Loneliness In Kids Who Learn and Think Differently

Kids who learn and think differently aren’t the only ones who can feel lonely or “apart” from other kids. Most people feel that way at some point.

But research shows that kids who learn and think differently are more likely than their peers to struggle with loneliness. And they often have a harder time dealing with those feelings when they have them. Learn more about loneliness and kids who learn and think differently.

Why kids who are different might feel lonely

Kids who learn and think differently might feel lonely for many reasons. For starters, they’re more likely to be bullied or left out. They can have a hard time making friends or connecting with people. And struggling in school and socially can make kids feel bad about themselves.

They may feel like nobody understands them or their challenges. And they might even withdraw. Kids with certain challenges are most likely to feel left out and isolated. These challenges include trouble with:

The difference between being lonely and being alone

Some people like spending time alone. That goes for kids and adults. As long as they have the ability to make friends and connect with other people when they want to, being alone is a preference, not a problem.

Being unhappy when alone doesn’t necessarily mean someone is lonely, though. Having a hard time entertaining yourself and feeling bored aren’t the same thing as feeling socially isolated.

Also, loneliness isn’t always about being alone. Some kids feel isolated even when they’re with others. They feel like nobody around them shares or understands their challenges. There’s nobody to connect with.

How loneliness can impact kids

When kids go through the occasional lonely spell, it usually doesn’t have a lasting impact. Feeling lonely all the time is different, though. It can affect kids in lots of ways. And it can lead to other difficulties.

Kids who feel lonely might be:

More likely to have low self-esteem. They might feel like others are rejecting them. Kids might lose confidence in themselves and eventually believe they have nothing valuable to offer.

Less likely to take positive risks. Trying new things can build confidence and lead to new interests and skills. But kids who are already feeling rejected and vulnerable may not want to take this leap. They may be afraid to call attention to themselves and risk failing.

More likely to be sad, disconnected, and worried. Kids deal with loneliness in different ways. They may keep their sadness inside and pull away from others. Or they may become angry and act out. The combination of negative emotions and isolation can lead to depression and anxiety.

More likely to engage in risky behaviors. Teens may drink, smoke or vape, use drugs, vandalize property, or do other risky things if they think it will help them feel accepted.

There are many ways to help your child handle feelings of loneliness. First, don’t force your child to become more social or to make lots of friends. Instead, work on building self-esteem. Help your child find interests that lead to meeting new kids who like similar things.

Keep an eye on signs of depression, too. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your health care provider if you have concerns. And if your child has ADHD, read about the connection between ADHD and depression.

By: Kate Kelly

Source: Loneliness in Kids Who Learn and Think Differently | Understood

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Critics by Rachel Ehmke

If your child is struggling to make friends, there are ways to help. First, try to figure out why. Some kids need help with social skills. This is common for kids who are immature or have ADHD, autism or non-verbal learning disorder. Other kids are anxious. They may feel overwhelmed in new social situations or big groups.

Kids who are depressed often want to stay in their rooms. They may interpret things negatively and doubt others want to see them. Finally, some kids may have a hard time fitting in because they have different interests.

If you think your child is lonely, ask them. Start by describing a time when you have felt lonely. If they don’t want to talk, try again in a few days. Don’t push them.

If your child says they are lonely, try to be a good listener. Show that you’re listening by reflecting back what they’re saying: “It sounds like you’re having a hard time.” You can also say supportive things like: “That sounds tough. Would you tell me more about that?”

Once you know more, you can try to help. For kids who need practice with social skills, you can break things down into small steps. Then you can role play them with your child. For kids who have a hard time putting themselves out there, acknowledge how they feel. Then remind them that they’ll probably have a good time once they’ve made the effort. Give them lots of support and praise for doing something tough.

Some kids tend to misunderstand interactions. You can give a reality check: “What makes you think he’s mad? Are there other explanations?” For kids who interpret things negatively a lot, pointing it out each time can help break the pattern.

Finally, help kids find a group or activity that is interesting to them. Many kids find success online, where there are lots of virtual groups for kids with specific interests. Getting excited about something will help them feel more confident, too.

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The Effects of Self-Centered Parenting on Children

Many children suffer grave emotional problems from living with a self-absorbed parent. The child is disregarded and used as an extension of the parent. Often, this means the child’s physical wants and needs, points of view, and emotional needs go unmet.

The Role-Reversal Relationship

Everything revolves around the self-absorbed parent. The relationship is one-sided and directed by the parent. Such a parent enlists the child in caring for and catering to him or her. This creates a role-reversal relationship that is inappropriate for the child’s growth, development, and welfare.

Self-absorbed parents have many characteristics in the ways they relate with their children These relationship traits are well summarized by both Nina W. Brown, EdD, LPC, in Children of the Self-Absorbed and by Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD. in Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents. Such parents manipulate the child to ensure the spotlight of admiration stays on the parent. They lack empathy for the child’s emotional needs. They may show jealousy with any steps the child takes toward individuation––being his or her own person.

Children’s Emotional Responses

Children are affected by growing up with a self-focused parent. When a child is not related to as an individual, a separate person from a parent, there are many emotional and psychological consequences for the child. When a child’s individuality is disregarded, it affects self-esteem and confidence. Low self-esteem in turn can create anxieties and depressions, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and runaway behaviors.

There are a wide variety of consequences children suffer in growing up with a selfish parent. Are there discernible patterns to their suffering? Homer B. Martin. M.D., and I found that there are. Children respond to self-centered parents differently based on the child’s personality style. This style is created by how a child is emotionally conditioned within the family. We discovered personality styles form into two types––omnipotent and impotent.

Effects on Omnipotent Children

Omnipotent children try hard to satisfy selfish parents. The omnipotent label comes from the child’s unconscious belief that he or she is psychologically strong and able to fulfill the parent’s needs and requests, no matter how inappropriate. Such children are trained to be emotionally attuned to what the parent needs and wants. It’s a tall order and an impossible job for adults, much less a small child.

A child with an omnipotent personality acts as a complement to a self-focused parent. The omnipotent child will attempt to care for and meet a selfish parent’s needs and desires. Since omnipotent children strive to do what Dad wants or be what Mom demands, they fall short. Selfish parents ask too much and are capricious, readily changing their demands. When these children fail to please selfish parents, they feel guilty, berate themselves, and lose self-esteem and confidence.

Omnipotent-role children feel anxious, get depressed, and believe they are of little value for failing the selfish parent’s demands. This puts them at risk for emotional illnesses of depression, academic failure, social withdrawal from friends, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and eating disorders.

Effects on Impotent Children

The other emotionally conditioned role for children in families is the impotent role. These children are raised differently from omnipotent children. Impotent refers to their unaware belief and actions of helplessness in their relationships. They are raised to be self-absorbed, like the self-centered parent. In this situation there are two peas in a pod. Parent and child are alike in personality.

An impotent parent and impotent child robustly compete with one another. Each wants to be the top dog in the relationship. Each wants his or her way. Young impotent children are often bullied by their selfish parent with put-downs and name-calling. At other times they may be favored children, regarded by selfish parents as special. This happens because the parents project their own specialness and self-centered view onto the child. It is like looking in a mirror.

Older impotent children and teenagers bully and fight back with their impotent parent. This can create verbal and even physical conflict, as they both erupt with demands to gain their way in the relationship. Impotent personality teens may run away from home, self-mutilate, abuse substances, or become involved in legal troubles. They are more likely to be outwardly volatile in their reactions to a self-absorbed parent than are omnipotent personality children, who curtail their emotional reactions.

Difficulties Follow into Adult Life

Unfortunately, the effects of living with a self-absorbed parent do not vanish at the end of childhood. As children grow to adulthood, they continue to relate to other selfish people the same way they were emotionally conditioned to do as a child. We discovered that omnipotent personality children often marry self-focused mates. They focus on pleasing and caring for their partner. They neglect themselves in the relationship. Often, they walk on emotional eggshells, striving to never upset their mates.

Impotent children may form the same high-conflict relationships with other selfish people. They will always be in a contest to get their way in the relationship. They may have frequent emotional blowups and even physical altercations.

A Way Out

Hopefully, self-absorbed people will want to improve themselves before they become parents. They can do this by taking honest stock of their own emotional conditioning style.How were you raised? Were you indulged and allowed to have your way a great deal? Did other family members give in to your requests, demands, or tantrums, no matter how unreasonable they were? Do you expect others to meet your desires and never thwart you?

If answers to these questions are positive for you, then you were likely raised in an impotent role. Your job before becoming a parent is to undo some of your emotional conditioning. Seek out psychotherapy and work with a therapist. By so doing you can be prepared to raise your children in a reasonable way, listening to their needs and viewpoints and imposing judicious guidance and discipline. By undertaking the job of changing yourself, their childhoods will not be all about you.

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An Excess of Empathy Can Be Bad For Your Mental Health

Empathy is an ability to sync emotionally and cognitively with another person; it is a capacity to perceive a world from their perspective or share their emotional experiences. It is essential for building and maintaining relationships, as it helps us connect with others at a deeper level. It is also associated with higher self-esteem and life purpose.

There are broadly two types of empathy: cognitive empathy and emotional empathy. Emotional empathy is about sharing feelings with others to the extent that you may experience pain when watching someone in pain, or experience distress when watching someone in distress. This is what happens to many people when they watch upsetting news on TV, especially when they relate to specific people and their lives.

But emotional empathy isn’t just about experiencing negative emotions. Empathetic people may experience an abundance of positivity when watching other people’s joy, happiness, excitement, or serenity and can get more out of music and other daily pleasures.While this emotional contagion is suitable for positive states, having too much empathy when watching people suffer can be very upsetting and even lead to mental health problems.

Too much empathy towards others, especially when we prioritise other people’s emotions over our own, may result in experiences of anxiety and depression, which explains why so many of us feel bad when watching the news about the war in Ukraine.

The other type of empathy – cognitive empathy – refers to seeing the world through other people’s eyes, seeing it from their perspective, putting ourselves into their shoes without necessarily experiencing the associated emotions and, for example, watching the news and understanding at a cognitive level why people feel despair, distress or anger. This process may lead to emotional empathy or even somatic empathy, where empathy has a physiological effect (somatic being from the ancient Greek word “soma” meaning body).

The effect of empathy on the body has been well documented. For example, parents experiencing high levels of empathy towards their children tend to have chronic low-grade inflammation, leading to lower immunity. Also, our heart beats to the same rhythm when we empathise with others. So the impact of empathy when watching the news is both psychological and physiological. In some circumstances, it may result in what some refer to as “compassion fatigue”.

Misnomer

The burnout experienced by excessive empathy has traditionally been termed compassion fatigue. But more recently, using MRI studies, neuroscientists have argued that this is a misnomer, and that compassion does not cause fatigue. The distinction is important because it turns out that compassion is the antidote to the distress we feel when we empathise with people who are suffering. We need less empathy and more compassion.

Empathy and compassion are distinct events in the brain. Empathy for another person’s pain activates areas in the brain associated with negative emotions. Because we feel the other person’s pain, the boundary between the self and others can become blurred if we do not have good boundaries or self-regulation skills and we experience “emotional contagion”.

We get entangled in the distress and find it hard to soothe our emotions. We want to depersonalise, become numb, and look away. In contrast, compassion is associated with activity in areas of the brain associated with positive emotions and action.

Compassion can be defined simply as empathy plus action to alleviate another person’s pain. The action part of compassion helps us decouple our emotional system from others and see that we are separate individuals. We do not have to feel their pain when we witness it. Instead, we have the feeling of wanting to help. And we have a rewarding, positive emotional experience when we feel compassion towards another.

Here are three ways to practice compassion while watching the news.

1. Practice loving-kindness meditation

When you are overwhelmed by the news, practice loving-kindness mediation, where you focus on sending love to yourself, people you know, and those you don’t know who are suffering.

If we can create a buffer of positive emotions with compassion, we can think about how to practically help and act in overwhelming situations. Training your “compassion muscles” provides a buffer against the negative emotions so that you can be better motivated to help and not get overwhelmed by the distressing emotions.

Loving-kindness meditation does not reduce negative emotions. Instead, it increases activation in areas of the brain associated with positive emotions like love, hope, connection and reward.

2. Practice self-compassion

Are you beating yourself up for not being able to help? Or feeling guilty about your life while other people suffer? Try being kind to yourself. Remember that while our suffering is always specific to us, it is not uncommon. We share a common humanity of all experiencing some kind of suffering. While being mindful of your suffering, also try to not over-identify with it. These acts of self-compassion help reduce the distress experienced in empathic burnout and improves feelings of wellbeing

3. Take action

Empathic distress evokes negative feelings, such as stress, and prompts us to withdraw and be unsociable. In contrast, compassion produces positive feelings of love for another. It prompts us to take action. Most specifically compassion helps motivate sociability. One way to [counter empathic distress] is to get involved: donate, volunteer, organise.

4. Stop doomscrolling

Understandably, we look for information in times of crisis. It helps us be prepared. However, doomscrolling – continually scrolling through and reading depressing or worrying content on a social media or news site, especially on a phone – is not helpful.

Research on social media engagement during the pandemic showed that we need to be mindful of our news consumption to avoid increases in stress and negative emotions. To avoid the news altogether is unrealistic, but limiting our consumption is helpful. Another suggestion is to balance our media consumption by seeking out stories of acts of kindness (kindscrolling?), which can lift our mood.

Source: An excess of empathy can be bad for your mental health

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When Meditation and Spirituality Become Obstacles To Maturation

Many skilled Western meditators have noted an uncomfortable gap between their “spiritual” aspect and their everyday personality. For some, it is tempting to use meditation to withdraw from unpleasant feelings or relationship conflicts into a meditative “safe zone.”

One representative example is found the online magazine Aeon. In July 2019, it brought a thoughtful article, “The Problem of Mindfulness,” from a university student, Sahanika Ratnayake.

Sahanika had begun to meditate in her teenage years and then found that the very practice of neutral witnessing interfered with her ability to form judgments about the situations that she was in. She felt as if a membrane had formed between her and the events of her life and the events in the news.

Very sensibly, she ended up using neutral witnessing much more sparingly—and I suspect that loving-kindness meditations might have been helpful as well. What she experienced was not meditative witnessing but dissociation.

Meditation and Immaturity

Other meditators long for glowing visions of divine figures or intricate dreams and past-life images of their spiritual belonging or importance—events that can counterbalance low self-esteem. Others seem to seek refuge in performance: counting daily hours of meditation, collecting data on time spent as a quality guarantee for a valuable life.

Also, a sense of entitlement can easily sneak in: “Because I am such a good and spiritual person, I am entitled to . . . (your love and admiration, your money, sex with you whether you want it or not, the right to throw temper tantrums, the right not to get criticized, not to get disturbed)”—fill in your own favorite privilege. Of course, this is not spirituality but immaturity.

Seeking Comfort

It is important to realize that meditation and prayer don’t automatically create a mature personality. They develop skills in meditating and praying. Interestingly, modern Jungian psychologists have been very alive to this issue. One excellent author on the subject is Robert Moore, whose descriptions are much with me. He writes about the immature tendency to seek comfort in grandiosity (Moore, 2003).

In his view, grandiosity can be either directly self-centered (“I am amazing”) or referred to the group that a person identifies with (“I have the true religion/football team/et cetera)” or to a teacher (“I myself am nothing, but my spiritual teacher or organization is the one true way,” or at the very least “My teacher and spiritual path are better than your teacher and spiritual path”).

Spiritual Sensitivity

Another pitfall is “spiritual sensitivity,” which can be understood as being too sensitive to bear facing the pain of other people or of the world. This position is not exclusive to people with a spiritual practice, and it is also not a sign of purity, but the result of being caught at the maturation level of emotional contagion.

This term refers to the normal emotional maturity that is most evident in the infant at around three to eight months of age. It describes states in which we resonate with the feeling of another person but get caught in that feeling instead of being able to embrace it, feeling it fully and holding it with kindness.

Empathy and Maturation

When we can access slightly higher levels of maturity, we feel more separate, and this makes it possible to develop empathy. This emerges around the age of sixteen to eighteen months of age, and it transforms our emotional resonance into a feeling of care directed to the other.

From empathy we can take a step further in maturation, developing the ability to create a mental image of what the other is experiencing and then reality-testing it—checking it, combining mental clarity with empathy into an attitude of compassion that reaches out to the actual need rather than to our fantasy of the need.

More Meditation Pitfalls

But we are not quite done with the pitfalls. Once we can think about the inner states of others, we can lose the empathic resonance in favor of a safe mental ivory tower of thoughts, explanations, and disengaged mirror-like witnessing. Compassion is the opposite of disengagement. Itliterally means “with-passion” or “in-touch.” We touch pain and joy and allow it to touch us and move us, and perhaps move us to action—but not to drown us.

I might add a final, universal, primitive dynamic: “us” versus “them.” Once again, these issues are not caused by contemplative practices (or religion in general), but contemplative practices do not resolve them. If they did, groups with a high value on prayer and meditation would have little or no conflict, their leadership would be free of aggressive or underhanded competition, and their organizational hierarchies would be helpful and benign.

Splitting into “us” and “them” just wouldn’t happen. Perhaps we would have just one inclusive world religion in which everyone would be able to find common ground and accept each other’s inevitable differences.

Instead, the social dynamics of spiritual organizations and spiritual leadership look just like that of all the other human activities, from war to politics to football to cooking, with mature and immature behavior all mixed together, scandals, infighting, great teamwork here and there, greed, power games, lies, compassionate behavior, sexual abuse, and all the rest of the whole glorious mess of human social life.

The hard fact of human maturation and brain development is that you get better at what you do more of, and you lose skills that you don’t use. Learning meditation and prayer will not make us better at resolving conflicts with other people, because the two practices require different skill set. Meditating will make you better at meditating.

Learning to resolve conflicts in relationships

Faced with questions from students about deeply personal problems and existential issues, many meditation masters have come up with a compassionate cry: “Meditate more! Let go! It will pass!” This is true, everything will pass, including us, but in the meantime, maturity is about taking responsibility for something more than our own comfort or development.

In this century, we are waking up to sharing the care of a whole world. In your daily relationships, this means that no matter how innocent, pure, or spiritual you might feel, if there is a conflict in one of your relationships, understanding yourself as part of this conflict is an essential skill. Learning to work well with others and learning to resolve painful issues in your intimate life and your friendships will develop this skill. It will also give you more depth if and when you meditate.

Learning to resolve conflicts in relationships is likely to enhance your spiritual practice, if you have one. In exactly the same way, a spiritual practice is likely to help you with your relationship issues, if you want to learn how to resolve relationship pain. All learning has an innate structure. It adapts to other fields. Once you know three languages well, a fourth is easier to learn.

In my own experience, it holds true that deep insights about learning transfer well across different fields, such as meditation, relationship issues, and animal training. As I continue to learn how to train a dog or a horse, as well as my recently adopted red-tailed boa Cassie, I improve my ability to listen into animals. During that often frustrating process, I develop nonverbal cues and discover nonverbal principles of how to listen to the aliveness and readiness of my own consciousness—and how to listen to the aliveness of students, clients, friends, and last, but not least, my husband.

photo of the author: Marianne Bentzen

By: Marianne Bentzen

Marianne is a psychotherapist and trainer in neuroaffective development psychology. The author and coauthor of many professional articles and books, including The Neuroaffective Picture Book, she has taught in 17 countries and presented at more than 35 international and national conferences.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Meditation and Trauma (Video)

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Ways to Build Self-Esteem

Everybody experiences self-doubt from time to time. It’s a normal part of being human. When feelings of self-doubt last for long periods, however, you may have low self-esteem. “Low self-esteem is used to describe someone with a negative view of oneself, feelings of worthlessness and incompetence. Generally people fall on a continuum from low to high self-esteem, and this can vary from day to day and from situation to situation,” says Lori Ryland, a psychologist in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Fortunately, low self-esteem doesn’t have to be permanent. Recognizing symptoms of low self-esteem, understanding its causes and learning steps to thwart it can go a long way toward making you feeling worthy, valuable and confident.

What Causes Low Self-Esteem?

Low self-esteem can have many triggers and begin at any time in life. Some experts say low self-esteem is more the result of negative or traumatic experiences.

Others say low self-esteem stems from a critical inner voice. “Although it seems that our emotions and motivations result directly from the events and circumstances we encounter, they are instead reactions to our self-talk – the internal monologue that streams through our waking consciousness, interpreting whatever we experience and creating our perspective,” notes John Tholen, an author and retired psychologist who practiced in Southern California for more than 40 years.

Symptoms of Low Self-Esteem

The symptoms of low self-esteem may be hard to recognize or admit to yourself.

Ryland says signs can include:

Or perhaps you may recognize certain habits of low self-esteem, such as being unable to set boundaries. “Letting others have their way and failing to stand up for oneself can occur,” Ryland says.

Ways to Build Self-Esteem

You can build self-esteem with many techniques. Here are 17 to get you started.

  • Get some perspective. Realize that many people experience low self-esteem, and you’re not alone. “Self-esteem issues are much more common than you might think,” says Noam Dinovitz, a therapist in Philadelphia. “It’s one of those issues that frankly is easy to hide.”
  • Give yourself a break. “Maybe you are ‘just right’ how you are. Maybe this is a learning time. Maybe this is how it is all supposed to be. Be kind to others, and be kind to yourself. It is OK if you take a break today,” says Lynn Zakeri, a therapist in Chicago.
  • Be aware of self-criticism. “Take note of what you are saying to yourself,” says Alyssa Friedman-Yan, a therapist in Wilton, Connecticut. “Demand proof for these harsh statements.”
  • Get a second opinion. “First, list a few people in your life whom you value, and the reasons why you value them. Next, when appropriate, ask them why they value you. Then compare the list,” says Aaron Weiner, a psychologist in Chicago. “Is there any overlap? Do you agree with their judgment of you?”

  • Redirect negative thoughts.Reframe that critical voice into a more supportive one. Did you make a mistake? Well, instead of, ‘I’m so stupid,’ how about saying, ‘I learned what not to do,’” says Natalie Bernstein, a psychologist in Pittsburgh.
  • Change your expectations. “Unrealistic expectations can set one up for failure and diminish self-worth,” says Dr. Rahul Gupta, a psychiatrist in Atlanta. “It is important to tell oneself that not meeting certain goals and expectations is permissible.”
  • Write down your definition of worth. Be specific. “When we use general phrases, it’s easy to say we don’t feel good, because we can’t even truly define what we’re saying,” Dinovitz points out. “Furthermore, make sure that the worth is coming from a healthy place. If all of our worth is coming from a source like our jobs or how many followers we have on social media, that’s not healthy.”
  • Set realistic goals. “Start small and start simple. Be proud of even the smallest accomplishments. Change is best when it’s gradual and not abrupt. I like to tell my clients, ‘We cannot get from point A to Z without traveling through the alphabet, so please stop trying to skip B and C. Leave a trail of breadcrumbs so you can see your accomplishment and feel it and find pride in it,’” Friedman-Yan says.
  • Take control of negative experiences. “If we’re able to find purpose in the negative things that have happened to us, then we are able to use our negative experiences to our advantage and are able to feel like we have more control over what happened to us,” notes Brooke Aymes, a therapist in Haddon Township, New Jersey.
  • Take stock of successes. If you’ve succeeded before, you can do it again. “Make a list of all your accomplishments and keep this handy. Review it and add to it often, especially when you’re feeling low,” Ryland advises.
  • Try being assertive in conversation. “Say something that takes courage. It may just be chiming in or an opinion, but assertiveness can help you walk taller,” Zakeri suggests.

  • Challenge Yourself. “Maybe you’ve always wanted to hike a mountain, sleep in a tent or go kayaking, yet you’ve never made time for the experience. The more we challenge ourselves to try new things, the more we see what we are truly capable of and it helps us to build self confidence in ourselves,” Aymes says.
  • Surround yourself with healthy relationships. “Individuals that make up a social support system provide a mirror for one’s positive image. Healthy relationships and social support systems also provide an example of positive values that one can strive to embrace,” Gupta explains.
  • Avoid social media. Many studies suggest that social media is harmful to self-esteem. For example, a review of 49 studies of college students or teens, published online Aug. 27, 2019, by Media Psychology found that comparing oneself to others on social media was often associated with lower self-esteem. “Whether what we see is accurate or not, it’s very difficult to see what everybody else is up to or accomplishing and then not compare that to ourselves,” Dinovitz says.
  • Be in service to others. Aymes advises clients to volunteer or perform random acts of kindness, such as paying for the road or bridge toll of a person behind you in traffic. “Being in service to others helps us to naturally feel like good humans and also makes the world a better place,” she notes.
  • Use affirmations. “Think of how easily you believe critical ones of yourself. Instead, try to choose a phrase or two that you want to believe about yourself. Write it down on a piece of paper and keep it in your pocket, or note it on your phone. When saying it, try to tap into the feeling of the affirmation, imagine what your life would be like if this were to be true. Practice is important here, so set a timer on your phone if you need help remembering throughout the day,” Bernstein recommends.
  • Seek professional help. Consider reaching out to a professional such as a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. An expert can guide you through a number of types of talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which utilizes many of the same strategies in this article, including identifying dysfunctional thoughts and refocusing them to be more positive. “We can improve both our outcomes and our state of mind by identifying – and shifting our attention to – reasonable alternative ideas that are more likely to inspire constructive action or hope,” Tholen says.

Finally, don’t beat yourself up if change doesn’t happen overnight. “A path to self-acceptance is often a long one and has many peaks and valleys,” Friedman-Yan says. “It takes effort and adaptation, and requires us to be mindful in our interactions with self and our world around us.”

By

Heidi Godman reports on health for U.S. News, with a focus on middle and older age. She has over two decades of experience and her work has appeared in dozens of publications, including the Harvard Health Letter (where she serves as executive editor), the Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel and Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor.

Source: Ways to Build Self-Esteem | US News

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