We Do That?

Obviously, most of us understand the concept of working long hours in order to be productive and get things done. But, what if there was another way? What if it turns out to be working on important things, creating brilliant things and then relaxing?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating spending the day surfing the web or vegging in front of Netflix, or even napping all day … yet, on the other hand, why not? Why not take a delicious nap? How about a long lunch and a little siesta? Why not sit on a park bench with a good book?
Why not just enjoy those days when productivity seems elusive?

While it’s important for many of us that we earn what we need in order to pay the bills, being obsessive about productivity is not especially healthy. When you can’t seem to get things going and you’re not feeling productive, let it go – take a breather and stop beating yourself up with guilt.
You know, some of the major companies are incorporating nap time into the work schedule of their staff. Check this article out that appeared in the prestigious Forbes Magazine:
It’s Time To Start Taking Naps At Work
It’s totally Zen. If you take the time to relax and refresh, you’re far more productive than if you push through with little sleep and a lot of stress.

We Need to Learn How to Relax

The really sad news is that I even have to write this part of the blog. Most of us don’t have a clue how to relax. We get so upset at the thought of stopping and getting less done instead of more, that we can’t even wrap our brains around relaxation.

If you’re one of the rare individuals who actually does know how to relax but is feeling guilty about it, I encourage you to let the guilt go. Relaxing is good for you and actually makes you more productive.

But for those of you who have forgotten how to relax, you’re going to have a tougher time. Here’s a hint: don’t stress out about it. If you don’t know how to relax, it’s OK. Breathe. Take it slowly –

One step at a time …

  • Take 5 minutes to go outside for a walk. Breathe the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to do things. More time means less rush.
  • After work, get outside, take in nature and run around if you can.
  • Play. Play like a child. Play with a child. Play when you work.
  • Give yourself a day off. Sleep. Watch TV. Eat bonbons.
  • At work, give yourself an hour off. Don’t try to be productive. Just have fun.
  • Take evenings off. Seriously, no working in the evenings.
  • Get a massage.
  • Breathe.
  • Watch your pets – they have it mastered.

And, here’s the Zen of it all:

Step by step, learn to relax. Learn that productivity isn’t everything. Creating is great, but you don’t need to fill every second with work. When you do work, get excited, pour yourself into it, work on important, high-impact tasks … and then relax.