Psychology, Psychotherapy

Low Self-Esteem

Introduction to Low Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is a broad concept surrounding a person’s overall opinion of self-worth, and a healthy self-esteem is considered to be both realistic and positive.

Written by Doctify Team 27/04/2020

What is Low Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is a broad concept surrounding a person’s overall opinion of self-worth, and a healthy self-esteem is considered to be both realistic and positive. It is very normal for people to have oscillations in their mood from periods of elation to times of depressed mood. However, when a depressed mood or lower self-esteem lasts for periods of weeks or even months, it can begin to impact your mental health and quality of life. If these maladaptive thought patterns are not addressed it can begin to take over people’s lives and limit their potential.

What causes Low Self-Esteem?

Causes for low-self esteem are very diverse and broad, and susceptibility to sustained low self-esteem varies from person to person. It is often the case that low-self esteem begins in adolescence, a period in which mental health is particularly vulnerable. During this time, an individual will become more aware of other’s opinion of them, either directly from teachers or friends or indirectly through media sources, and negative opinions have a tendency to remain. Significant life events, such a bereavement or sustained periods of stress, can increase the likelihood of low self-esteem, however genetic factors and personality traits ultimately determine the individual’s susceptibility of developing a low self-esteem.

What are the symptoms of Low Self-Esteem?

Low self-esteem will initially be the extent of the symptom profile; however, this alone can be very damaging in its own right. If sustained, low self-esteem and negative thoughts can begin to influence behaviour, whereby people can become more avoidant of challenging environments which in turn reinforces the negative thoughts. This vicious cycle can run away with itself, and can lead to a person’s life becoming increasingly restrictive. It can also lead to other mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety.

How is Low Self-Esteem treated?

There are several techniques used to improve self-esteem and primarily involve conscious acknowledgement of mood state. A positive outlook can begin by identifying skills you are good at, such as singing or cooking, and increasing time spent on those skills. Developing an assertive personality is also important so you can begin to open yourself to challenging opportunities with a realistic expectation. You may also decide to seek professional help, and a good start is a GP, who can direct you to the most suitable therapy and professionals. They can include talking therapies or cognitive behavioural therapy, which aim to identify the maladaptive beliefs and improve situational expectations.

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