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January 22, 2013 06:06 PM

Higher Self Esteem And Your Health

SIOUX FALLS, SD

Having high self-esteem can not only make you feel better, but it can also improve your health. That's why participants in the Go Red Challenge, which aims to improve heart health, are focusing on self esteem.

Jill Muehl wakes up early in the morning to make it to her 5:30 a.m. workout class.

"I workout in the mornings, and it starts my day off right," Muehl said.

Muehl says breaking a sweat also improves her self esteem. That's something she, along with other participants in the Go Red Challenge, are working on.

"We find a lot of times people with low self esteem have an increased rate of depression, anxiety, and disordered eating," Sanford Mental Health Counselor Becky Palugyay said.

Palugyay says having low self esteem can also lead to high blood pressure and a high stress level, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. But there are ways you can improve your self esteem, including surrounding yourself with positive people and not comparing yourself to others.

"If you tend to have a negative thought process and negative beliefs about things, you're going to be more pessimistic. You're going to have more difficulties coping with stress," Palugyay said.

Exercise and eating right can also help. They're two things Muehl has been working on that she hopes will positively impact her health.

"I want to live a long time. I have a 14-year-old stepdaughter. I want to see her succeed in her life. I just want to have a long, healthy life," Muehl said.

A dozen area women, including Muehl are taking part in the Go Red Challenge, a 16-week health makeover put on by the American Heart Association.

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