Understanding Depression and Self Esteem

It is perhaps no surprise that low self esteem, depression and anxiety are often linked. For my psychology clients in my clinic, understanding this link is often the step in healing. Today, I would like to briefly explore the link between depression and self esteem. In my post on self esteem and anxiety I follow this up with some tips to improve your mood that are supported by psychological research.

People often ask me what depression actually is. Depression is basically a prolonged period of low mood, which in more severe cases can result in lower energy levels. In my experience, depression is often characterised by feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness.

It is no surprise that depression and low self-esteem go hand-in-hand. Individuals who experience poor self-worth are more vulnerable to depressive symptoms. It is usually negative self talk that keeps this loop going. Our low self esteem encourages us to focus more on our mistakes and imperfections, or interpret problems that occur at work or within our relationship as being our own fault. This makes us feel more hopeless and inadequate – the key ingredients for depression. Often, in a misguided attempt to motivate ourselves out of our depression, we turn to self critical thoughts such as “why am I so depressed,” “I should just get over it,” “there are others worse of than me,” “here is another thing I can’t get right,” or “I must be just a failure.”

What is needed here is self compassion. We need to understand that we have probably suffered self esteem damage in the past, and that that is not our fault. And remember – you can’t bully or whip yourself into feeling better.

If you are interested in exploring this in a deeper way, you can check out my free webinar on the topic here
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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