5 THINGS THERAPISTS SAY WILL BOOST SELF- ES­TEEM

ELLE (Canada) - - Self- Love -

MAKE A MIS­SION STATE­MENT. How we feel about our­selves is af­fected by in­ter­nal (hey there, self-critic!) and ex­ter­nal (re­la­tion­ships, jobs) fac­tors. Some of th­ese you can con­trol; some you need to let go of—a mis­sion state­ment will help you fig­ure out which falls into what cat­e­gory. Make it sim­ple and ac­tion fo­cused, says Joti Samra, a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist based at the Main­land Med­i­cal Clinic in Van­cou­ver, who sug­gests fill­ing in four sec­tions—I am, I value, I want, I will—with your per­sonal goals.

DO SOME­THING NOW. “When we’re not feel­ing con­fi­dent, we of­ten say ‘When I feel bet­ter, I’m go­ing to…,’” says Samra. “All of the re­search tells us that change hap­pens the other way: When we go through the mo­tions (even when we’re feel­ing low) of say­ing hi, get­ting dressed up, putting our­selves out there, get­ting that job, go­ing on that blind date—do­ing it cre­ates an in­ter­nal con­fi­dence.”

STOP JUDG­ING YOUR­SELF. It’s okay if you cried when you found out your ex of five years is dat­ing a Chrissy Teigen look-alike. Or that you felt left out af­ter miss­ing that sur­prise Drake con­cert that all your friends went to. Th­ese are le­git­i­mate feel­ings, says Kate Scowen, a so­cial worker who founded Hard Feel­ings, a walk-in coun­selling ser­vice in Toronto. “Tell your­self ‘If it makes me sad, that doesn’t make me shal­low.’ And then ask ‘Why is it mak­ing me feel this way, and what’s the truth in this feel­ing?’”

PRAC­TISE GRAT­I­TUDE. It sounds cheesy, but stud­ies show that be­ing thank­ful af­fects the parts of the brain that reg­u­late stress and plea­sure. Make it as pain­less as pos­si­ble by say­ing out loud (and out of the earshot of room­mates) three things ev­ery day that you’re happy for—it could be any­thing from the Gucci spring/ sum­mer 2018 col­lec­tion to the hot wa­ter in your shower. This helps you fo­cus on what you have rather than what you may think is lack­ing.

READ— A LOT. And not just self-help books, al­though some are bril­liant. (Scowen rec­om­mends those by Brené Brown and Thich Nhat Hanh.) Me­moirs are an un­ex­pected rich source of info, says Scowen, be­cause they “help peo­ple try to un­der­stand them­selves within the con­text of an­other’s ex­pe­ri­ence.” Or con­sider al­ter­na­tive re­sources like pod­casts or graphic nov­els like Hyper­bole and a Half, about Ore­gon-based Al­lie Brosh’s ex­pe­ri­ences with de­pres­sion.

“I HAVE A COU­PLE OF MANTRAS, BUT ONE OF MY MOST-LIKED IN­STA­GRAMS IS AC­TU­ALLY A QUOTE I CAME UP WITH MY­SELF. IT’S ‘CON­FI­DENCE DOESN’T ELIM­I­NATE IN­SE­CU­RI­TIES, AND IN­SE­CU­RI­TIES DON’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT CON­FI­DENT.’” – Win­nie Har­low

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