Bridget Jones is not alone in turning to self-help mantras to boost her spirits, but a study warns they may have the opposite effect.
Canadian researchers found those with low self-esteem actually felt worse after repeating positive statements about themselves. They said phrases such as "I am a lovable person" only helped people with high self-esteem. The study appears in the journal Psychological Science.
A UK psychologist said people based their feelings about themselves on real evidence from their lives. The suggestion people should "help themselves" to feel better was first mooted by Victorian Samuel Smiles 150 years ago. His book, called simply "Self Help", sold a quarter of a million copies and included guidance such as: "Heaven helps those who help themselves". Self-help is now a multi-billion pound global industry.