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Do a little mental find-and-replace with downer thoughts

Do a little mental find-and-replace with downer thoughts
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I’m so fat. I’m so stupid. I hate myself. Everyone has some negative thoughts that kick in automatically when they make a mistake or feel embarrassed, but these only make you feel worse and can lead to catastrophic thinking, Labuzan-Lopez says. Instead, erase negative beliefs about yourself by writing them down and replacing them with something positive and realistic. For example, “I can’t do anything right at work” becomes “I did not meet this goal but it does not make me a bad employee or person.”

Be your own BFF

Be your own BFF
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If your best friend started talking about how awful she was or how he can’t do anything right, you wouldn’t stand for it, right? So take the same approach with your own negative self-talk, speaking to yourself as if you were advising your friend, Bennett says. Instead of being your own worst enemy, become your own best friend. Doing this doesn’t just help you to feel better, but may actually help you to choose actions or behaviours that are more advantageous to you. In other words, feeling more empowered or confident can pay off externally as well as internally.

Volunteer at the local food bank

Volunteer at the local food bank
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If you want to feel worthy and happy fast, serve someone else. Not only will you feel pleased at being able to help others but you’ll be distracted from negative thoughts, says Donna Volpitta, EdD., founder of The Center for Resilient Leadership. Think of service as an anti-depressant minus the pill: Serving at a soup kitchen, visiting a nursing home, raking a neighbour’s leaves all give you a boost of dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin, the neurotransmitters responsible for feeling positive and happy, she explains. There are even virtual ways to volunteer online, too.

Start a garage band

Start a garage band
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You’re never too old to do something fun or live out a childhood dream. Taking the opportunity to learn a new skill or revive an old one gives you a chance to experience pride, gratitude, and compassion – all essential for building true self-worth, Volpitta says. So take piano lessons, sign up for that cooking class, buy a model car kit, or do whatever it is you’re interested in.

You’ll also enjoy these 21 hidden health benefits music lovers wish you knew.

Set a goal

Set a goal
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If you want to feel like you’ve accomplished something, start by accomplishing something. It’s so simple yet so many people feel like they’re not worthy of the time, money and effort it takes to achieve something major, like losing weight, completing a 5K race, climbing a mountain, writing a book, or getting a better job. You are worth it, and one way to prove that to yourself is by setting a goal and doing whatever it takes to achieve it, Volpitta says.

Try these 13 goal-setting tips from mental health experts.

Make a big, beautiful, delicious salad

Make a big, beautiful, delicious salad
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Taking care of your physical health is an important part of self-worth because the brain and body are inextricably connected, says Marsha Ferrick, PhD, a life coach and counsellor. “Eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep every night, drink plenty of water, move every day – all these things will help you to have a better perspective on life, including yourself,” she says.

Here are 19 food staples healthy people always stock in the pantry.

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Adopt a pet

Adopt a pet
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Are you a cat person? A dog lover? A guinea pig and chinchilla enthusiast? Whatever your fur baby, pets provide a special kind of unconditional love. After all, what could possibly make you feel more worthy of love than someone who literally pees with excitement every time you walk in the door – even if they just saw you 10 minutes ago? Be open to, and appreciate, the affection that your pet gives you, Habash says.

Discover 15 surprising benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

Take a scented bubble bath and watch your favourite movie

Take a scented bubble bath and watch your favourite movie
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An easy way to show yourself some self-love is to take some “me time” for something you really enjoy. The trick is to make it something that engages multiple senses, says Karen Whitehead, a licensed social worker and counsellor. Think a bath with fragrant candles and your favourite music, or a walk outside smelling the rain and listening to your feet sloshing through puddles. Focusing on all your senses will bring you into the moment and give your brain a rest from the daily grind.

Get inspired by these 50 simple pleasures that make life worth living.

Lift some heavy stuff up and put it back down

Lift some heavy stuff up and put it back down
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Exercise, in general, is a powerful self-esteem booster, helping you not only look better but feel better, inside and out. But don’t stop with taking a jog around the block; lifting weights can be particularly powerful in building worth, says Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress and a stress management specialist. Strength training is easy to quantify, so you can clearly see your progress, plus it alleviates stress and generates feel-good chemistry.

Learn 14 more things that happen when you start a beginners weightlifting workout.

Ask a friend to write a list of what they like about you

Ask a friend to write a list of what they like about you
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Disclaimer: This is going to feel really weird. Do it anyway. The next time you’re questioning your worth, ask your mum, best friend or loved one who knows you well to jot down a few of the things they love about you and think you’re good at, says Rob Cole, a licensed mental health counsellor. Not only will it be a powerful lesson in that moment but you can refer back to their note any time you’re feeling down.

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