Self-criticism against mental health
„I don’t know what to do anymore – I’ve lost all confidence in my own abilities and strengths,“ is a sentence I recently heard from Louisa, Katharina’s friend. After a series of professional and personal failures, Louisa feels extremely insecure and confused. She doubts her competencies and her self-confidence. She takes almost every feedback from her environment personally and feels attacked or hurt.
It has now been scientifically proven that excessive self-criticism can trigger stress symptoms such as anxiety and depression. A lack of inner balance and acceptance of one’s own weaknesses lead to inferiority complexes and psychological suffering. These are such as fear of failure, procrastination and permanent tension. This must not be the goal in any case!
In certain situations, for example your project at work failed, it can be helpful to rethink your actions and thoughts. To critically question one’s own behavior or way of working and to consider alternative patterns, can be quite meaningful. However, the goal of positive further development must not be ignored. It is precisely for this purpose that I have given Louisa the following tips for initial self-help:
First Aid against self-criticism
Take concentrated deep breaths in and out
To lower the acute stress level, to normalize the oxygen supply and the pulse rate.
Think intensively about successes you have already experienced and mentally reactivate these positive moments
To strengthen yourself and to build yourself up mentally
Neutralize the situation
Pretend that you are in the neutral observer perspective and can look at the situation from the outside – What for: To gain mental and emotional distance
Be your own friend
Acknowledge the situation („Yes, it’s hard right now“) and treat yourself supportively and kindly („You’ll make it. You’re stronger than you think“)
To strengthen and to build up your self-love
Use lightning meditation
Sit down for two minutes, get quiet and let the thoughts go without judgement
To gather inner strength and to focus on the essentials
Move your body
Do your favorite exercise, e.g. the yoga tree, or walk on the spot and stretch
The physical awareness and action overlays your negative feelings and redirects your attention
Involve your network
Talk about your situation with someone who is good for you and appreciates you
To use outside support and positive feedback
Practise using these techniques daily
Certainly, it is not easy to practice these tips in stressful situations. Knowledge of the effects of self-criticism, inner brooding, stress, and regular practice of these techniques will help.
In such exact situations of self-doubt and self-criticism, I hope you have someone at home, at work or at a professional support service who you can contact and rely on. Then you could feel safe and work on your challenges.
If you know similar situations or have even experienced them, I ask you for your feedback, gladly via Instagram or by mail!