Things That Harm Your Mental Health

Marc Green
November 12, 2020
Things That Harm Your Mental Health

Have you ever wondered if you may be harming your mental health without even realizing it? Identifying some mental health pitfalls can be the first step towards improving your mental health. So, here are seven things that harm your mental health. 

Being stuck in the past. Is replaying old conversations in your head and coming up with better comebacks a daily occurrence for you? Do you sometimes find yourself dwelling over what you should have done in a certain situation to the point where it becomes tiring? 

Ruminating is the psychological replay of stressful situations over and over. These responses to negative emotions are associated with higher depressive symptoms over time and are predictive of future depressive episodes living with a fixed mindset. People who believe that their qualities are fixed and unchangeable have a fixed mindset. For example, this could be someone who believes they'll never succeed in math because they weren't born a genius. 

A person with a fixed mindset may feel unmotivated to learn because they believe that they're not cut out for it when this is far from the truth. In contrast, if you develop a growth mindset, you're able to embrace challenges, learn from failures, and persist through setbacks. Very excessively seeking reassurance. 

Do you constantly find yourself pondering the question, "Am I doing it right?" on countless occasions? Excessive reassurance-seeking is involved in the development of depressive symptoms. This shows its potential role as a vulnerability factor for developing depression or feeling no support during difficult times. 

Do you feel like there's no one you can talk to you about your problems? Do you feel like no one cares about what you're going through? Such thoughts can lead to unwanted distress on your mental health. Tackling life's challenges alone is a difficult feat. In such times, one wants a shoulder to lean on or an ear that can listen. If you can't feel compassion or support around you during trying times, such situations on your mental health can worsen even more. So it's important to surround yourself with your loved ones who genuinely care for you and are willing to lend you emotional support when need be. 

Forgetting to take mental health days. How many hours per week is your me-time? Do you make an extra effort to set aside some time just for your own good? You might be so busy that there's no time for you or your mental health. It can be distressing from entrepreneurs who work long hours of outbreaks to students who study until dawn. 

Working for extended periods of time with no breaks can lead to burnout, a state of complete exhaustion. Burnout was a significant predictor of type two diabetes, coronary heart disease, and gastrointestinal issues under the age of 45. It's also a good idea to take a breather from your hectic schedule and focus on yourself as well. 

Setting unrealistic expectations of others. Do you hold yourself and others to unattainable ideals? Is perfection the only acceptable answer for you? Having high expectations more often than not leads to disappointment. Facing such disappointments time and time again leads a person to lose faith in themselves and others, you begin to lose your motivation because nothing ever plays out the way you expect it. 

Constantly falling short of your expectations can lead you to develop a pessimistic approach towards life in general. Marital therapy couples who held unrealistic beliefs for each other were negatively associated with overall marital satisfaction, showing that ultra-high expectations can harm relationships. Therefore, consider assessing the expectations you hold for yourself and others. It's always a good idea to cut yourself some slack.

Not sleeping enough. Do you find yourself only sleeping for six hours a day? That's way below the eight-hour sleep recommendation resulting in sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation was associated with depressive tendencies and medical trainees and increased anxiety scores and can leave you more susceptible to diminished mood and other mood disorders. A sleepy mind can decrease your functioning potential and negatively affect your daily activities. 

Your mental health requires as much attention as your physical health. It's important to look out for any habits that may negatively affect your mental health. If you make an effort to recognize and eliminate such habits from your life, your mental health will certainly thank you for it. 

Looking for additional professional help is always a good idea. To ensure your mental health is in its best shape. Do you relate to any of the signs above? Do you recognize these on someone you know? Do let us know in the comments. Also, remember to share this with those you think might benefit from it.

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