3 Things Killing Your Self-Esteem and How to Use Your Body to Beat Them
By Sonia Satra
When people hear that I’m a mind-body expert, they often ask, “Cool, but what does that actually mean?”
“You know that feeling in your gut when you’re about to make a wrong decision?” I say. “Or how when you’re stressed out, your shoulders and back tense up?”
Most people are familiar with those feelings, so those are the examples I use to illustrate the mind-body connection, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. The brain and body are connected in some incredible ways, and your body wants to help you face your challenges, even the ones you think are purely mental.
Take self-esteem, for instance. Millions of us suffer from low self-worth. It affects our relationships, careers, and every decision we make. It can make or break our quality of life, yet people aren’t using the most powerful tool they’ve got, their bodies, to combat it.
Here are three ways you can use your body to beat the biggest killers of self-esteem.
Killer #1: Letting Your Inner Critic go Unchecked
“That was so stupid.” “Why did I say that?” “God, you’re fat. Look at those thighs.”
Negative self-talk is one of the most destructive things we face every day (and sometimes, every minute.)
A lot of people believe their thoughts don’t matter, so they allow this kind of thinking to go unchecked.
However, when you let those thoughts in, they slowly chip away at your self-esteem. By allowing them, you’re reinforcing them, and soon you start to believe them.
How to Beat It: Boxing
Start by planting your feet firmly, with your right foot about 12” behind your left. Keep a soft bend in your knees.
Bring your fists up in front of your face. Then, punch your right fist forward, using all the muscles in your body. Twist and engage the core.
With each punch, imagine something your inner critic tells you. Punch it out! Watch it go down. Feel your own power.
Then, add affirmations; things you love about yourself. Try “I am strong” or “I have power.”
Do ten punches on each side. As you go through your day, don’t let your inner critic go without a fight. When it chimes in, respond with a strong punch and “I can do it” or “I am beautiful.”
Affirmations are a proven way to empower yourself and step into a more positive mindset. When you pair them with an exercise like boxing, you put them into your body, not just your brain.
Killer #2: The Belief that Failure is Final
Failure is so misrepresented in today’s society. We’re taught that it’s bad. As children, we’re told that it’s the opposite of success and some of us learn that if we fail, we are a failure.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Failure isn’t the opposite of success; it’s a crucial part of it. The most successful people in the world are the ones who have failed the most.
Still, people hate failing. So when they do fail; at getting a job, making a sale, trying a new hobby - their confidence suffers.
How to Beat It: Get Up Faster
If we believe that failing means we are a failure, it’s hard to get up after a setback. However, getting up, and getting back on track, is exactly what turns that failure into a stepping-stone to success.
Let’s practice getting up faster, right now.
Get into plank position. Now, jump up to standing, and reach up (yes, this is a burpee). Do it again. With each jump, envision yourself overcoming a setback. Maybe it’s one you’ve already gone through or one that’s happening now. It doesn’t matter. See yourself getting up faster.
Remind yourself of this whenever you’re facing a failure. You can get back up! Someday, you’ll look back on that failure, and know that it didn’t stop you.
3. Choosing Anxiety Over Gratitude
That’s right, I said it. It’s a choice.
Anxiety, fear, doubts, negativity, stress – those are all real things. However, we don’t have to make so much room for them that they make a home inside our heads. We can acknowledge that they exist without giving them power.
To do that, focus on gratitude.
How to Beat It: Gratitude Squats
With feet wider than hip distance, slowly sit back as if in a chair. Keep your chest lifted. Knees shouldn’t go past the toe. With your hands at heart center, do ten squats.
With each squat, call to mind something you’re grateful for.
Be specific. Don’t just say “family.” Envision who that is, and why they’re important to you. Let those feelings of love and gratitude course through you.
Think of what you’re grateful for about yourself, too. Are you a great planner? Really creative? Do you have a nice smile? Focus on what’s awesome about you.
By making this a regular practice, it’ll become easier to choose gratitude. When that becomes your focus, your anxiety and doubts will lose their power.
About the Author
Sonia Satra is a mind-body expert and founder/CEO of the movement-based wellness program Moticise (Motivational Exercise). Formerly the star of Guiding Light and One Life to Live, she now travels the world, bringing her message of empowerment and body intelligence to businesses, conferences, and individuals around the globe. She has been featured in the Huffington Post, Celebrity Parenting, Women Fitness, and other radio, TV and magazine outlets. She lives with her husband and two children in New York City.
You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Learn more at moticise.com!
How do you boost your self-esteem? Comment below to share how you boost your self-esteem and use your body to beat your inner critic.