10 Of The Worst Habits For Your Mental Health & What You Can Do About It

10 Of The Worst Habits For Your Mental Health & What You Can Do About It

As we go about our lives, it’s sometimes hard to pinpoint why we’re suddenly stressed or anxious. Sure, everyday obstacles impact our mood at times, but some habits cause your mental health’s downfall—all without you realizing it. Let’s dive into some of the worst things for your well-being and how you can fix it.

1. Negative Self-Talk

Speaking poorly about yourself or your performance always hurts, even if you don’t realize it. Damaged self-esteem or even mental health struggles like anxiety and depression can form with enough criticism—and it’s a habit that’s very hard to break out of.

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2. Procrastination

Though some people thrive under the weight of a deadline, procrastination doesn’t help with our mental health. In fact, constantly delaying tasks only causes more stress, which further impacts mental health; it’s hard to keep a level head when you’re overwhelmed. 

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3. Too Much Social Media 

Social media can be a good way to unplug…just not for too long. Chronic social media use is a huge detriment to mental health, often leading to constant comparison, loneliness, or feeling like you’re not good enough. Too much time on your phone also wrecks sleep, further weighing down mental health. 

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4. Not Enough Exercise

You may not want to turn into a frequent gym-goer, but that doesn’t mean you should turn your back on exercise altogether. Simple workouts like walking or gentle weight lifting not only boost mental health, but they’re vital for your overall health. 

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5. Overworking

A good work-life balance is paramount to better mental health. Overworking can wreck your sleep schedule, interfere with relationships, and cause serious burnout. 

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6. Perfectionism

It’s only natural to want to excel in a job, but pushing for perfectionism keeps mental health at an all-time low. There’s no such thing as “perfect,” so striving for it easily leads to more stress and the potential for self-criticism.

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7. Poor Diet

Like it or not, a balanced diet is a huge part of balanced mental health. A diet filled with processed foods or too much sugar interferes with mood and energy levels, often causing trouble with memory or leading to depression.

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8. Not Enough Sleep

Anyone who’s survived a bad night’s sleep knows how rough it is. Consistently poor sleep exacerbates depression symptoms, can cause mood swings, and impacts your concentration. On top of all that, lack of sleep also causes body aches and more stress. 

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9. Too Much Stress

Speaking of stress, there’s a difference between a bad day and chronic worrying. Too much stress impacts your mental health, yes, but it also affects your physical well-being—headaches, insomnia, dizziness, and changes in appetite are all common symptoms. 

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10. Suppressing Emotions

Sometimes it feels like holding our emotions is the best way to avoid conflict, however, suppressing your feelings often does more harm than good. Bottling things up can easily lead to outbursts, stress, and even physical symptoms like headaches or digestive issues. 

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Protecting your mental health doesn’t have to be an uphill battle—let’s explore some simple ways you can curb nasty habits and preserve your sanity. 


1. Recognize Self-Criticism

The first step in combating negative self-talk is to recognize it. Understanding triggers makes it easier to pinpoint what encourages criticism, and how you can better deal with life’s hurdles. Start small by practicing self-praise, challenging your thoughts, or journaling to change the narrative.

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2. Get Things Done

It’ll likely be a challenge, but stop waiting until the last minute! Even if you start with a smaller task, you’ll find that getting things done on time frees up your schedule and significantly reduces stress. 

Estee-Janssens-Aqfhbxailcs-UnsplashPhoto by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

3. Take a Break

We could all do with a break from our phones. Put your phone away before bedtime to better that sleep schedule and try not to compare yourself to others online—a big part of social media only highlights the best parts of someone’s life. 

Nathan-Dumlao-Cspncx4Cunq-UnsplashPhoto by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

4. Get Moving

Whether it’s a simple walk around the block or a quick YouTube session, make the time for proper exercise. A good workout can ward off anxiety symptoms, boost self-esteem, and relieve some of that stress. 

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5. Work-Life Balance

You’re an employee, not a robot, so there’s nothing wrong with working during designated hours. Bosses aren’t entitled to your entire life, which means you shouldn’t work after hours or become a yes-man; make time for what makes you happy. 

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6. Forget About Being “Perfect”

Perfectionism often feels like we’re never good enough. There’s always something to improve or someone out there doing it “better.” Well, no more! Break out of that mindset by celebrating your achievements and having reasonable goals for yourself—and remember there’s no such thing as perfect.

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7. Eat Healthier

You don’t need to cut out chocolate cold turkey, but you should aim to sneak healthier food into your diet. Increase your veggie intake with smoothies, swap out red meat for lean meat, and lay off the fast food (it’ll be good for your wallet, too). 

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8. Maintain a Good Schedule

Chances are you’ve fallen into a poor sleep routine, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Allocate at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night and put your phone away before bed—all that blue light interferes with your melatonin production and keeps you awake longer. 

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9. Practice Stress Reduction

It’s easier said than done, but the right techniques can help manage stress levels. Try mindful breathing, hobbies, or exercise to improve your mood. Stress reduction also comes from things like a healthier diet and getting more sleep. 

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10. Let it Out

Bottled emotions hurt both your mental and physical health, so it’s important to recognize what you feel when you do. In the long run, it’s easier to deal with emotions head-on so you can discover healthy ways of expression and relieve some stress. You can also speak with a professional to better learn which strategies work for you. 

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