7 Unhealthy Behaviors That Affect Your Mental Health
Bad mental health habits are behaviors that have a negative effect on the way we think and the way we feel about ourselves.
We often believe our mood and our mental health are solely dependent on external factors and we only have little ability to control them. We often wonder why we get so easily irritated, upset, sad, lethargic, and bored in life. As a solution, we try to improve our mood and cope with stress by engaging in unhealthy behaviors. This, unfortunately, makes our mood even worse.
Yes, our mood is affected by our brain chemistry. But, remember this:
Our brain chemistry is largely affected by our behaviors and habits in life. If we treat ourselves with care and know what makes us happy, we are going to have a more balanced brain chemistry.
Here are a few common bad mental health habits that are making you unhappy and unsatisfied with your life:
Bad Sleep Routine
Even if you get enough sleep, having a regular sleep routine matters a lot.
Going to bed early promotes more happiness and energy in life. Studies have shown that going to bed late and not getting enough sleep may be linked to depression and poorer mental health in general. The reason could be that negative thoughts are more likely to appear in our mind at night.
So, by staying up late, you get more and more overwhelmed with worries and negative thoughts. Also, by being a ‘night owl’, you socialize less with people and may start to feel isolated over time. You’ll also be less productive and less energetic the next day.
Not Taking Time to Relax
Many of us live with a lot of stress and have a lot of thoughts going through our minds on a daily basis. We may have a stressful job or suffer from anxiety or other problems. Most of us may be hyperactive and constantly seeking new stimuli without realizing that they are making us feel worse.
Taking some time during the day to relax and be with yourself without distractions can significantly improve your mood and well-being.
Lack of Physical Activity
It is a well-known fact that physical activity is necessary in order to maintain a healthy body. But, exercise has huge benefits for your mind, too.
When you exercise, your blood flow improves and your body releases feel-good chemicals. You are also releasing the tension build-up from excessive stress and anxiety. Your muscles feel and work better.
Spending a Lot of Time with Toxic People
We all know people in our lives that just make us feel bad whenever we are interacting with them. They may put us down, undermine our success, not respect our boundaries, and find ways to ruin our mood when we are happiest.
If you are continually trying to change those people, you are just wasting your time and making yourself more miserable. So, try to avoid toxic people as much as possible.
Lack of Personal Goals
Goal-oriented behavior is what activates our reward system. This has a huge influence on our mood and happiness. If you don’t push yourself to achieve your goals, even small goals, you will not feel fulfilled and you are likely to seek unhealthy ways to activate your brain reward system.
Also, not focusing on achieving your goals leaves you feeling like you are stagnating in your life and that can easily trigger poor mood and depression.
Excessive Use of Technology
Most of us enjoy our computers, phones, social media and we naturally want to watch the news and see what is currently happening in the world. Even though those tools are great at making our lives and work easier, they can also be great tools for distraction.
They also promote inactivity and tend to be overly stimulating to your brain. Your brain doesn’t like too much stimulation and you may find it more difficult to relax and unwind after spending hours on social media.
Not Being in Touch with Your Emotions
Our emotions often feel too intense and too difficult to deal with, so we tend to suppress them. We distract ourselves with all kinds of unhealthy behaviors.
The problem with that is that we don’t get to process our emotions and face our real problems. We fail to find out through attention and awareness what truly makes us unhappy, anxious, angry or sad.
And when we suppress our emotions, we face higher mortality risk.
Our nutrition affects everything in our body, including our brain chemistry. A deficiency in certain nutrients can cause imbalances in our system. Even if we don’t have any serious deficiencies, our eating habits can still affect our mental health. Overeating and not eating enough are both unhealthy behaviors that can affect our relationship with food and our overall mental health.