Fellow blogger Elisha Goldstein always has great insight over at his blog on PsychCentral, called “Mindfulness and Psychotherapy.”
I especially liked his 7 ways to boost self-esteem using mindfulness. Here they are:
- Write it down – In working with erroneous negative self-judgments, it is a great idea to actually write them down. Writing them down on paper separates them from the emotion and also creates a pause so you can reflect on the meaning of whether this judgment is even accurate or not. We also can come to a place where we don’t have to ruminate about it because we already have it down.
- Ask the question – Is this just a well worn habit of my mind to think this way? Do the facts of the situation support this? Are there alternative thoughts here?
- Question your mood – Be aware of how you are feeling. Ask yourself, if I were feeling well right now, would I see this the same way? This gets at the heart of thoughts being just transient mental events and not facts. This helps the thought not be quite as sticky.
- Question the source – Where did I originally get this message? Sometimes we can look back to our earliest relationships or traumas and notice that where having this thought and attitude helped us cope as children, it is an old coping habit that is no longer effective or helpful right now. Gaining this perspective can support us in letting go of it.
- Make a list of what you like about yourself – This may be a difficult one, but after each thought you write down, take a moment with it and notice what it feels like to even write it down. Expand this list by taking anothe perspective. Ask what your friends would say about you? If you have difficulty with this, ask them in person, by phone, email or text.
- Create a file – Therese Borchard writes about how her therapist suggested she create a self-esteem file. Each time people say something positive about you, put it in the file. Make it a practice to look at this file daily. To add some mindfulness to it, notice your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations that arise while writing in the file and also while re-reading it.
- Lovingkindness – Many people wish they were well, happy, healthy, free from fear, free from the torment of that inner critic. So add to this list what you wish for yourself and say it like this, “May I be healthy, may I be happy, may I be free from fear, may I be free from my harsh inner critic.” After reading the list over each day, pause, and then intentionally repeat these words and aspirations of lovingkindness to yourself.