Elizabeth Venzin established The MindShift Foundation in 2013. With a background in corporate leadership, her determined advocacy for better preventative mental health initiatives has led to successful public health campaigns, lobbying of state and federal governments, and now this book. Elizabeth is a frequent guest on ABC Radio and is a tireless campaigner and speaker on the importance of preventative mental health for individuals, families, communities and workplaces.
Here, she looks at the role of healthy self-worth in the lives of individuals. Mindshift to a Better Place, by Elizabeth Venzin, is on shelves now.
Self-worth and its role in preventative mental healthcare
Prevention intervention in mental healthcare aims to address obvious risk factors before they become serious mental health issues. An individual’s self-worth is a big factor in the prevention process, as it can guide and shape mindset.
Self-worth is a subject that I talk about at great length in my book, MindShift to a Better Place. Our self-worth is measured by how we perceive ourselves and the inherent value we place on ourselves as a person. It is a personal judgement and shapes how we view the world. People with low self-worth tend to feel unhappy with themselves and their lives, and over time these low feelings can become symptomatic of a serious condition like depression or anxiety.
How do we recognise low self-worth?
Low self-worth can reveal itself through our thoughts and behaviours. We can be self-critical or full of anxiety. We can make poor decisions or just feel bad without really knowing why. We can also recognise low self-worth through behaviours such as:
- A preoccupation with other people’s opinions
- An obsessive need to be perfect
- Focusing on the negative
- Self-blame for any perceived ‘wrong’
- An unwillingness to try anything because of a fear of failure
- A general lack of confidence.
How low self-worth can be precursor to poor mental health
Having low self-worth can cause a person to think in a way that isn’t necessarily accurate or healthy. Ongoing negative thinking doesn’t lead to feeling good. In fact, negative thinking and low feelings can be a precursor to a condition like depression. Consider the following statements:
- The past never goes away
- Why bother looking after myself? It’s not like anyone wants me
- I’m not good at anything
- I’m not worthy of someone else’s time
- Everyone else is better than me.
This kind of thinking does not make for a healthy or happy mindset. How can life improve if every thought is negative? It’s easy to neglect ourselves and our health if we feel and think nothing but negativity about ourselves.
Working on mindset to improve self-worth can improve mental health
Dr Lars Madsen, clinical advisor to The MindShift Foundation, believes there are times when a person has to go back and examine their relationship with themselves. People with healthy self-worth, tend to be confident, realistic and resilient. When facing adversity, a person with healthy self-worth has an open mind and can withstand the challenges of life. They inherently know that despite their problems, they deserve and are allowed to feel okay.
People with healthy self-worth tend to display a number of common behaviours.
- They make empowered choices
- They encourage loving and respectful relationships
- They know their values and don’t compromise them
- They can separate feelings from words
- They don’t fear their emotions
- They know they can’t change the past, but the present is theirs for the taking.
Healthy self-worth can help prevent poor mental health
While preventing mental health conditions is not always possible, we can try to maintain our mental health by looking after our self-worth. The way you think and feel about yourself matters. Learn to recognise the symptoms of low self-worth and understand what constitutes healthy self-worth for you. Choose your thoughts and have compassion for yourself, and if you need it, ask for help from a healthcare professional.
Elizabeth Venzin is the Founder and CEO of the Australian not-for-profit organisation The MindShift Foundation. She is an advocate for preventative mental health and the author of MindShift to a Better Place.
Resources about preventative mental health can be found at the MindShift website.
Copyright © The MindShift Foundation
Posted on February 21, 2020 by Larissa