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  • Self-Criticism and Depression

    Thoughts circle in and out of your head all day long.

    These thoughts could relate to anything and everything. Often, the thoughts will relate to what you’re doing in the current moment.

    If you’re at work, you may be thinking about completing items on your to-do list, answering emails, or working on a presentation.

    When you’re with friends, you may think about the information they’re telling you, how you’re going to respond, and catching up from the last time you saw them.

    Sometimes, these thoughts will be negative. No one actually wants to feel bad about themselves, but even the negative thoughts can be normal within reason.

    There’s a big difference between being a little hard on yourself versus being your own worst enemy.

    When self-criticism takes control, it can affect multiple areas of your life. It can even lead to worsening mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Let’s learn more about the role of self-criticism and depression.

    What Is Self-Criticism?

    Simply put, self-criticism is a criticism of oneself. While self-criticism can look different depending on the person and the situation, it’s ultimately a negative belief that you can’t do anything right and you’re not good enough.

    The Cause of Self-Criticism

    There isn’t one specific cause of self-criticism. This form of thinking can stem from early childhood and if your primary caregiver could meet your wants and needs. Relationships that you develop with your family and friends also play a role in how you think and feel about yourself.

    Certain life events are a primary culprit. If someone says something negative about you, you may start believing it. Relationships can also make you question if you’re good enough for your partner. The digital age of social media, edited photos, and highlight reels can make it easy for someone to play the comparison game, which is never a good thing for one’s mental health.

    The Connection Between Self-Criticism and Depression

    Depression can cause someone to be self-critical of themselves, but self-criticism can also lead to depression. If you’re constantly focusing on the negative events in your life and you have blinders on to the positive things that are happening, you will start to experience feelings of hopelessness. It’s important to find a balance between wanting to be better and also being able to see the good that you’re putting into the world.

    How to Address Self-Criticism and Depression

    Everyone can be critical of themselves from time to time. But this isn’t a feeling that should linger or make you turn a blind eye to all the good that you’re putting into the world. It’s important to work towards addressing self-criticism so it doesn’t lead to worsening signs and symptoms.

    Keep a Journal

    Keeping a journal is a great way to help you identify those negative thoughts. Use the journal as a way to empty those thoughts onto the pages instead of keeping them inside. Plus, you can use the journal later on to help you figure out ways to work towards replacing those negative thoughts with more positive ones. You can also identify coping mechanisms and tools that worked.

    Take Care of Yourself

    Taking care of yourself is extremely important, but it may be even more important to one’s overall mental health and wellness in times of stress. Fueling your body properly with the right nutrition, movement, and rest can help get rid of those self-critical thoughts and help you better manage the feelings of depression.

    Reach Out for Help

    Struggling with self-criticism, depression, or a combination of the two can make you feel you don’t deserve help or happiness. You do. Mental health professionals are readily available to help you work through these negative thoughts and feelings. Don’t hesitate to get the help you need and deserve. Reach out today to learn more about depression therapy and how working with a mental health professional can help you move forward in your life again.