How Self-Esteem Relates to Physical & Mental Health

08 April 2022

How Self-Esteem Relates to Physical & Mental Health

One of the most important things in life is to be sure that we feel good about ourselves. It is part of our human nature to want to feel good about ourselves, and for that matter, it’s part of our nature to want other people to think well of us. We are social creatures, and we live in communities with others.

Everyone needs something from one another and expects from one another. Self-esteem plays an important role in our relationships with others, and its importance is not lost in the workplace or school. Here we will be discussing how self-esteem relates to physical and mental health.

Defining Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is the opinion that we have of ourselves, our value as human beings, and how much we like ourselves. Low self-esteem often leads to negative behaviours that can cause problems both socially and physically. It can lead to social isolation, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and eating disorders. It’s also one of the main reasons why people with low self-esteem are drawn to abusive relationships where they can be controlled by others.

What are The 3 Types of Self-Esteem?

1. inflated self-esteem

It is where you think you are better than everyone else and know everything. Such people usually have high self-confidence and are very happy with themselves.

2. low self-esteem

It is where you feel inferior to others and not as good as them. You feel like you are not good enough and know little about yourself. These people usually have low self-confidence, are in denial of their abilities, and can be depressed.

3. high self-esteem

It is where you believe that you are good enough and as good as everyone else. You look at yourself with confidence and have a positive outlook on life. Self-esteem can also be increased or decreased depending on how you feel about yourself. These feelings may change through the day, week, month, or longer depending on your external circumstances such as mood, feelings of other people around you, even the weather.

How Does Self-Esteem Relate to Physical and Mental Health?

Self-esteem is related to both physical and mental health. Low self-esteem will lead to poor health behaviours such as smoking, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, obesity, depression, alcoholism, etc., which in turn leads to poor physical and mental health.

In fact, low self-esteem is one of the main risk factors for physical illness. But there is some good news as well: Self-esteem has a positive effect on healthy behaviours like eating habits eating fruits and vegetables, getting enough exercise, avoiding smoking, drinking diet soda.

Health Risks Due to Low Self Esteem

  1. Depression and anxiety: This is a pretty scary and sad truth. Studies show that people with low self-esteem are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression
  2. Self-harassment: People who feel low about their intelligence, appearance, skills. Tend to have negative thoughts about themselves, which may lead them to self-harassment.
  3. Body image problems: As mentioned before, people who have low self-esteem often develop eating disorders as a way to control their weight, eat less and avoid themselves as much as possible. This is due to the fact that they give themselves low values, which in turn lead to poor eating habits.
  4. Suicide: Another factor that can contribute to suicide is poor mental health, and low self-esteem will definitely be one of the causes.
  5. Self-hatred and negativity towards other people: Because of their lack of worth, they give negative ideas about themselves, which may lead them to hate themselves and the people around them. This can be a result of things such as bullying or abuse. It could also lead to self-harm, like cutting or harming oneself through drugs or alcohol (though most cases are individual).
  6. Sadness, anxiety, or anger towards others: These negative feelings will lead to very sad feelings, which could even lead to physical or emotional abuse.
  7. Poor relationships: An individual with low self-esteem will have a hard time coping with criticism and rejection. They will tend to feel that every negative event is about them rather than the situation or circumstances, which will lead them to feel rejected very easily.
  8. Less likely to take risks: This can lead to a person’s failure in life, or worse yet, being unemployed. The individual might not even get to be part of a social group or even a relationship.

Relationship between Self-Esteem and Mental Health

Mental disorders are mainly related to anxiety and depression, which can be caused by low self-esteem. There are some exceptions for people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia who may have high self-esteem, but most often, in those cases, the high self-esteem is usually very unstable. People with low self-esteem have a greater likelihood of having mental disorders than those with higher self-esteem.

Healthy Behaviours that Relate to Self Esteem

  1. Avoiding smoking, drinking, and drugs is a common factor among people who have high self-worth. They value their health and well-being; that’s why they try to avoid as many risk factors as possible.
  2. They also try to eat healthily, have sufficient exercise, and sleep well. The three above-mentioned points are very important in mental health and physical health. Not only does self-esteem lead you to eat healthily, but it also makes you care about yourself, which can make you get enough sleep and exercise.
  3. High glycemic index diets help control hunger longer. These diets will not make people fat, but they will satisfy their hunger for longer periods of time than the standard diet. It is also the best way to manage diabetes if the person has it.
  4. Volunteers are also usually people who have self-worth. Being a volunteer means that we can help others, which is not only good for us, it gives us a sense of self-worth.
  5. People who have high self-esteem tend to enjoy their lives and make them as enjoyable as possible. They go out with friends more often and have better social relationships.

Self-Esteem and the Workplace: The Effects of Low Self-Esteem on the Job

  1. Being rejected by your peers or colleagues is very discouraging and lowers your self-esteem. You may feel that everyone is talking about you or ridiculing you when in fact, they are not. This makes it harder to be accepted in the workplace and make friends with your colleagues, which can lead to lower performance and refusal to work with a team.
  2. Having poor work performance may be due to feeling low about yourself or having negative thoughts about the work you are doing. You may have doubts that you can do the job well, and this will affect your motivation.
  3. Being rejected by others for a job promotion causes feelings of inadequacy, which lowers your self-esteem.
  4. Not going for promotion, maybe not because you might not think of yourself as worthy enough but because you don’t want to be rejected by people who have power over you, e.g., boss.
  5. Low self-esteem often leads to a reluctance to try new things. This has a negative effect on achievement because you are not likely to take on new challenges or tasks.

How can we Increase Our Self-Esteem?

  1. Expressing your values, despite your fears of making a mistake and being judged by others. This, along with writing down your values, makes you feel good about yourself and increases your self-esteem.
  2. Being around people who have the same interests as you. For example, if you like to play the piano and you’ve been having trouble finding people to hang out with who are musicians too, that can lower your self-esteem. The same is true if you are a photographer or a writer, but no one around listens to your work or plays the role of an interested party.
  3. Be proud of yourself even when no one else seems to be. It may seem cliché, but what you think of yourself really matters and influences your feelings about yourself.
  4. When you are around people who are critical of others, it is likely that they will also be critical of you. But if you tell yourself that you are better than others, this can boost your self-esteem.
  5. Wear clothes and accessories that make you feel good about yourself. This is important to feel better about yourself because you can trick your brain into thinking that you have certain qualities that you do not.
  6. Take care of yourself and keep your body in good shape, so you feel comfortable and confident in it, even when no one else is around.


Self-esteem is very important in our daily lives, and it plays a crucial role in our life. It is important for us to value ourselves as well as care about what we do. We need self-esteem to grow so that we can overcome our fears and be happier. It is important to value yourself and make yourself feel good about your qualities. Rejecting our past selves and changing who we were can be very difficult in comparison to simply accepting ourselves for who we are. In time, we can become happier with our current selves and appreciate the person that we are in comparison to what we were before.


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