Self-esteem may ebb and flow from day to day and month to month, but there are things we can do to bring our spirits back up—and fairly easily. The following is a short list that can be followed to elicit a rush of oxytocin, our “feel-good” hormone.
- Hug your partner or someone you are close with. By hugging your partner, child, best friend, or another person you are close to for 10 seconds or more, you activate the part of your brain that releases oxytocin. This will help you relax and make you feel good. Take a deep breath and relax into the hug. Enjoy the experience and recognize how you feel in the moment.
- Kiss your partner. Engaging in a five-second kiss also releases feel-good hormones. Further, it ignites passion and love for your partner. It’s important to connect with your partner on a daily basis to keep the intimacy going. Make kissing a part of your day.
- Give to another. Giving to another person, whether or not he or she is in need, always makes us feel good about ourselves. Give to the person on the side of the street, or lend an ear (or shoulder) to a close friend. Being generous with our time and giving of ourselves is important for well-being. Doing good brings about a sense of community, closeness, and a sense of belonging to something greater than us, and that is what life is about. Notice how you feel when you are being generous.
- Be kind to yourself and others. Being kind to yourself may be difficult at times. Give yourself grace when mistakes happen. Allow yourself to forgive. Often, we are forgiving of others, yet we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Don’t punish yourself for things you cannot change and have no control over. Be your own best friend and respond to yourself and others how you would to your best friend. Your esteem will skyrocket.
- Erase “should” from your vocabulary. Hindsight is 20/20. We all have regrets about decisions or behaviors we have exhibited. But we cannot change the past and we cannot predict the future; we only have the present. So the only thing we can do is learn from the past and change behaviors in the future. Often, we say to ourselves, “I should have said this or done that,” but this makes us feel shameful, guilty, fearful, and other undue feelings. There is nothing we can do about the things we feel we “should” or “shouldn’t” have done. Let it go and take that word out of your vocabulary. Do better next time knowing that you are better equipped to make a different choice.
The above list can be easily implemented into your everyday life and can have immediate positive effects on your self-esteem. But don’t take my word for it; try it for yourself!
© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Carolyn Russo, MS, LMHC, therapist in Seattle, Washington
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