Updated: Mar 17
Self-esteem and stress are interrelated. Lets first explore the topic of self-esteem. Self-esteem is how you think about yourself, your abilities, and your limitations. Subconscious beliefs are the foundation of self and build self-esteem; what we believe about ourselves may lead to the manifestation of life’s successes or failures. A strong sense of optimism, positive self-talk, trying new challenges, and staying away from toxic people will also build a stronger foundation of self; this is called resilience. Resilience is how we cope with and adapt to new situations, but furthermore, it is directly related to wellbeing. Another reason how abundant positive self-esteem and always checking in with your self leads you to a richer, brighter, fuller existence on a day to day basis. Starting your morning with positive intentions for your day, physical exercise (what I refer to as essential movement), and nutritious meals, is a daily practice that sets a strong foundation for growing and developing positive self-esteem. Positive self-esteem requires daily reflections and positive intentions, which are valuable investments during times of stress.
Self-esteem is birthed inside of us, possibly even before birth, and more like in utero. Science explains how stress during pregnancy can lead to high levels of cortisol in the mother and the unborn child. The reduction of stress hormones gives us more significant reasons why every woman should focus on building positive self-esteem. Here we go with the science; elevated cortisol levels are harmful to both the mother and child during pregnancy. Stress hormones could lead to preterm birth, anxiety, depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The critical development of fetal structures, such as the brain, could be affected by cortisol, especially during periods of rapid brain development. Excess cortisol during brain development can lead to mood disorders later in life. These facts give us reasons more than ever to prioritize preconception planning and pregnancy care at a national level. Women are nurturers and have many other roles. Priority should be given to daily check-in to rate your level of self-esteem on a day to day basis just as you would, your weight, your blood pressure, as you would your checking account.
To have healthy children, we must have healthy mothers. I am placing heavy emphasis on the role of self-esteem as a primary predictor of success for both mother and child. We all have different reasons when and why our self-esteem may plunder, and those activities are measurable. I researched the prevalence of low-esteem; I was unable to find a “true number.” But situations such as bullying, cutting, unhealthy dietary intake, inadequate physical activity, and substance abuse are examples that indicate of low-self esteem. I am sure we could find the prevalence of these behaviors across the country within our educational systems. I am sure I would find valuable data that would support my idea that strengthening self-esteem begins during early childhood. My main focus is to elucidate the reason women need to practice daily positive self-esteem routines.
Learning to catch negative thinking and turning it around to positive thinking is the best practice; it will change the trajectory of negative inner beliefs that could later become an inherited dismal future. Consider practicing these necessary steps frequently during your day. First, always lift your head, make sure to keep a pleasant smile, and think about walking to rather than walking from, toss your hair, and move with swagger. Making a habit of “catching” negative thinking and quickly stopping it and replacing it with positive thinking places you at the forefront of a winning situation. So the next time you catch yourself, feeling negative, bored, tired, sad, hopeless, remind yourself of anything positive that makes you feel good. Play that music that takes you back in time to the best moments of your life; think about colors that make you feel warm and beautiful. Start building your arsenal of images, sounds, and things that make you “feel good.” Pay attention to the positive thoughts, for example, that beach body you are going to work out for, your child, that bathing suit, picture yourself smiling in perpetuity. It all starts with the intention, the idea, put it into practice. As you make a habit of a positive daily routine, you will see the numbers on the scale or blood pressure meter prove to you your successes. Positive thoughts are powerful, make them habit and priority.
As you continue to practice daily positive routines that build your self-esteem, you will see, know, and intuitively feel that there is no other person responsible for you, but you. Aspects of life that were once unbearable perhaps will quickly come to a resolution for you. Maybe you’ll gain that courage (resilience) to move on to something else; positive self-esteem is about allowing you access to open-ended opportunities to help you deal with stress and stressful situations quickly. I invite you to try it.
/be-‘lev – Isabel Bogdan, DNP, WHNP
8 Steps to Improving Your Self-Esteem. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2020, from Psychology Today website: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/nurturing-self-compassion/201703/8-steps-improving-your-self-esteem
11 Facts About Teens and Self Esteem. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2020, from DoSomething.org website: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-teens-and-self-esteem#fn5
Fetal exposure to excessive stress hormones in the womb linked to adult mood disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2020, from ScienceDaily website: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130407090835.htm
Low Self Esteem. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2020, from Simply Psychology website: https://www.simplypsychology.org/self-esteem.html
Self-esteem check: Too low or just right? (n.d.). Retrieved from Mayo Clinic website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/self-esteem/art-20047976