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Understanding Self-Esteem and the Brain | 4-Tips to Help

We all have those days when we feel like we just can’t rise to the challenge, or when we may feel that we aren’t good enough. It’s normal to feel down on ourselves sometimes. But why is that? This matter of mental health has to do with self-esteem. Self-esteem is defined as “confidence in one’s abilities or worth.” There are various ways self-esteem can be impacted, and several things one can do to maintain a positive self-image.

To better understand this important aspect of life,  self-esteem must be examined from a neurological perspective.

A recent Dartmouth study reveals a possible source of self-esteem within the brain. It appears that internal locus of control—how much control over our lives we believe we have, which is directly correlated with self-esteem—is related to how well regions of the brain connect. This finding could help with future treatments for depression and anxiety disorders. The study found that people with stronger white matter connection from their medial prefrontal cortex (responsible for self-knowledge) to their ventral striatum (involved in reward sensation) showed high long-term self-esteem.

Understanding how the brain works in regards to this topic will help improve self-esteem when necessary. The way you think about yourself is developed in the same type of process as learning how to ride a bike. The more practice with the bike, the stronger rider you are. Eventually you can ride without thinking about it. A strong pathway in the brain has been created. When we are children, our thoughts about ourselves are created by the messages from those who we believe are important, such as family members, schoolmates, and friends. For example, if you were constantly picked on in school, this most likely led to the formation of low self-esteem and a negative self-image. Now as an adult, your thoughts repeatedly revert back to the messages engrained in your mind. If you went to a party, your self-esteem and pattern of negative thinking could kick in and lead to social anxiety and the belief that no one likes you; the reality is that the others at the party have not even met you yet! The default to pessimism is a dominant thought pattern. It is automatic, just like riding a bike after lots of practice. Circumstances trigger thoughts that, even unconsciously, cause the reactions— based on your established self-esteem. The good news is that these thought processes can be changed and self-esteem can certainly be improved! Here a few solutions to promoting a healthier self-image, based on cognitive behavioral therapy.

·      Be aware of what you are thinking and feeling.

Once you are aware, you can practice new, positive, thought/behavior patterns.

·      Identify difficult situations that may decrease your self-esteem ahead of time.

Anticipate the negative and inaccurate thinking and challenge initial thoughts that revert back to a negative concept of yourself.

·      Focus on the positive!

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Remind yourself of all the good things about your life, all the things that have gone your way in the past week, and the skills and talents you have. You truly are more amazing than you may realize.

·      Re-label thoughts that upset you.

Instead of jumping to the conclusion that you must react negatively and beat yourself up, step back and ask yourself, “What can I do to make this situation less stressful on myself?”

Self-esteem is a product of unconscious and unconscious processes that occur within the brain. It is a common problem among all people to develop a negative self-view, or sometimes underestimate one’s own self worth. However, there is no need to feel stuck in a negative mindset. Adhering to a few simple changes and recognizing your thought pattern can make a world of difference. So, before you automatically think negatively about yourself or a situation, take a deep breath, step back, and realize that these feelings are not facts.

Respectfully yours,

Jada Jackson, LMHC-3.png


Jada Jackson  M.S., M.A., LMHC, NCC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Author, Talk Show Host, Life Coach and Communicator

Total Life Counseling Center  (407) 248 0030  1507 S. Hiawassee Road #101 Orlando FL 32835  
Email: jada@TotalLifeCounseling.com
Jada's TLC Page: http://www.totallifecounseling.com/counselors-orlando-therapists-counselors/jada-collins/

Jada’s website: Jadajackson.com
Website email: info@jadajackson.com
Blog: http://www.jadajackson.com/blog/
Media Room: http://www.jadajackson.com/new-gallery/

Author: Emily Simpson (Intern)

References:

http://www.self-esteem-experts.com/how-the-brain-works.html

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~opa/statements/brainselfesteem061614.html

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/self-esteem/art-20045374



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Kids and Technology Addiction | 3 Tips to Safeguard your Child's Future | Jada Jackson LMHC

Kids and Technology Addiction | 3 Tips to Safeguard your Child's Future | Jada Jackson LMHC

There is much controversy regarding technology and its negative effects on children. Because television is relatively new in the grand scheme of time—our great grandparents’ generation grew up without it—and for the most part computer and video games were born in the 80s, there is concern and skepticism about the potential harm that could ensue from the entertainment, now in almost every household around the world. We live in the age of sedentary lifestyles. Kids used to spend most of their time outside playing with friends, and fun used to be defined as finding ways to stay out of the house and not be bored on the couch! My, how things have changed. Today if you were to ask a handful of elementary children what they like to do for fun or how they spend their time after school, the majority of the responses would consist of, “watching TV” or, “playing my favorite video game.” That’s just the way recent generations have grown up and what our culture consists of now. I can absolutely account for partaking in technology and activities indoors much more than playing outside as I grew up. While there isn’t anything wrong with playing electronic games and watching some television, how much is too much? When does it all become detrimental, in any way? How do we prevent the problems of addiction— which are quickly becoming very common and even have specific diagnoses—? There has even been talk of adding these types of disorders to the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders! Here is an important question we should all ask ourselves and research: What is the influence of technology on a developing child?

Merely a couple decades ago, kids had to create their own entertainment and really use their imagination in play. Simply having fun really exercised the mind and allowed the flourishing of creativity. Kids of the past were almost always on the move, exploring nature and aspects of the world now overshadowed by electronics. This allowed the brain the be stimulated and, as a natural result, intelligence and education to develop and reach optimal levels. Of course one who goes out and exposes his/her senses to all sorts of different learning opportunities and information, will be more educated on the world and overall more developed than an individual who stays inside and doesn’t do much more than experience what the TV and computer have to offer. A 2010 Kaiser Foundation study revealed that elementary aged kids spend about 7.5 hours each day on entertainment technology. In addition, 75% of children have TVs in their bedrooms, and 50% of all North American homes have the television on all day! Those are rather astounding facts. No longer do families actually talk and spend quality time together. The TV is the main focus and source of communication. Constantly relying on electronic and sedentary activities dramatically limits one’s developing imagination and ability to be creative. More importantly, these types of entertainment can impede one from achieving proper sensory and motor development. Rapidly advancing technology has caused an increase in physical, psychological, and behavioral disorders. Childhood obesity, as a result of staying inside and being on the couch too much, is a national epidemic in the United States. ADHD, autism, developmental delays, unintelligible speech, learning difficulties, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are all associated with technology overuse—at an alarming degree. The following factors are critical in achieving proper development and a healthy child: movement, human connection, touch, and nature. Such factors ensure normal posture, bilateral coordination, appropriate arousal states, and a good educational foundation for entering school. It’s frightening that by engaging in too much television or electronic games, all 4 critical components go unaddressed. What does this say about how technology affects a child? It is clear that one must monitor TV, cellular, and internet usage of children so that important developmental milestones are not missed— resulting in suboptimal intellect.

Below are some tips to keep a relationship with technology under control!

·      Set a rule that for every hour inside spent on sedentary activities, your child must spend 3 hours outside.

This just keeps a healthy ratio of the types of stimulation, with more importance placed on getting the healthy interactions and sensory discovery the real world provides.

·      For young kids make TV time an educational experience.

Baby Einstein videos are well-known and scientifically created to help stimulate the early child mind. Disney Junior is ideal for kids around the kindergarten age. This portion of Disney Channel focuses on educational topics while still being fun and entertaining.

·      Despite living in a world consumed with electronics, make sure you’re engaging with your child and they are getting the kind of interpersonal contact necessary for prosperity and being a well-adjusted human.

Some resources to take advantage of, if you have a child leaning toward an addiction to any kind of technology, include the following sites: http://netaddiction.com/parents/; http://childpsychologist.com.au/resources/technology-addition-and-young-people.

The latter website offers articles and interviews on disorders, as well as ways to tell if your child is in fact addicted to technology or possesses a milder problem. In addition, you can find strategies and tips to combat the struggles the popular ways of entertainment today can pose.

Like many things, technology is good in moderation and without overindulgence. It can be dangerous, as research has shown, but with the knowledge and preparedness one can have, there is no reason why TV, internet, games, or cellphones, can’t be enjoyed without negative effects.

Authors: Jada Jackson LMHC and Emily Simpson (Intern)

References:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/technology-children-negative-impact_b_3343245.html



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