5 Worst Habits For Your Mental Health & What To Do Instead

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5 Worst Habits For Your Mental Health | When considering if our daily habits are good or bad, we often think of our morning and evening routines, our eating and workout habits, how productive we are, etc. But did you know that there are many things we do / do not do each day that can worsen our mental health and make us feel more stressed, anxious, and depressed? Caffeine and alcohol are obvious ones, but click to learn more ways you're sabotaging your mental health without even realized it.

If you’ve been struggling with your mental health, your habits might be making it worse. While we normalize things like scrolling social media for hours and having a glass of wine each night, there are things you may be doing each day that are sabotaging your mental well-being. Switching to healthy habits and kicking these ones to the curb can make you feel less anxious, happier, and in a better mental space overall. Here are the five worst habits for your mental health and what to do instead.

5 Worst Habits For Your Mental Health & What To Do Instead

1. Scrolling Social Media
If you feel like you’re addicted to social media, there’s a reason. Social media drives surges of dopamine to the brain, with shares, likes, and comments triggering the brain’s reward centre. However, various studies have linked the overuse of social media to anxiety and depression. Many people who use social media experience feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, and loneliness, and spending all your time on social media can keep you from enjoying real-life experiences and friendships.

What To Do Instead
While you don’t need to go deleting all your social media apps (unless you really want to), reducing your screen time can do wonders for your mental health. Instead of spending all your free time scrolling social media, pick up a new hobby you’ve always been wanting to try, plan an outing with friends, or sign up for a sports team. Challenge yourself not to instinctively reach for your phone and fill your time with activities and people you enjoy. Also try not to go on social media for at least an hour before you go to bed and after you wake up.

2. Drinking Alcohol
If you find that you reach for an alcoholic beverage to escape reality or reduce anxiety or depression, know that it can actually have the opposite effect of what you’re hoping for. Alcohol is a depressant- it alters the balance of chemicals in your brain. While it may make you feel more relaxed in the short term, it can cause your anxiety and depression to get worse. And the more you drink, the greater your tolerance for alcohol, which means the more you have to drink to get the same feeling. You may find you become reliant on it, putting you at risk for alcohol dependence.

What To Do Instead
If you think you have an alcohol dependence, get in touch with a professional to help. If you want to work on your relationship with alcohol, there are a number of things you can do. Try only drinking alcohol for special occasions, make or order mocktails or non-alcohol drinks, and keep alcohol out of your house so there’s less of a temptation. If you know you’ll be going out, decide how much you’re going to drink and set a time for when you’re going to stop drinking alcohol. Also try working in new activities with friends that don’t involve alcohol such as fitness classes, cooking new recipes, or going to a pottery class.

3. Being a Couch Potato
Being active is one of the best things you can do for your well-being, so if you have a lack of physical activity in your routine, it could be messing with your mental health. People who have a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of developing depressive symptoms. Regular exercise has been proven to release stress, enhance your mood and self-esteem, and reduce anxiety and depression. While watching Netflix marathons on the couch is a great way to unwind once in a while, if it has become your everyday lifestyle, that’s a problem.

What To Do Instead
Aim to get some sort of physical activity everyday, even if it’s a walk to get your morning coffee. Along with boosting your mood and mental health, physical activity provides health benefits such as protecting against heart disease and diabetes, improving sleep, and lowering blood pressure. It’s one of the best ways to improve your life overall. Find workouts you love to do, whether it’s running outside, Pilates class, or weight lifting. Once you find your favourite type(s) of exercise, work them into your schedule every week. Along with getting some sort of movement in everyday, aim to do at least three workouts per week.

4. Having a Cluttered Environment
Being surrounded by clutter not only makes your space look messy and disorganized, it also wreaks havoc on your mental health. Messy environments intensify feelings of anxiety and hopelessness, reduce motivation, and lower productivity. They can make you feel stressed and depressed, plus they can negatively affect your sleep. Clutter can also trigger coping and avoidance strategies, such as snacking on junk food and binging TV shows.

What To Do Instead
If you’re living in a cluttered home, tackle it little by little, room by room. There’s no need to overwhelm yourself, but it’s important to get your space decluttered and tidy. Getting rid of clutter doesn’t mean piling it up and putting it in a drawer or another room in your home. You need to get rid of stuff you no longer need or use. Purging and organizing your space will make you feel happy and refreshed. It may take some time, but you’ll feel like a mental weight has been lifted when you’re done.

5. Suppressing Anger and Other Emotions
Internalizing your emotions, especially anger, can be super harmful to your mental health. Anger suppression can lead to psychological consequences including brain overload, and increased stress and anxiety. While keeping your cool is necessary sometimes, neglecting your emotional needs can make it hard to say no to things, establish healthy boundaries, and form good relationships. You may also latch onto unhealthy coping mechanisms, like over-drinking, eating, smoking or exercising.

What To Do Instead
Find healthy ways to release your emotions. Talking to a therapist is a great way to understand, acknowledge, and express what you’re feeling. You can also try venting to a friend, journaling your thoughts, or channeling your emotions into activities like dance, music, or kickboxing. When your emotions can find a healthy way to surface, your mental health will flourish.

If you’re taking part in these habits and they’re making your mental health worse, try out our suggestions to feel better.

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5 Worst Habits For Your Mental Health | When considering if our daily habits are good or bad, we often think of our morning and evening routines, our eating and workout habits, how productive we are, etc. But did you know that there are many things we do / do not do each day that can worsen our mental health and make us feel more stressed, anxious, and depressed? Caffeine and alcohol are obvious ones, but click to learn more ways you're sabotaging your mental health without even realized it.

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