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In a society that puts so much emphasis on being our best selves, there are plenty of opportunities to put extra pressure on ourselves to succeed. While an extra bit of motivation can do wonders for your performance, being too self-critical can be highly toxic.

Constant harsh critiques of yourself and setting unattainable expectations only result in lowered self confidence and a messy cycle of self sabotage that derails your own potential. While this anxiety can cause friction in your adult relationships, it also directly affects your children.

Good or bad, your children absorb everything you put out and, if you aren’t keeping things positive in your life, it has negative side effects in theirs.


I know that’s right. ð??¸: @marjorie_harvey

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While adults are mostly able to identify when stress is being deflected their way, children take that anxiety and internalize it.

This can result in your children putting themselves under unnecessary scrutiny in order to please you. Just like with adults, this added pressure in children causes them to develop a fear of failure, increases their anxiety, decreases their self esteem, and contributes to hostile behaviors.

In order to combat the negative impact of stress in both your life and in the lives of your children, it’s important to identify what is causing it and how to minimize its influence.

1. Identify stressors and put them in context.

Putting names to our emotions is something many of us learn to do as children, but that same process can be applied in different ways. When feeling angry, frustrated, or anxious, putting a name to the stressors that are causing these feelings is the first step in overcoming them.

Once you can identify these stressors, ask yourself if they are permanent or temporary and who or what you’re blaming this stress on. Answers to these questions will help you figure out how to approach them— either through eliminating them or by placing them in a more realistic context.

The best part is that this stress management skill can be taught to your children as well to help them deal with the stressors in their life.

2. Cut the negative talk.


“And what you really fear the most isn’t the suffering inside of you, it’s the stigma inside of others. It’s the shame, it’s the embarrassment, it’s the disapproving look on a friend’s face, it’s the whispers in the hallway that you’re weak, it’s the comments that you’re crazy. That’s what keeps you from getting help. That’s what makes you hold it in and hide it. It’s the stigma. So you hold it in and you hide it. And you hold it in and you hide it. And even though it’s keeping you in bed every day and it’s making your life feel empty, no matter how much you try and fill it, you hide it—because the stigma in our society around depression is very real, it’s very real. And if you think that it isn’t, ask yourself this: would you rather make your next Facebook status say you’re having a tough time getting out of bed because you hurt your back, or are you having a tough time getting out of bed every morning because you’re depressed? That’s the stigma, because, unfortunately, we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people you’re depressed, everyone runs the other way. That’s the stigma. We are so, so, so accepting of any body part breaking down, other than our brains. And that’s ignorance. That’s pure ignorance. And that ignorance has created a world that doesn’t understand depression, that doesn’t understand mental health. And that’s ironic to me because depression is one of the best-documented problems we have in the world, yet it’s one of the least discussed.” (Kevin Breel) #worldmentalhealthday #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealth #breakthestigma #headstogether #anxiety #perinataldepression #postnataldepression #perinatalmentalhealth #childrensmentalhealth #childhoodanxiety #camhs

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Your kids hear what you say— even those comments you’ve said in a moment of frustration or stress. If they hear constant complaints about the state of your life or never-ending self-deprecation, they’re going to absorb that negativity.

Instead of venting your frustration out loud, consider writing it down. Not only will it keep your hurtful words away from your kids, it will also preserve them so you can go back and review your worries with a clearer mind. In fact, a study by Harvard Medical School found that writing about emotional trauma can help individuals who suffer from stress and anxiety.

Journaling is also a good practice to also pass on to your children if they’re older, and is a great way to connect with them (if they’re willing to share their writing, that is).

3. Listen freely and speak honestly.

Excusing your outbursts is easier to do than facing your the underlying reason behind them. But acknowledging and apologizing for your mistakes is the better way to let go of the anxiety that causes us to lash out to begin with.

By doing this, and encouraging your children to do the same, it helps to reinforce that failure is not a life altering experience, but a learning opportunity that can be used whenever we own up to our shortcomings.

It can be difficult to unlearn all of these self-damaging behaviors, but for the sake of our kids— and ourselves— it’s crucial to let go of our most harsh self-criticisms.