Feeling Down? Therapists Point to This Common Well-Being Mistake

Kelsey Clark

Tapping into complex emotions isn't exactly everyone's forté—but avoidance tactics often give rise to unhealthy blind spots that ultimately undermine psychological well-being. That's according to Noam Shpancer, Ph.D., a therapist of 25 years and author of The Good Psychologist. Shpancer recently outlined some common but harmful well-being blunders for Psychology Today, creating a handy mental health road map in the process.

One of the most egregious errors people make in regard to their psychological health? Mistaking self-care for selfishness, and assertiveness for aggression. "Selfishness denotes a lack of concern for others. … Self-care benefits others, as it helps you remain intact and functional and thus useful in interactions with others," he explains. "Aggression involves usurping territory by violating boundaries, [while] assertiveness involves sharing territory by drawing clear and fair boundaries."

Both self-care and assertiveness are vital when preserving worthiness and psychological well-being. Fortunately, healthy décor and lifestyle trends like hygge and nesting have recognized self-care as an essential human ritual while research shows that assertiveness is at the bedrock of self-esteem. "When we behave assertively, we express respect for the feelings and opinions of others without necessarily adopting their opinions," explains Randy Peterson in his book The Assertiveness Workbook. "Whenever we go along with others it is our decision to do so anyway."

Head over to Psychology Today for more mental health blunders, and share your well-being essentials with us below.

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