How You Can Lower Stress and Increase Your Self-Esteem
By Vanessa Palencia
About four months ago, I shared some stress relieving tips with all of you but didn’t get too in depth with them. I didn’t realize it then, but I wasn’t in my strongest mental state. It also didn’t help that I wasn’t practicing what I was teaching. Ironically, after sharing these tips, I went through some really stressful and disheartening moments. I tried implementing the strategies that I’d shared, but they didn’t seem to be working. Frustration was building up and my belief in these practices were going down.
However, a few self-development books later, I realized that the reason I wasn’t seeing any results with my stress-relieving techniques was because I was just going through the motions and not putting my heart into it. I was practicing them with ferocious and selfish anticipation. I didn’t fully understand that these stress-relieving practices required a mindful and calm approach. Without that complete understanding, I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, which forced me to re-evaluate the strategies that I was using and find new ones. After a few weeks of customizing, implementing, and testing new ways to relieve my stress, I found that my stress levels went down significantly. But more importantly, I noticed that my self-esteem levels went up! That was something I wasn’t expecting, but I now understand that they go hand in hand. So today, I’m sharing the stress-relieving procedures that I find helpful, and teaching you how to benefit from them to help you start living your life peacefully and with fully restored self-esteem levels.
When I have less than 6 hours of sleep, I don’t function very well. My body feels sluggish, and I have trouble concentrating and working efficiently, which stresses me out even more. It’s a horrible formula for productivity. So on days that I wake up with less than the amount of sleep my body requires to function properly, I make sure to schedule in a nap. If you’re anything like me then you may feel like this is counterintuitive to being productive, but trust me when I say that you’re being just as equally unproductive when you’re running on a short amount of fuel. And if naps aren’t your thing, then try to work things out so that you go to bed earlier than your normal time. I can’t stress (see what I did there?) how important sleep is not only to lower your levels of stress, but to help your overall wellbeing.
2. Write Love Letters
I just recently started writing love letters to myself as a form of mindset work to boost my self-love and self-confidence levels, but I soon realized how effective it was in lowering my stress levels. I noticed that every time I was high strung and sat down to write myself a love letter, the negative feelings would slowly subside. It took me awhile, but I soon realized that when you spend time pouring love into yourself, you start to experience a drastic upsurge in your self-esteem levels and a huge downsurge in stress levels.
3. Find Gratitude
Don’t underestimate the power of finding gratitude during times of high stress. I’ll admit, it can be very difficult, especially when it feels easier to just wallow in self-pity and focus on the stressful situation. But it’s so important that you remove yourself from your environment and sit quietly. Force yourself to think about everything that you’re grateful for. Whenever I experience moments of depression, I bombard my mind with images of everything I’m grateful for. I do this for a few minutes or until I notice that my stress starts subsiding and I have a more positive outlook.
4. Meditate Mindfully
When I first started meditating, I kept falling asleep. Of course, this didn’t help my situation because I’d wake up and be stressed about the same things all over again. I ended up having to restructure my meditation practice to make sure that I benefited from it and to make sure that I didn’t fall asleep. Now, instead of listening to guided meditation (this made me really drowsy!), I play meditation music in the background while repeating positive affirmations. I also love reviewing every “problem” I have and listing reasons why I am completely capable in overcoming them. This helps me gear up to properly tackle those problems and increase my self-esteem levels while simultaneously lowering my stress levels.
5. Resolve Problems Tomorrow
One of the most horrible habits I have is going to bed frantic over a problem I encountered during the day. Whenever this happens, I lose sleep and my stress levels go up (see #1). Remember that you are in control of your life and that as a human being you can only handle so many problems before going into overdrive. You won’t solve your problems by fretting over it at night, so just tell yourself that you will handle that problem first thing in the morning and go to sleep stress-free.
6. Realize Your Worth
Have you noticed that the most self-confident people are the happiest? It’s because they realize their worth. They embrace themselves for all that they are and never settle for anything less than they deserve. In fact, low self-esteem and low-confidence levels can cause more stress than anything else. I know that when I didn’t understand my worth, I was constantly stressed about how well I performed something or how I looked. I had to establish and practice self-love and self-care rituals to fully realize my worth. So do whatever you need to do to help you grasp just how worthy you are and watch as your stress levels diminish.