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Uncover the Hidden Messages in the Actions You Take

Uncover the Hidden Messages in the Actions You Take

People have the ability to change with a new insight or idea, but what happens when you are telling yourself through your actions all of the wrong things?

Communication is always happening and most of what is communicated isn’t even in the words that we are telling ourselves or others. Likely you have heard the phrase “Only 7% of our communication is verbal. The other 93% happens to be non-verbal.”

There is a lot going on there that we might not know about!

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The Actions We Take

The most valuable communication you have is with yourself. Through the years many schools of thought have contributed in attempts to help people communicate better with themselves in order to be happier and to help others get more success in their lives. From affirmations and positive thinking to vision boards and meditations, all of these ideas have been presented to allow someone to communicate the right messages that will empower someone versus the wrong messages that will present limitations and inhibit a person.

With all this talk of what one can say to themselves what is lost most is the communication that can be most important to the lives that we are living. This communication is the actions that we take. 

Sometimes we can be our greatest obstacle in getting what we want or living the lives that we want to live. This is usually noticed in our thoughts about how we would like things to be different, but this thinking comes from our behaviors. What is never talked about is all the hidden messages that you are sending yourself through the actions that you take in your life. For further introspection, let’s look at the following examples:

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Talking to That Person You Like

A man sees an attractive woman that he would like to meet at the grocery store. He might have been working with affirmations or on his confidence before seeing this stunning sight of nature, but the moment he decides to take the action of not talking to her, he is telling himself that he is not good enough. It doesn’t have to be true or not, but your mind takes in this message regardless and this non-action. This action then overrides any sort of positive thinking or affirmations that were originally done so that he could be more confident.

Instead, if this man takes the action to approach this woman, he at least affirms to himself that he is good enough and that he goes after what he wants. It doesn’t have to go well and generally this message from the outside world is going to mean far less to him than the message that he gives to him internally. It is far more important for you to tell yourself that you are good enough than for someone else to.

Charging Others for Your Time in Business

Recently I was working with an entrepreneur who coaches CEOs and other business professionals to accomplish their business goals. This man was spending time in excess of two hours on free coaching calls with men who make far more than he does. In doing this action he was communicating many things to himself that were not helping himself or his own business development. Among the messages that he was sending himself in not charging a premium for his services was:

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  • “I’m not worth anything.”
  • “My time isn’t valuable.”
  • “People shouldn’t pay for my services.”

In looking at the messages that he did want to send to himself I told him that he needed to charge a premium for his services and that he needed to delegate his time efficiently. The way I saw it was that this entrepreneur had a lot to offer the world, but if he doesn’t affirm this to himself then he won’t be able to believe it in himself. When this happens, it is very hard for others to believe it in you as well.

Making Time for Yourself

A house wife can be a blessing and she really holds a house together, but if she doesn’t take time for herself, then she and the house can fall apart. For a woman who devotes all of her time to taking care of the kids, the bills, and the house, but no time for herself – this says a lot to her about what she thinks about herself and how she can care for herself. This message can also lead her to a troublesome place.

The messages that she sends to herself by putting herself last are ones of other people having more importance than herself. It is important to take care of others, but when this woman doesn’t take care of herself everything else can crumble down. This message of not being important can affect one’s self-esteem and can really create a situation where someone is unhappy with themselves. Instead, it is important to take time for yourself every day. It says that you value yourself and that you are important. If you think you are important, others are much more likely to as well.

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This hidden communication in the actions that we take is far-reaching and probably even more important than the verbal messages that we give to ourselves.

I recently had the opportunity to reach out to an ultra famous podcaster who I respect. In emailing him I knew that he would probably turn me down to be on the show, but I asked myself about the person who I wanted to be. In my answer to myself, I affirmed that I wanted to show up in a way where I believed in myself and where my actions were in agreement with my highest goals.

Despite my measly Twitter following compared to this man’s behemoth of supporters, I made the decision to reach out to him anyways to see if he would be interested in a collaboration. In a positive response, he affirmed to me that he was grateful for my action, but he politely declined. While my highest intent was to get on that show because it’s huge, this action was about more for me than just that. It wasn’t the outside validation that was of chief importance, but rather the internal affirmation of myself that meant the most to me. The message that I believed I was good enough was the most empowering.

Look at the messages you are telling yourself through your actions. Are they positive or are they negative? Each and every day through the actions that you take, are you affirming this person who you want to be or are you holding yourself back? I encourage you to really take a moment and decide who you want to be and then act as if you are becoming that person. Through your actions, you communicate even more to yourself about who you think you are and by acting differently you can change how you think about yourself.

Featured photo credit: avacadogirlfriend via flickr.com

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Shawn Schweier

Life Success Coach

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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