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10 Ways Blogging Boosts Self Esteem

10 Ways Blogging Boosts Self Esteem

It’s not a secret that having a low self esteem is quite common these days. In fact, with the World Wide Web connecting us together, it can also feel like it’s tearing us apart on the inside. Although the web can enable low self esteem to spread like wildfire, it can also be used as a tool to obtain a higher self esteem. Blogging can be a lot of things, including fun, challenging, entertaining, and even enlightening. As it turns out blogging can also boost self esteem in the following 10 ways.

1. Taking photos and videos allows you to become more comfortable with your body.

It may be a bit difficult when you start, but when you spend extended amounts of time looking at photos or editing footage of yourself, you’re forced to come into terms with that fact that you’re body isn’t nearly as bad as you think it is. In fact, if you spend a good amount of time looking at yourself and hearing yourself talk you, just might find things you like about yourself that never occurred to you!

2. Writing regularly gets you comfortable with your personal voice.

Writing and posting your thoughts online is a great way to become more comfortable with your voice. What do you believe in? What would you change in the world? Writing blog posts allows you to thoroughly contemplate your thoughts and opinions. Being comfortable with who you are on the inside is just as important as being comfortable with yourself on the outside.

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3. The online blogging community is a great way to make friends from all over the world.

There is a web of bloggers out there who are constantly looking for more bloggers to meet. With weekly blogger chats hosted on Twitter, it’s easier than ever to meet other bloggers. Guest posts, Facebook pages, and the comments sections on blogs are other great ways to meet new people. Who doesn’t feel amazing after making a cool new friend?

4. Voicing your opinion through blogging can get some weight off of your shoulders.

Living in world where the economy is constantly teetering on the edge of destruction, women can’t walk down the street past 9 p.m. without getting attacked, and many countries are still stuck in a constant state of war can put a lot of stress on a person. Voicing your opinion on heavy subject while blogging can release a lot of stress, giving you more time to enjoy the happier aspects of the world.

5. Developing useful skills can lead to discovering talents you never thought you had.

I never thought I’d do much with writing in my life until I realized I had spent a full year posting my writing on my blog. Practice makes perfect, and if you keep blogging, you could even grow strong enough to write/photograph/film/illustrate/etc. for others. Surprise! I’m a writer! Who knew?

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What are you going to be?

6. You will have a record of your personal achievements.

Blogging allows you to keep a consistent documentation of all of the amazing, fun, exciting things you’ve achieved. When you’re feeling bad about yourself all you have to do is scroll through your blog’s archives and be reminded of how wonderful you really are.

7. You can witness your personal growth.

Scrolling though your old blog posts is also a great way to see how much you’ve grown as a person. Your opinions, interests, and appearances change over time and blogging allows you to witness how far you’ve come. If you feel rough about your current state, just remember where you started.

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8. Expressing yourself through blog branding allows you to understand yourself.

Blog branding is how you present yourself to the world on your blog and online profiles. Having a brand is much like wearing your favorite t-shirt—it gives people a quick glimpse into what your interests are and what your general tone is. It’s also a great way for you to express who you are as a person. Figuring out what your blog brand is causes you to get in better touch with yourself.

9. Readership creates a feeling of acceptance and care.

Everyone’s readership starts at zero, but the longer you stick to your blogging routine, the more people will trickle in. It’s a nice little boost to your self esteem when you see that fifteen, thirty, a hundred whole people checked out your latest posts! As it turns out, people DO care about what you’re up to.

10. The feeling of accomplishment you get when you look back at all of the work you’ve done.

Low self esteem often causes people to feel inadequate. You can beat that feeling, however, by remembering how much work you’ve put into your beautiful website. It’s amazing to look back and see how much blogging has been done. There’s no wrong way to blog, either, so no matter what happens in your life you can rest assured that you’re at least doing something right by blogging until you can’t blog anymore!

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Featured photo credit: Gregory Han via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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