Hi dear friend:
Did you know that exercise can help boost our self-esteem? Exercise has a wide range of benefits to our health. We normally hear and focus on the body or weight benefits it has. But there are many more ways exercise helps our general wellbeing.
It is just undeniable that our self-esteem affects our confidence. First of all, the better the confidence we have on ourselves, the more we will be able to meet goals as well as to accept and overcome challenges in life. Furthermore, a lack of self-esteem will make you more passive. You will just exist instead of being alive. It will hinder you from enjoying life at its fullest.
The fact is that all the experiences we have in life shape our self-esteem. We are programmed and affected by what we see, hear, and experienced especially while growing up. Though some experiences that take place later in life can also affect how we value ourselves: intimidation, bullying or lack of validation at work, a traumatic event or event persistent stress.
Many of us are aware of the need we have to improve our self-esteem, but others might not realize about the lack of it and how they can benefit from improving it in all aspects of our lives.
Causes of low self-esteem
There are many situations that can result in a low self-esteem.
- You were unhappy while growing up and had very critical parents
- There was an absence of affection, interest and warmth in your life.
- You were you always criticized or felt like you did not meet your parents or other authority figure´s demands
- Uninvolved caregivers.
- You were bullied without support or on the other hand, with overly protective parents
- You set unrealistic goals for yourself
- You are unemployed
- You have been feeling lonely too long
Any of these situations would result in a need to boost your self-esteem.
Do I have low self-esteem?
How you perceive yourself: You tend to focus more on your weaknesses and are constantly negative, self-critical and self-doubting.
Your emotions: You feel guilty, frustrated, angry or sad.
How you feel: You are tired or tense.
How you act: You have difficulties making decisions, or avoid challenges and opportunities. You are consuming drugs, drinking or smoking. You have an eating disorder.
In my case while growing I faced many demands or criticism from one of my parents, at school and by some relatives. In addition, I was compared to another person whom I then felt inferior to.
Due to this I turned harsh on myself, believing that I was not good enough until I had become what they made me believe I should be, look or act like or stopped doing something. It was not until I became aware of a need to value myself more that the healing process really started. I will share here one of the many ways that I have used improve my self-esteem and that will also help you.
The effects of exercise on your self-esteem
Physical activity can have a positive effect on your self-worth. Research has found that it suffices with 20 to 30 minutes of continuous exercise for you to feel the positive effects on mental health.1 It helps improve energy, helps you to be mentally alert and keep a positive mood.
Exercise helps you burn calories, and despite not loosing too much weight you will nonetheless tone and strengthen your body. When you focus on these positive body results from exercise, you will feel better. This in turn will help you feel better mentally and therefore, boost your self-confidence.
A study aimed at measuring the mood after periods of physical activity (E.g. doing housework, going for a walk) and inactivity (E.g. watching TV or reading a book) shows that those more calm, awake and content where the ones who had been physically active. Additionally they found that the mood levels increased for them. 2
The result of us increasing our self-esteem will benefit us in many ways. We will take on challenges more often. We become more resilient to challenges and more open to new experiences in life.
Are you feeling down? Angry? Or stressed?
Go for a walk, to the gym, tune on the radio to your favorite tunes and start dancing! Please know that exercise alone will help improve your mood but in order to heal past hurts, fears and really be more confident you need to add other healing techniques to your daily routine. If you feel hopeless, feel like crying and can´t seem to start some healthy habits, please do find professional help. You deserve to be happy!
Do some kind of exercise each day for a minimum of 21 days. This is the amount of days it takes to create a new habit.
My personal experience with exercise
I have found it a lot healthier to focus on exercise for the benefits it brings to my mood and my general fitness, instead of the extra weight I need to lose. I don´t focus on having to do it, but keep remembering how well I feel once I am done training, I get home, take a hot shower and feel so energized and relaxed. This is what motivates me to keep exercising.
Moreover, when I keep focused on the positive effects I get every day and if I do drop some pounds then that is amazing, otherwise I would risk on getting obsessed with weight.
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Love is the force that can heal, transform our lives and bring peace to the world!
There are many additional ways for you to work in your self-esteem, I give you some here:
- Practice meditation every day. It allows you to manage better stress and improve focus. Heal and release negative emotions, among other benefits. You can use binaural beat brainwaves to help you enter deep meditative states reliably and easily, reduce stress and to increase concentration.
Furthermore, to help you live life more fully, I recommend that you read Live This Book by Tom Chatfield. Live This Book, is full of inspiring content, enriching ideas and exercises. Chatfield asks the right questions to help you learn more about yourself and what you enjoy doing.
In conclusion, find out time to work out in order to improve your general health, become more confident and live life at its fullest.
I hope these resources will inspire you to heal and keep moving forward in life.
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Want to share some of your experiences with exercise, or ask Cristina some questions below?
2 Kanning, M. & Schlicht, W. (2010). Be Active and Become Happy: An Ecological Momentary Assessment of Physical Activity and Mood. Journald of Sport & Exercise Phsychology, 32 (2) , 253–261.