How to stop being so hard on yourself and enjoy life

By Sangeeta Kocharekar September 2, 2016

Overcoming self-criticism is never easy, but these five simple tips can help you get started 

new study out of the UK has revealed that, on average, women criticize themselves eight times a day, and many start each morning in self-judgement. Dr Dain Heer, life coach and author of the bestselling book Being You, Changing the World helps people all over the world recognize and remove judgement from their lives. He believes that this study reflects a dangerous judgement ‘epidemic’ in society.

Dr. Heer, whose own self-criticism nearly drove him to the edge of suicide 15 years ago, said: 

"Judgement is killing you. As well as creating negative feelings, judgement affects your physical wellbeing in very real ways; inducing depression, anxiety and disease."

Judgement is an inherited habit, not a natural human attribute. He explained that we came into this world wide-eyed with wonder, and accepting of everything. We are taught to judge the situations and people in our lives as either right or wrong. Because of this, he maintains, the habit of judgement can be un-learned.

These are five simple things he suggests doing to reduce your impulse to self-critise: 

1. Spend time with people who do not judge


Remove judgement from your environment and from your mind.

2. Spend more time in nature


There is no judgement in nature.

3. Move your body


Exercise increases the endorphins and lymphocytes in your system, negating the depressive effects of self-judgement.

4. Start a gratitude journal and make gratitude a daily ritual


As corny as it sounds, gratitude has an incredibly positive effect on your mood and wellbeing Your enthusiasm, your excitement, your joy trump judgement every single time.

5. Check to see if a judgement is really yours


We are like sponges, picking up the thoughts and feelings of people around us all the time. That judgement you have in your head may not even be yours. Ask yourself, ‘Who does this belong to?’ and you will eliminate others’ judgements from your mind.

In addition to the above, Dr Heer suggests that one of the most empowering things we can do to reduce self-judgement is to live with more questions and fewer answers.

If you or anyone you know needs help, call LIFELINE on 13 14 11 or BEYOND BLUE on 1300 22 4636.