Self-Esteem- The Coping Mechanism of Stress Building self-esteem can prevent stress related diseases

By Denise Daly

Can your self-esteem be the coping mechanism of stress. Research affirms that "Perceived stress will be heightened by individuals who do not believe they are competent, significant, or have worthiness. These personal resources make up your self -esteem including a positive, or negative attitude together and they will facilitate your evaluation of stress, and how you cope with it, (Rosenberg, 1965 & Eisenbath, 2012). "Self-esteem is the moderator of the influence of perceived stress, and the coping mechanism for dealing with depression," (Eisenbath, 2012). Building a healthy self-esteem is the key to stress management.

Self-esteem is the "who," and "What," that makes up your personality. "Who," I am, is my self-worth, and the "what," is my competency or self -confidences to handle the demands of life. Our self-esteem is developed by genetics, and environmental experiences. It is how we think about ourselves and how we think about and react to the world around us. High self-esteem sees the demands of life as a challenge, and are able to adapt to these stressful situations, but an individual who suffers from low esteem will see only the negative aspects, and have a poor perception of their abilities to cope with the stressful demands, (Eisenbath, 2012). "Negative thoughts produced by low self esteem have been link to Perfectionism, Depression, Eating Disorders, and Social Anxiety," (Clore & Gaynor, 2006). Low self-esteem may also lead to avoidance of behavior, and to escape the pain use negative behavior to cope, (Eisenbath, 2012). Low self-esteem can lead to health disorders and addictive behavior.

Healthy self-esteem internalizes thoughts of self-liking, social acceptance, which can be summed up as Self-confidences. Your identity is in who you are, not in what you do. "If I fail a test because the information was challenging, that does not make me a failure." Low self-esteem internalizes failing with being a failure. Healthy self-esteem says, " I need to work harder, and ask for help, so I can do better next time." Negative self-talk deflate self-esteem and increase stress, but a positive self-esteem can see life events as challenging.

Negative self-talk is a reflection of low self-esteems, and environmental stresses will exacerbate theses feelings: failure, sadness, hopelessness, lack of purpose, worthlessness, and these thoughts produce stress, (Clore & Gaynor). Self -esteem a predictor of our Spiritual wellness, (Olpin & Hesson, 2015). Self-esteem can be affect by genetics, and life events, but with hard work we can change the way we think and process stress, (Mayo Clinic, 2014). There are many techniques that we can learn and practice to build good self-esteem.

Spiritual Dimension of Wellness is a Healthy Self-Esteem

First step: try to increase your awareness of Spiritual health, and some example are: religion, prayer, and mediation, social interaction, altruism- giving of yourself, introspection, and spending time alone in nature to increase aware of the world, and escaping self, and find gratitude in all you have, (Olpin & Hesson, 2015).

The second step: next identify environmental triggers that deflate your self-esteem, some examples are: work, school, family, co-workers, friends, and life crisis to name a few. Now begin to journal your life events. After identifying triggers, focus on your thoughts, including self-talk, what do you say about yourself, and finally what's your interpretation of the situation, is it positive or negative are you focused on blaming, criticizing, or judging yourself. Examine these thoughts are they based on fact, or your perception. It is important to identify any twisted or distorted thinking, (Mayo Clinic, 2014).

Third step; look for twisted thinking, some examples are: all-or-nothing thinking- You see things as all or nothing, good or bad, (Mayo Clinic, 2017). "If I cannot get an "A" on my test. I should quit. I am stupid anyways." Negative self-talk, Mistaking Feelings for Fact, or Jumping to conclusions," (Mayo Clinic, 2014).

Final step: begin changing your thoughts patterns, and how you see yourself. Cognitive Therapy, uses some effective techniques using hopeful statements, forgive yourself, rewarding and encourage positive changes, relabel upsetting thoughts, focus on the positive, and avoid "should and "must," and remember to be kind to yourself, use your journal, or by self-talk examine and improvement.

Self-esteem is part of your coping mechanism for dealing with stress, and prevention of stress related diseases. Developing a healthy self-esteem can help you manage the demands in life, and enjoy a happy, relaxed, and stress free- life, and seeing life as a series of challenges not defeats.


If you're interested in more information on this topic read, The Feeling Good Handwork, by David Burns, and How to raise your self-esteem, by Nathaniel Branden.


Clore, J., & Gaynor, S. (2006). Self-statement modification techniques for distressed college students with low self-esteem and depressive symptoms. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 2(3), 314-331. Retrieved March 3, 2017.

Eisenbarth, C. (2012). DOES SELF-ESTEEM MODERATE THE RELATIONS AMONG PERCEIVED STRESS, COPING, AND DEPRESSION, 46(1), 149-159. Retrieved Feb. & march, 2017.

Olpin, M. 1., & Margie, H. (2015). Stress management for life: A research- based experiemental approach (4th ed., Kindle ebook). Boston: Cengage learning. Retrieved March 3, 2017.

Self-esteem: Take steps to feel better about yourself. (2014, Aug. & sept.). Retrieved April 02, 2017, from

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