Disclaimer. This, by no means, is a license for self-diagnosis. Nor do any of the habits mentioned in this article mean that you have depression. This article is a learning tool. Nothing more.
Habits are learned behaviors. Despite this knowledge, many of us pick up bad habits– smoking, drinking, cheating, lying, etc. Some of these habits result because of stress or other external factors. Others occur out of watching someone else doing or autosuggestion. While the detrimental effects of these aforementioned habits are immediate, some other habits have slower reaction times.
Some of these habits can fester and, over time, start eating away at your health–physical or otherwise.
This article will focus on the five habits that affect or worsen your mental health.
- Not getting enough sleeping.
Not sleeping or not getting restful sleep is seemingly innocuous. You think, “Sure, it’s 9:30 pm now. I’ll just watch one more episode.” i’LL jUsT wAtCh OnE mOrE.” You and I both not that it is never just one more. Not getting enough sleep does make you more tired. It can affect your mental health. Studies have shown that better sleep equals better mood and potentially less susceptibility to worsening mental health issues. So, please try to get enough sleep. Set a bedtime alarm to help you go to bed earlier.
- Social isolation
COVID-19 has put a damper on a lot of social activities. Although things have opened up, some are still cautious. I don’t blame you. Despite the rules, try to avoid isolating yourself from others. We, humans, are sociable beings. In “7 Everyday Habits That Could Up Your Risk For Depression.” published by The Healthy, Dr. Susan Heitler warns against spending too much time alone. According to her observations, spending too much time alone can increase or worsen your chances of depression.
Many of us like to spend time alone. I get; I do too! However, every once in a while, it’s nice to spend time with others. You create emotional bonds and have emotional exchanges whenever you socialize.
- Not keeping a regular schedule.
When I was younger, I despised schedules. I did not like calendars and planners because I thought I was limiting my time, and thus my life, in some way. Luckily, I grew up. Now, I love schedules. They give me a sense of security. And, that is what our minds equate schedules with– security. We what to know how to get from point A to B.
Throwing out lists and schedules can be a source of anxiety and possibly worsen depression. These two cause an increase in cortisol levels which can lead to health issues.
Despite your reservations regarding schedules and planners, I recommend them. You don’t need to buy the standard ones you see at Staples. Just grab a notebook and keep track of what you have to do throughout the day. You do not need to create a strict schedule. Just do find a method flexible enough for you.
Rumination is another bad habit that many of us occasionally dabble in. Rumination can sometimes be a subconscious habit. It usually is a byproduct of nervousness, rejection, loss, or stress. It can also happen if you are trying to learn or master a new quirk, like Deku from MHA. I digress.
But, rumination often digs us into a hole of insecurity that can feel difficult to get out of. In many ways, this form of entrapment also worsens symptoms of depression and anxiety.
If rumination is something you struggle with, please seek help from a therapist. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly used technique to help you stop ruminating.
- Eating junk food
Generally, junk food is not the best source of nutrition. While junk food provides temporary emotional comfort, it is horrible for your health. And also not great for your mental health in the long run. The American Journal for Psychiatry found a link between depression and processed foods, refined grains, and sugary products. None of the ingredients inside a processed snack will make you feel better in the long run. So, please reach for a healthier alternative.
There are many other bad habits that we participate in that were not mentioned in this article, for example, focusing on negative thoughts or checking social media too often. But, bad habits are more than things people tell you to stay away from. Bad habits encompass any kind of behavior that does not help your well-being– whether it is staying close to negative people or over-exercising. So, please put your well-being first.
I hope this article has been helpful. Take care!
Hurley, K. (2019, August 8). 5 habits that Can make your depression worse. Psycom.net – Mental Health Treatment Resource Since 1996. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from https://www.psycom.net/depression-5-habits-worse#poordiet.
Schubert, A. (2020, July 16). 7 everyday habits that could up your risk for depression. The Healthy. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from https://www.thehealthy.com/mental-health/depression/depression-risk/.
Schuster , S. (2021, November 2). 10 ‘bad habits’ of people with depression. The Mighty. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from https://themighty.com/2018/03/depression-bad-habits/.
Steber, C. (2017, May 4). 11 surprising habits that might be making you more depressed & anxious. Bustle. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from https://www.bustle.com/p/11-surprising-habits-that-might-be-making-you-more-depressed-anxious-54397.
Sharp Health News. (2020, July 31). Which bad habits lead to bad moods? 10 Bad Habits That Affect Your Mood – San Diego –. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from https://www.sharp.com/health-news/which-bad-habits-lead-to-bad-moods.cfm.