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Here’s When Self Improvement Becomes Ineffective

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I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on self-help books and seminars over the past three years. I’ve devoted thousands of hours reading blogs and listening to podcasts about personal growth and self-improvement with the goal of finding the answers that would “fix” me. After my divorce I became addicted to the idea that the answer to my happiness and healing was in a book, podcast or a blog. I kept waiting to read or hear that magic “Ah Ha” tip that would change my life forever.

“Hi, I’m Jasmine. And I’m a recovering self-improvement addict”.  When I was faced with several unexpected challenging transitions in my life, all in a very short period of time, I became compulsively consumed and obsessed with self-improvement and personal growth. Don’t get me wrong, some of the most powerful breakthroughs I have had in my personal growth have been due to a seminar I attended, a book I read or a life coach that I worked with. But it was as if I was never satisfied with what I read or heard, I wanted MORE MORE MORE!

What Is Self-Improvement?

Let’s start with talking about what self-improvement is. Self-improvement is wanting to improve upon your knowledge, thought patterns, or character by one’s own efforts. The goal is to reach a point where you no longer feel the need to improve yourself.

Comparable to nirvana. A transcendent state in which there is no longer desire. It’s as if some people strive to get a Self-Improvement PhD and life will be perfect. If you find yourself picking yourself apart and comparing yourself to others when you are reading self-help books, is that really helping? Can self-improvement be poisoning your mind?

“Things do not grow better; they remain as they are. It is we who grow better, by the changes we make in ourselves.” ― Swami Vivekananda

Can you be addicted to self-improvement?

The Webster Dictionary defines addiction as: A compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful, physical, psychological or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal.

When you think of an addict, you probably envision someone who is addicted to alcohol, drugs or sex; not a 40-something professional who is reading “Girl Wash Your Face” before she turns in for the night.

Placing importance on self-improvement doesn’t necessarily mean that you are addicted. When looking at whether or not there is an addiction, ask yourself this, do you keep repeating the same patterns and behaviors no matter how much you try to improve yourself?

According to Market Research, the self-improvement market in the United States was worth $9.9 billion in 2016 and is estimated to grow to $13.2 billion by 2022.

So, if it works so great, why are people constantly waiting for the next self-help best seller by Tony Robbins to be released or the next TED Talk by Brene Brown to go live? Wouldn’t you read one book, listen to one seminar and have achieved self-improvement nirvana?

The truth is that self-improvement, personal growth and self-care are all constant. That is why there are millions of book options and thousands of seminars with different approaches.

It is healthy to want to work on continuing to develop yourself, but do you ever take time to be in the present and appreciate who you are in that moment? Take a minute to process the tips and tools you have read and reflect on how you want to implement them into your life before you buy the next best seller.

I’m certainly not suggesting you should never purchase another self-help book again. But keep in mind, those books, blogs, podcasts or seminars, all they can do is give you ideas, suggestions and recommendations. It’s YOU that has to put all of it into motion.

Those tools are just someone else’s opinion on what you should do or they’ve done research on what “could” work for some people. They are just that, opinions.

If you have focused on self-improvement for quite some time and feel as if it may be taking over your life, I encourage you to take a break. In your efforts to continually improve, you can end up sending yourself the message that you are not enough, you are lacking, or that you are not worthy just as you are.

As you take time to slow down and look at all that you are trying to improve, it can be helpful to allow yourself to look at the ways you are succeeding in life and give yourself credit for even your baby steps.

“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.” ― Madonna

Accepting Yourself Does Not Mean Complacency

Just as placing importance on self-improvement doesn’t mean you have an addiction; accepting yourself does not mean that you stop growing or improving. Accepting yourself simply means that you are able to look at the big picture and acknowledge your strengths in conjunction with the areas you would like to develop.

Striving to develop yourself and work on self-improvement can be positive if you are balancing it with acceptance. It becomes toxic when it becomes your addiction. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you can’t still read the books, listen to podcasts and attend seminars to develop who you are. It means that you allow yourself to also see the amazing qualities you currently have, today.  

Self-improvement can become a never-ending project; you can always find something else that needs to be changed. To break the self-improvement addiction, you have to take a step back and decide to be happy with who you are now.

Jasmine Rice is a certified life coach with a degree in psychology from the University of Kansas. After experiencing a series of challenging life transitions, including a divorce and a job loss, Jasmine went from surviving to thriving. Her experiences along the way have humbled her and inspired her passion to support others experiencing grief, unexpected change, loss, or any challenging life transition. She supports and guides you while you create your own life recipe.

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4 Ways to Get Mentally and Emotionally Fit

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For many years, mental health went overlooked. All over the world, countless people silently struggled with conditions like depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. In many cases feeling thoroughly alone and not knowing where to turn. Fortunately, a lot of progress has been made in recent years, with increasing levels of focus placed on mental health care and more ways for people to deal with these difficult emotions, sensations, and challenges when they arrive. (more…)

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2 of the Best Techniques I’ve Ever Used to Remember My Top Priorities

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Everyone starts out with the best of intentions. Yet, how often do we forget to focus on our priorities? The answer is that even top performers can have their focus yanked away. The good news is that there are some quick tricks anyone can use to stop forgetting their priorities. (more…)

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The Key to Being the Most Productive Person You’ve Ever Been

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Research shows that people tend to require more leisure time when they are stressed. This extra bit of relaxation is used to boost the drop in mood that can come with excess stress, and the resulting lift in mood can bring a decrease in stress and an increase in productivity and balance. So a reasonable amount of leisure time can be a good way to relieve stress and become more productive. (more…)

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Effects of Weather on Your Study Experience

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Effects of Weather on Your Study Experience

You are sound asleep when your alarm startles you from your sweet sleep. While you wake up, stretching and rubbing your eyes, you peep through your room’s window. It’s snowing or even raining. And you have to take a 20-minute walk to your class. You feel disgusted by the journey ahead of you and wonder whether it’s even worth it going to class.

Research done by the University of California, Los Angeles, shows that hot weather damages a student’s learning ability. Every temperature increase by one degree (°F) decreases student performance by 1% a year. Students can, however, use write my essay for me services to get additional help with their essays and other assignments.

Weather and Student Motivation

Studies show that weather correlates with one’s motivation level and mood. It makes sense if you face these difficulties every day you wake up throughout your college career. Who doesn’t want the motivation of going to school along the beach and if it is 85 degrees?

Most international students tend to find challenges in adjusting to the climate of their new destination of study. For instance, a Vietnamese student may find it challenging to adapt to Minnesota’s harsh winters since Vietnam experiences a tropical climate. The same applies to a Scandinavian familiar with dry weather, who will find it difficult to adjust to Indonesia’s year-round humidity.

Research shows that it is not only rising temperatures that affect the academic success of students. Spring, summer, shine, rain, cold, hot – they can all impact someone’s college practice, studies, or otherwise.

For international students, lack of knowledge on dressing during drier climates or winter only causes frustration. This frustration wrecks one’s inspiration and mood. Studies have proven that high levels of humidity can lead to college students’ loss of focus and increase sleepiness. Another study found that high humidity causes a drop in joy, vigor, and affection.

Yet, there are reports of less anxiety and skepticism with more sunshine, feeling less pessimistic about life. Childcare professionals and teachers report that children are louder than usual due to the dark, dreary weather.

They have also said that students have a sense of depression or gloom. For most teachers, this could be a dreadful experience that they might not quantify. They’re sure that particular weather causes the worst behavior in many students – for which they are correct.

Many students might come to school cold or wet during winter, causing a lack of concentration and frustration. Together with a lack of regular exercise that enables learners to generate some energy, tensions could boil.

Extreme Weather Affects Learning

Apart from the seasonal bad weather that affects students, some severe weather episodes shake classroom learning. If you walk into a classroom full of learners when thunder strikes, you will notice that everyone will stop and then converse about the noise.

It takes some minutes, and then when it strikes again, the process recurs. When a student looks out through the window and sees rain or the first snowfall of that season, it can cause every student in that classroom to peep out the window. This whole bad weather thing is very disruptive.

Also, winter blues affect many people. A diagnosable syndrome, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) associates with a lack of sunlight exposure during winter. There are many theories on light therapy helping SAD patients, which evidence is hard to get. Physicians have ideas on treating SAD patients and use antidepressants for various patients.

For international students, carrying out more research on climate and climate changes throughout the year is a helpful and significant start. Speaking to former students or seniors from similar home countries will be perfect.

They would offer you first-hand information on their personal experience on how to adapt to the host country from your home country. Also, they could provide a valuable tip on how you can best adapt to such an environment.

Final Thoughts

Be aware that despite the climate’s significant effect on your experience while in college, it should not decide the college you will attend and the time to do so. Keep in mind other important concerns such as graduation rates, access to professors, and teaching quality whenever you choose your college to study abroad.

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