It happens to the best of us. We initiate or get involved in a project or some undertaking, put in tons of effort, time and energy and it goes haywire resulting in a lot less success than what we had anticipated. Short of committing Harakiri or going out of our minds and cutting out paper dolls, we go down into a spiral of self-recrimination, despair and absolute dread of trying again. Our self-esteem sinks so low, we’re scared sh-t we’d do worse or even completely fail compared to others who would have done better.
Look at what the research studies say:
Take consolation in the news that the recent surveys show mindfulness could help us build and secure our self-esteem, the kind of self-esteem that stays with us regardless of how big or small our successes are in comparison to other people around us.
Thanks to Christopher Pepping and his associates at Griffith University in Australia, who after conducting a study among undergraduate students, have found that these following four aspects of mindfulness have a powerful influence to raise our level of self-esteem:
- Having an attitude that is not judgmental toward our thoughts and emotions. This helps us to have a neutral and more receptive attitude about ourselves.
- Putting a label on our personal experiences with memorable words. This would tend to prevent us, or at the very least divert us from getting obsessed by critical thoughts and emotions.
- Living in the present moment. Even our wise old folks used to say … “Be happy. Live in the moment.” Doing this helps us to avoid getting trapped in self-critical thoughts and feelings related to what we had done in the past or intend to do in the future.
- Allowing thoughts, emotions and feelings to enter our hearts and minds, being conscious of them but without reacting, one way or another to them. When these thoughts and feelings pop up, be aware of them, just don’t let anything prod you into reacting or responding to them.. This will eventually help you in managing them better.
These results published in The Journal of Positive Psychology did support the researchers’ hypothesis that those with the foregoing mindfulness skills had higher self-esteem. And to further validate this, a subsequent study was conducted which had one group of students participating in a fifteen (15) minute mindfulness meditation while the other half of the respondents were asked similarly for fifteen (15) minutes to read the story of a certain fly-trap plant. When all participants had completed the questionnaires that rated their degree of self-esteem and mindfulness before and after the process, it was found that those who were into mindfulness meditation had a higher level of self-esteem versus those students who read the plant story.
So, are you feeling low? Are those “I’m so stupid!” and “Those 5th graders are smarter than I am!” thoughts creeping up on you? Start helping yourself today. Try practicing these four dimensions of mindfulness and help get your self-esteem up there.