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Improve Your Self-Esteem

4 Tips to Boosting Your Self-Esteem


Updated January 18, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.


Improve Your Self-Esteem

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Self-esteem refers to the way we think and feel about ourselves. Good self-esteem involves having a personal attitude of self-respect, love and acceptance. To have high self-esteem means that you are able to celebrate your strengths, accept and work on your weakness, and believe in your capacity to achieve. Research has shown that high self-esteem boosts success and satisfaction. People with high self-esteem rely on themselves to find personal happiness and fulfillment.

On the other hand, people with low self-esteem often dislike themselves and look toward external stimuli to find gratification. Low self-esteem has been found to contribute to numerous physical health issues and mental health conditions, including panic disorder, depression, headaches, and substance abuse.

There are many issues that contribute to poor self-esteem in people diagnosed with panic disorder. For instance, people who experience frequent panic attacks often feel shame and embarrassment about their symptoms. Those who have agoraphobia are typically lonely and isolated due to their condition. Panic disorder can also have a negative impact on your work and personal relationships.

If you struggle with panic disorder, you may also find that you have self-esteem issues. However, there are some things you can do to improve you self-esteem. As studies have shown, building up your self-esteem can help you to better cope with your condition.

Follow these 4 tips and begin boosting your self-esteem:

1. Pay Attention to Your Negative Self-Talk

Self-talk refers to that inner voice or worldview that makes up your personal attitude and outlook about yourself. People who are coping with panic disorder often experience critical self-talk. For example, you may tell yourself that your symptoms make you appear “weak” or “neurotic.” This negative inner dialogue and labeling can develop into faulty thinking patterns, known as cognitive distortions.

To begin to overcome your negative thinking patterns, start monitoring your self-talk. Notice if you are always seeing the glass as half empty, magnifying your weakness, and filtering out your strengths. Once you have noticed your negative self-talk, try reframing your thoughts. Instead of jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst in every situation, try replacing these thoughts with more pleasant ones. Practice telling yourself more positive points, such as “It is going to be OK" or "I have a handle on my anxiety."

Affirmations can be used to reframe and defeat negative self-talk. To get affirmations to work for you, begin by recognizing your self-criticism. Next, try to engage in a relaxation technique, so that you are feeling less stressed and more receptive to hearing positive thoughts. Then affirm a more positive message to yourself. Some affirmations my include: “I am smart, strong, and capable,” “I deserve success and happiness,” or “I am smart, kind, and talented.” Additionally, it may be helpful to write affirmations down on sticky tabs and keep them in places, such as your mirror, car, or office. That way they can serve as gentle reminders to work on your self-esteem.

2. Practice Self-Care

Self-care practices are all those activities that we engage in to improve our overall sense of wellbeing. Self-care strategies work toward improving the many aspects that make up who we are, including our physical, relational, mental, spiritual, and emotional health.

Addressing your self-care needs is a great way to start building your self-esteem. You may already be engaging in some of these positive activities, such as regularly exercising, participating in a social group, or addressing self-care strategies for panic disorder. Try to build on the practices you already engage in and slowly work toward increasing you self-care.

3. Get Support

People who suffer from low self-esteem are often magnets for other negative people. People who don’t know their own worth may even put up with relationships that are hurtful and destructive. To enhance your self-esteem, try to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Healthy relationships make you feel cared for and accepted by others.

To improve your self-esteem, also consider building a support network for panic disorder. Your support team can be made up of mental health professionals who treat panic disorder, understanding family and friends, and others who are dealing with similar experiences. Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people can be a key element in boosting your self-esteem.

4. Assist Others

It is natural to focus on our own struggles and problems. However, at times, it can be beneficial to use that energy to help others in need. Through assisting others, you may find that you are able to get your mind on other thoughts, build your self-esteem, and help improve the lives of others. Helping others can be accomplished in many different ways. For example, you may consider helping an elderly neighbor out by simply checking in with them from time-to-time or perhaps volunteering through a local organization feels best for you.

You can also assist others by teaching them what you know. Everyone has some knowledge or skill that they can teach to others. For instance, you may have a knack for cooking, gardening, or other passion that you can share with your loved ones. Sharing your skills or teaching others helps you witness your talents and boost your self-esteem.


Bourne, E. J. "The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, 5th ed." 2011 Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Schiraldi, G. R. “The Self-Esteem Workbook” 2001 Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

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