When people with low self-esteem repeated the statement “I’m a lovable person,” they felt worse, according to a Canadian study from 2009. That’s because people with low self-esteem simply don’t believe it, the researchers said. And when the opposite thought creeps back in (“I’m not as lovable as I could be”), they feel like they’ve failed the exercise, and their mood sinks lower.
Try this: Acts of kindness may work better for people with low self-esteem. In a separate, yet-to-be published experiment of Canadians of all ages who completed an online study examining several types of positive psychology exercises, volunteers with low self-esteem who performed an act of kindness over a one-week period went from being clinically depressed to being nondepressed, says researcher Myriam Mongrain, a psychologist at York University in Toronto.