According to psychology books, people who have a high Self-Esteem firmly believe in certain values and principles, and are ready to defend them even when they are being opposed or challenged.
They are able to act according to what they think is best for them, trusting their own decisions, and not feeling guilty when others don’t like their choices. They are also satisfied with their life and perceive themselves as efficient, and generally being content with what they have accomplished. Most of all, people associated with having high levels of self-esteem are healthy, happy, optimistic, and fun to be with. In other words, being healthy and optimistic is a definitive way to boost self-esteem.
Scientists who continue to study the links between personality and health are finding that putting a positive spin on our lives has a powerful impact on our body, mind, and spirit. Research suggests that optimists may get fewer colds, have stronger immune systems, be less prone to depression, have enhanced self-esteem and survive surgery better than those staring at the half-empty glass! A cheerful outlook can even help protect us against life-threatening illness.
In a study conducted in 1999 involving 309 heart-bypass patients, it was found that the more optimistic the patients were, the less likely they were to return to hospital due to angina, infection or other complications related to their coronary artery disease in the six months following surgery. The most optimistic patients were half as likely as the greatest pessimists to be re-hospitalized. Researchers say that only 35 percent of optimism is inborn. The rest is learned based upon experience. Consider this a lesson in learning how to go from low-self-esteem to high-self-esteem so you can reap the health benefits of positive thinking.
When we have an optimistic outlook, we are less likely to feel threatened, panicked or angry facing the everyday catastrophes of life, from traffic jams, to screaming kids, rude bosses, or inconsiderate professors. Those peaceful reactions to stress cuts down the number of times our bodies are flooded with adrenaline and other stress hormones that tear down our immune system and wear down our hearts. Leaving us depressed, miserable, and sometimes heart-broken, all of which are contributors in having a low self-esteem. Stress isn’t what happens to you, it’s how you perceive what happens to you! Just like self-esteem. If you professed to yourself that you are unworthy and useless all the time, naturally a low self-esteem sets in. Healthy optimists don’t just paste on a grin and pretend life is all roses. They see problems every bit as clearly as pessimists-they just think they have the power to make the bad things better.
Researchers say that this sense of their power is a major reason optimists are healthier and have higher regard for themselves.
Studies show that feeling helpless, combined with a perception of unworthiness, inefficiency, or underachieved, are extremely stressful and can develop a low acuity of self. Children, pessimists and people who have low self-esteem have learned helplessness and are encouraged by the fact that they don’t have the power over any life events that happen to them. The ripple effect from what could be that one small difference in attitude affects their whole lives. Since pessimists figure, “no matter what I do, life is going to stink” “or I am always going to be wrong” they are more prone to stress-induced illnesses and diseases. In addition, they don’t plan ahead or look after their health, tend to take careless risks and are far more prone to untimely accidental death.
Optimists on the other hand, have a lot to be happy about. Their lives don’t just seem better-they literally are. The assumption that they can improve things becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy- they plan ahead and plan well because they think their ideas will work. People who expect the best are more likely to have good health habits, to exercise and eat well. They are always able to deal with the simple challenges of everyday life and are justified in enjoying their happiness.
So how do you learn to be positive? What can you do to boost your self-esteem?
Experience is the best teacher. People, who have had good things happen to them, learn to expect good things. If you want to be happy and self-content, set yourself up for success not failure. Pick those dreams that are realistic and attainable. The optimism that seems to pay off is based on reality. If you’re petite and you want to be a professional athlete, that’s great, but think about riding a horse, not playing basketball. If you think you have bright ideas for a friend’s wedding, share it with the group. If they don’t agree with it, its fine! Don’t perceive the refusal as something that will make you less of a person or that you are being totally rejected. Let reality inform your hopes and let those rejections and criticism, be a challenge to be more creative in the future.
Don’t let those toxic thoughts roll through your mind. Recognize negative thoughts and challenge them with evidence. When something goes wrong, try to see the problem as short-lived and caused by external events you can change, not due to fate or character flaws.
Avoid negative self talk and global thinking. Replace the words “always” and “never” with less sweeping statements such as, “I forgot my keys today. I’ll keep them by the door” or “I may not be the greatest surgeon, but I am the best father to my kids!”
Point the finger at someone else. It may sound nasty but if someone else caused the problem, its healthier to blame that person than beat yourself up. Nobody says optimists are nicer-just healthier!
Teach yourself you’re a winner by celebrating your wins and achievements, even though they may seem small. At least twice a week, do something fun that you know you do well like sing, paint, do some gardening, volunteer; play your favorite musical instrument. Do it and claim that win. Once you have claimed it, celebrate the triumph. Go out with people who know your inner- self and have always loved you for being who you are. It is always good to be surrounded with people who appreciate even your imperfections and flaws.
Lastly, seek out optimistic friends and hang-out with them.
Positive people are really quite contagious. They always have something good to say and they are always appreciative, even with the littlest things that attract good vibes and positive auras. They always exude confidence. Most of all, their having a high self-esteem is infectious! As they say, you become like the people you surround yourself with.
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