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Positive statements meant to cheer you up may not be what they're cracked out to be

by , 14 August 2013

If you rely on positive statements to cheer you up, you may want to reconsider that. One clinical psychologist actually believes they do more harm than good and won't help improve your confidence levels. Here's why…

Chances are you’ve experienced at least one of these situations: Gotten dumped, your life, messed up at work and didn’t receive an invite to an event you so badly wanted to go to.

These unpleasant situations can cause a serious self-esteem blow.

But if you rely on generic positive statements to feel better, things like ‘you’ll get through this in no time at all’ or ‘Don’t even worry about it, you’re amazing’, it’ll probably just backfire, says Guy Winch, PhD, a clinical psychologist, in his new book, Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries, reports TodayHealth.

Here’s why generic positive statements won’t make you feel better

Winch is quoted as saying the problem with positive statements is “if something falls too far outside our belief system, it won't persuade us.”

For example, let’s your crush turns you down. Your friends and family try to make you feel better telling you he’s missing out and you’re such a great catch.

The truth is according to the TodayHealth, unless you actually believe these super general statements about yourself (and that’s really hard to do since they don't actually say anything concrete), they’re not going to help your confidence level. In fact, you’ll likely reject them consciously or unconsciously and even feel worse, says Winch, citing past research.

So what will help cheer you up?

According to the report, the better option is to come up with specific, personalised statements about attributes or qualities that you have and pride yourself on. Winch calls these self-affirmations.

Chances are you won’t reject these self affirmations because you came up with them yourself and really do believe them, he says.
In the case of the example above, instead of repeating those generic to yourself, think about all of the things you know you have to offer to a romantic partner (loyalty and support). These specific self-affirmations will help to remind you of how awesome you are.

Winch advises you create a list of five to 10 things you value about yourself, then choose one of them and write a couple of paragraphs about why it’s so crucial. “If you do that once a day with each item from your list, that would be a really great thing in terms of restoring your self-esteem when it’s sustained an injury,” says Winch.

If you think this is trivial, think again. Remember, self-esteem affects virtually every facet of your life. With healthy self-esteem you’re more resilient and better able to weather stress and setbacks and are less likely to develop mental health conditions, such as eating disorders, addictions, depression and anxiety.

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