Too much time on self improvement can be unhealthy

It seems like it all started with Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" -- a self-help book originally published in 1936. Now, fast forward to 2018, and we are surrounded with self-help shows, books, apps and videos. Is it too much of a good thing too much? 

According to Dr. Joseph Rock, a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic, when we obsess over ourselves too much, we can become self-absorbed perfectionists, which can ultimately become unhealthy for our brains. 

"What we do is, we get turned into perfectionists. And perfectionism is dangerous because it doesn't mean I can meet a goal and I'll be fine; it means no matter how well I'm doing, I can still be doing better and so we always feel a little bit like we're failing," he explains. 

Dr. Rock says nothing is wrong with taking time to self-improve, but it's dangerous to want to change everything about ourselves. 

He says that trying to change too much at once can sometimes cause people to become depressed and feel hopeless. Social media often contributes to this problem. 

Dr. Rock says that often times, other people will portray only the best sides of themselves online, which can lead us to try to keep up with an image that may not be attainable or realistic. He says it's important to practice self-acceptance and to remember that what works for other people might not work for you. 

"You set goals and you set objectives; you make them reasonable; you reward yourself when you meet your goals and if you don't meet your goals, you change the plan, because maybe it's not working for you. You don't punish yourself, which is what a lot of people tend to do," he says. 

Dr. Rock says it’s also a good idea to set goals that aren't related to yourself, such as making a point to volunteer more. He says having a balance between self-improvement and serving others is good for mental health.