5 Bad Habits Destroying Your Self-Esteem

#3: Hypercriticism

Nick Wignall
7 min readSep 28


Photo by Artem Malushenko

A coping strategy is a short-term solution to emotional suffering:

  • You feel anxious, so you do a deep breathing exercise.
  • You feel angry, so you count to 10 before acting.
  • You feel insecure, so you repeat a positive affirmation.

While there’s a time and place for coping strategies, most people don’t think enough about their downsides:

Coping strategies treat the symptom but often ignore the cause.

If you’re tired of struggling with low self-esteem, learn to identify these 5 common coping strategies and rethink your reliance on them.

1. Staying busy all the time

Chronic busyness is a coping strategy people resort to when they’re afraid of their own minds.

At the root of most forms of mental suffering is a subtle but powerful fear — the fear of your own mind:

  • You may be afraid that if you have enough anxious thoughts, you’ll end up having a panic attack.
  • You might be afraid that if you have a disturbing thought — about hurting someone, for instance — that it means you’re really a psychopath.
  • You might be afraid that if you feel too sad for too long, you’ll end up getting depressed again.

Whatever the case may be, without knowing it you may have developed a phobia of your own mind — an excessive fear of your own thoughts, emotions, memories, and desires.

And as a way to avoid being surprised by any of these “bad” thoughts or feelings, you’ve developed a coping strategy to try and keep them at bay — constant busyness:

  • You keep your schedule jam-packed so you never have too much downtime.
  • You always have the radio on, TV playing in the background, or some other form of noise any time you’re alone.
  • You feel anxious and uneasy unless other people are around you or in communication with you.

In addition to being incredibly stressful and exhausting in the long-run, there’s an even more costly side effect of chronic…



Nick Wignall

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: https://thefriendlymind.com