Everyone struggles with self-doubt sometimes. Whether it’s over a new or existing job, relationship, or school, everyone has felt anxiety about their potential success. A great way to overcome that self-doubt and anxiety is to begin noticing the automatic associations your brain makes when you find yourself in these situations. This article is designed to help you become aware of these bad mental health habits, and to show you how to overcome them.
Do you scrutinize every detail and lament if something goes wrong? Does it nag at you when something doesn’t meet your standards? Perfectionism stems from being inflexible about your expectations. This can lead to destructive habits, such as procrastination, feeling overwhelmed, and even giving up or not trying. One article suggests that perfectionists are more likely to struggle with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Perfectionism is also linked to lower self-esteem and an increase in suicidal thoughts. Perfectionism doesn’t just affect our mental health – it can also be damaging physically. Studies show that perfectionists are more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome! Remember to give yourself credit for trying. Instead of focusing on the details of what went wrong, think of the big picture. Life doesn’t come in black and white, and neither should your train of thinking!
This destructive habit stems from overvaluing others’ opinions, which ultimately costs you time, energy, and self-esteem. If you grew up with parents who were depressed or too self-involved, you may have learned the only time you got attention was when you were helping your parent and focusing on their needs. If you grew up with emotionally abusive parents, you may have learned what makes them angry, and only focused on pleasing them to keep safe. Knowing how to help others in a situation doesn’t necessarily equate always having to help. People-pleasing often takes away from you pursuing your own goals while adding unnecessary stress. Practice saying “no” with a trusted family member or friend. It may be uncomfortable at first, but in the long-run, it can help alleviate any potential stress. Remember that sometimes you need to look out what’s best for you, because not everyone is a “people-pleaser” like you who will take time out of their day to make YOU happy.
Social media plays a BIG role in this. We see our friends and family posting pictures of their latest vacation, their brand new car, their brand new baby. What we don’t see are the arguments, the financial problems, the insecurities. So when we see things like this, we compare our experiences, our downfalls, our negatives to others’ highlights reel. These are called upward comparisons – “They seem to have it better than me. They have more money, better looks, etc.” These comparisons are harsh and unfair, and cause a lot of pressure to “keep up.” Parents unknowingly commit this same bad habit: “You’ve always been good at math, but your sister is better at English.” Comparisons are oversimplifications of your current circumstances. The healthiest comparison is to compare yourself to, well, yourself. Use that as a basis for what you need to improve upon, if you need to improve at all.