Although striving to be the best you can be isn't necessarily a bad thing, if you're constantly setting high standards for yourself, it could take a toll on your mental and physical health.
Here are some signs you're being a bit too hard on yourself and may want to give yourself a break.
Vinay Saranga, MD, a psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry, told INSIDER that oftentimes one of the first signs someone is being too hard on themselves is when they begin using negative, pessimistic language to describe themselves and their life.
He told INSIDER that some of these common negative self-talk phrases include: "I'm just not good enough to … ," "I wish I could be as good as … ," and "Things don't usually go my way."
Saranga told INSIDER that when you're not meeting your self-imposed expectations, you may become hostile, angry, and upset. You may also struggle to deal with overwhelming feelings of disappointment and beliefs that nothing will ever be good enough.
"Someone's posture definitely takes a toll when it comes to self-criticism," Katie Sandler, an impact coach, told INSIDER. "One may have a difficult time carrying themselves assertively."
In a 2012 Ted Talk, Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, explained that how you feel can influence your posture. According to Cuddy, if you're feeling powerless you might slouch and make yourself small and if you're feeling powerful, you might stand up straight with your head held high.
So if you've been harshly criticising yourself a lot lately and it's been making you feel down, you might find yourself sitting and standing a bit differently.
If your tough inner-critic is causing you to experience long-term mental and emotional stress, it could begin to impact on different parts of your body.
A study presented at the 2014 American Academy of Neurology and reported by Self found that the more stress you're under, the more headaches you're likely to get. Sandler also said that having high stress levels may weaken your immune system and cause you to get sick more frequently.
Trying to live up to anyone's expectations, be it your own or someone else's, can be exhausting. So some people who are constantly too hard on themselves might feel tired throughout the day and find it easy to fall into a deep sleep at night, psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., author of "Dr. Romance's Guide to Finding Love Today" told INSIDER.
Being too hard on yourself can have the opposite impact on your sleep cycle, too, Tessina added. She said if your mind is involved in a constant loop of negative self-talk and worry, sleep might not come easy or at all.
Being very self-critical can impact how you feel about yourself. And that, in turn, can influence how you think others perceive you. "When you don't like yourself, you expect that others won't like you," Tessina told INSIDER. She said if you begin to think poorly about yourself, you might also feel suspicious of anyone who seems to like you.
Dr. Sherry Benton, psychologist, mental health care administrator and the founder and chief science officer of TAO Connect, told INSIDER that how you feel about yourself can sometimes begin to reflect in the way that you take care of yourself.
"When we are engaging in a healthy, balanced life, we tend to have a number of sources of well-being: physical activity, social connections, sources of meaning and purpose, healthy nutrition and sleep, spiritual activities and purposeful work," she said. According to Benton, if someone becomes overly focused on one of those things, they may neglect other aspects of their life and begin to feel worse over time.
Failing to meet high, self-imposed standards time and time again could make you feel disappointed, which, licensed clinical psychologist, Carly Claney, Ph.D. told INSIDER, may eventually cause you to expect less of yourself.
"If you constantly feel like you're disappointing yourself or not meeting your own expectations, it can feel meaningless to keep trying. This leads you to [feel] like you've failed before you've even tried," Claney said.
Some people who are too hard on themselves can become short-circuited and feel unable to focus, NYC-based neuropsychologist and teaching faculty at Columbia University, Dr. Sanam Hafeez told INSIDER.
She said someone who's being hard on themselves "may walk and talk quickly with an energy rooted in fear" and they may also feel like they'll miss out on something if they don't meet their expectations quickly enough.
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