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Meditation is one of the many tools you can use to help yourself build self esteem (see this article by Huffington Post). Meditation is often recommended as a way of reducing stress and bringing clarity into your life. I can testify from my experience that you can meditate to build self esteem, let’s learn how.
If you meditate to build self esteem, you benefit in two ways. Firstly, guided meditation enables you to relax and listen to what your body is telling you. Secondly, it will also allow you to understand who you are, and it will help put your insecurities and worries into perspective.
Meditation is a form of alternative medicine that has a long history in many eastern cultures. It can bring balance by using the body and mind connection, helping you to feel more at peace. According to Monk-Turner (2003) , the aim of meditating is to focus one’s attention in the moment, to rest the mind and to find inner peace and relaxation. Stress-reduction and lower blood pressure are other major benefits of meditation (Borysenko, 1987). It also has a positive effect on mental health and emotional intelligence (Chu, 2010).
Major Benefits of Meditation for Self Esteem
- Can reduce stress and worry.
- Reduces effects of aging.
- Improves quality of sleep.
- Improves your sense of well-being.
- It is good for your general health.
- It is good for your mental health and helps you to feel happier.
- It encourages you to be more present in the moment and enjoy life more.
- It gives your mind much needed rest and can make you more productive.
Let’s now take a look at how to meditate and the different options available to you that will be most beneficial for building your self esteem.
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Guided Meditation for Self Esteem
Some of the most effective meditation techniques require a guide or teacher to help you – these are called guided meditations. In these recordings, someone who has experience and knowledge will guide you step by step, teaching you how to meditate, telling you what to do physically and mentally as you relax. The video below is an excellent start which I suggest you try out when you have some time to relax.
Be careful not to get confused with your preconceptions of what meditation is. You can meditate to improve your self esteem quite easily if you use a guided meditation which often will ask you to think about certain aspects of who you are while meditating. For example, a meditation may focus on acceptance, gratitude or being kind to others and will encourage you to think and to make gradual positive improvement in these areas by thinking about them differently.
To understand how this works, it is best to try it, either using a video such as the one posted above or by using self hypnosis or guided meditation tools. You can find out much more and get access to a huge library of these self hypnosis and meditations on this website.
Mindfulness Meditation for Self Esteem
Here is a definition of mindfulness:
“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”Lexico.com. Oxford Languages. Oxford University Press. 2019. Link to source
Meditation helps by relaxing you and allowing you to focus on the present moment and on your feelings and thoughts. It is a method used to increase awareness and acceptance of what is. So meditating is very good for mindfulness.
It is very restful and has health benefits, such as coping with stress, as well as promoting well-being (see Healthline.org ). With guided meditation, as we have seen, someone takes you through a process of awareness building and directs your thoughts and breathing. Control of one’s breathing is a meditation technique and can help calm you.
How Mindfulness Meditation Improves Self Esteem
This article by Yoo and Lee , published in the Global Journal of Health Science, tested a program of meditation and confirmed that mindfulness meditation can improve self esteem. Mindfulness can play a role in awareness of feelings and emotions and can therefore help a person learn to respect the body and mind and all its complexity.
Mindfulness will also focus a person on the details and wonders of each moment. This can lead to a greater appreciation of life and the self. Self-esteem is based on self respect so it follows that becoming more self aware will improve self respect. Also, improving how one views and appreciates the world and all its wonderful details leads to a greater enjoyment of life and our place in it.
Self acceptance is necessary for self esteem to grow. There are many things about ourselves that we cannot change and that we need to accept and be OK with. Meditation helps us to accept ourselves and this leads to greater self-esteem.
Meditation encourages you to accept your thoughts and feelings and not judge them. This is a huge thing for someone with low self esteem who may have feelings of guilt, or be struggling with a very negative inner self critical voice. I have dealt with negative self talk elsewhere, and you might want to take a look at ways to change your self talk into a more positive and friendly voice who does not judge you harshly.
Meditation stops your mind from racing and obsessing. It relaxes your mind and body, and reduces stress. This will help you to think more clearly and feel more positive about yourself and your life.
According to Andy Puddicombe writing on Headspace , the value of meditation is that we learn to understand that thoughts are natural and if we accept the negative thoughts for what they are, we can accept them and let them go without getting hurt. In this way, meditation can help us see why thoughts are, and what might cause them. This allows us to simply observe them and release them rather than allowing them to have power over us and build into yet more negativity.
My Experience with Meditation to Build Self Esteem
I thought I would add my own experiences here with meditation, now we have seen how meditation can help you if you have low self esteem.
I have used meditation over the years and still do and my self esteem and confidence has increased. I first tried guided meditation way back 15 years ago when I was struggling with speaking in groups at university and was very shy. I found it painful just speaking to someone, my social skills were poor and my attitude towards myself was awful. Now, I am confident, sociable and able to teach and speak in front of others with ease.
Lately, I have been using an excellent meditation app on my phone called Meditopia. I love the app and use it for ten minutes every morning. It is a refreshing, self-esteem boosting break each day! Please go to check my review on the Meditation Tools Page. I advise you to try it!
Other Ways That Meditation Boosts Self Esteem
Self esteem allows you to become more aware, as we have said already, of your feelings and emotions. But much more than this your growing sense of awareness can develop, with the help of consistent meditation, into a real friendship and love of yourself. This is true self-esteem.
According to a study by Singh and Kaur , published in the Journal of Exercise Science and Physiotherapy in 2008, meditation can also have a positive effect on self confidence. Meditation increases a person’s confidence in their own abilities and feelings and increases trust in oneself. Perhaps the feeling that one belongs to something much greater than oneself and that there is purpose even in the smallest aspects of life contribute to this increased self confidence.
There are different ways to meditate to build self esteem. These include mantra meditation, (focusing on a word, picture or sound), Yoga meditation which focuses on movements of the body, and guided meditations which we have talked about. All can help you rest your mind and thoughts and can be used to improve self esteem.
Meditation and Psychotherapy
Meditation can be used as an effective therapy for inner conflict. Greg Bogart, MA, has written an article in The American Journal of Psychotherapy about the use of meditation to boost self esteem and as a tool for psychotherapy. He claims it can also reduce emotional problems and can help transform mental health and how one sees oneself.
Borysenko, J. (1987). Minding the body, mending the mind. New York: Bantam
Bogart, G. (1991). The use of meditation in psychotherapy: A review of the literature. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 45(3), 383-412.
Chu, L. C. (2010). The benefits of meditation vis‐à‐vis emotional intelligence, perceived stress and negative mental health. Stress and Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 26(2), 169-180.
Monk-Turner, E. (2003). The benefits of meditation: experimental findings. The Social Science Journal, Vol.40, No.3
Singh, T and Kaur, P. Effect of meditation on self confidence of student-teachers in relation to gender and religion [online]. Journal of Exercise Science and Physiotherapy, Vol. 4, No. 1, Jun 2008: 35-43.
Thorpe, M. MD, PhD. Healthline.org. (2017) 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation
Yoo, Y. G., & Lee, I. S. (2013). The effects of school-based Maum meditation program on the self-esteem and school adjustment in primary school students. Global journal of health science, 5(4), 14–27. https://doi.org/10.5539/gjhs.v5n4p14
Website Author and Editor Bio
Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA) and author of Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 and is an expert in Self Esteem and Self Confidence.