Face it: mental health issues have become more and more prevalent over the years, with increasing cases of depression, anxiety, suicide, and more. And while we can’t quite pinpoint the exact cause of this rise, we know that there are at least 10 habits that could ultimately wreck your mental health.
The decrease in mental wellness doesn’t happen all at once, or because of one concrete reason. Instead, there is a multitude of factors that could be completely draining you and setting you up for failure.
Check out the following habits that could be destroying your well-being, because our first step towards helping ourselves is understanding the factors that could be dragging us down.
1. Being a perfectionist.
Perfection is impossible, and while it is noble to want to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be if you are striving to be perfect, you are going to end up burning yourself out. Not only that, but since perfection is unachievable- it will completely undermine the efforts you make towards greatness.
2. Burying trauma instead of healing.
The thing about trauma is, eventually you will have to face it in order to heal it. Unfortunately, it’s like our mind is hardwired with defense mechanisms to bury the pain and pretend it doesn’t exist. Sadly, this does not work, and the trauma will continue to resurface in various forms (anger, substance abuse, burnout, etc.,) until you find a way to heal from it. 3. Dependency on social media.
In the documentary “The Social Dilemma,” various CEOs, founders, and past team members for social media sites shed some light on the dangers of social media. One of the leading problems with social media is that it was created to make you addicted to it. And addiction will never lead you towards wellness. Instead, it could end up damaging your neural pathways, destroying your self-esteem and self-worth, or destroying the real-life human connections you have to the people you love most. You may laugh at me saying this- but please, do your research. You’d be surprised at how much social media has damaged the mental health of our world.
4. Embracing unhealthy habits.
There is nothing wrong with having a drink, eating a bunch of fast food every now and again, or having a little retail therapy in moderation. However, once you embrace your bad habits and accept them as a lifestyle is when turmoil will rear its ugly head. Binge eating, problem drinking, substance abuse, and the like can become a vicious cycle that’s hard (but not impossible) to break free from. And the sooner you seek help, the sooner you can begin getting to the bottom of your mental health issues. No, it won’t solve them, but you cannot find mental health when you are self-sabotaging yourself.
5. Clinging to toxic relationships.
Toxic relationships can completely devastate your mental health. Regardless of whether this is a relationship to an intimate partner, a family member, or a toxic friend- the damage is all the same. Breaking the cycle and creating distance may be painful- but it’s the only way to prevent further trauma from happening, so you can take steps towards healing.
6. Bad sleep patterns.
Sleep is fundamental to a healthy mind, body, and soul. Have you ever met anyone who was sleep-deprived or that continued to oversleep on a regular basis? More often than not, those who don’t get adequate sleep and those that oversleep will end up having issues with their mental health. According to the Sleep Foundation, “Each stage plays a role in brain health, allowing activity in different parts of the brain to ramp up or down and enabling better thinking, learning, and memory. Research has also uncovered that brain activity during sleep has profound effects on emotional and mental health.”
7. Not moving enough.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has made it clear that there is definitely an interrelationship between physical health and depression. Their recommendation is that anyone between 18-64 should be engaging in at least 150 minutes each week of moderate physical activity. If you are someone that can take on more vigorous activity, they explain that 75 minutes of vigorous activity has the same effect, and you can even create a mixture between the two.
8. Pushing your loved ones away.
It’s a very human thing to protect yourself from harm when you’ve been hurt. However, pushing people away can become a trauma response that ends up sabotaging our ability to connect with others. And our well-being is intrinsic to the connections we build with others. Instead of pushing people away, work towards learning to set proper boundaries in your relationships. This will allow you to protect yourself, while also letting others connect with you.
9. Not prioritizing yourself.
Prioritizing yourself doesn’t make you selfish- it is necessary for self-care. It’s okay to say no sometimes. In fact, it’s necessary. Otherwise, you will become a people-pleasing mess that is constantly exhausted and heading towards burnout.
10. Eating poorly on a regular basis.
Laugh all you want, but when it comes down to it- you are what you eat. And while I am not suggesting that you should eat nothing but kale and carrots, I do suggest that you find a healthy balance in your diet. One study found that “A dietary pattern characterized by a high intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grain, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and antioxidants and low intakes of animal foods was apparently associated with an increased risk of depression.”