With how fast society has been developing and the emphasis that has been placed on being productive and efficient, people have started to fill their already busy routines with more tasks, while removing any free time they have. Many people have extremely hectic schedules and barely have any time left to rest, relax, and do things they actually enjoy. Constantly building stress up and not taking a break to address this will result in a deteriorating mental health. According to a recent study by the Mental Health Foundation, only 13 percent of people are living with good mental health, with 65 percent reportedly having experienced a mental health problem (Color Me Happii, 2019). As a matter of fact, it is much easier to ignore mental health because of its intangible nature, especially when you are focusing on work. To address this, the next article will be discussing 8 signs that you’re neglecting your mental health.
You put everyone’s needs before yours
Are you constantly trying to satisfy others without thinking about yourself first? This is a very clear sign that you’re neglecting your mental health. Of course, everything depends on the circumstances. Putting other people’s needs before yours can be very powerful in forming strong relationships with people and giving your life purpose. However, when you constantly do this for other reasons, you will end up constantly doing things for others while not moving forward with your own needs and goals.
You will build the bad habit of constantly sacrificing the things you want because of someone else. This can bring about a great deal of stress, high risk of depression, and the possible development of neurotic tendencies (Byerly, 2020). So, re-think why you put others’ needs before your own and decide whether it is worth the sacrifice.
You lean on unhealthy habits to hide your emotions
Have you ever felt like the best way to deal with depression is by ignoring it? Defaulting to unhealthy habits just to hide or numb your emotions might feel good at first. For example, over-eating when you feel sad or depressed will only make you feel worse. In the long run, suppressing your emotions will only cause both mental and physical health problems. According to provisional clinical psychologist Victoria Tarratt, suppressing emotions is known to affect blood pressure, memory, and self-esteem (Cousins, 2018).
Additionally, it can lead to your emotions bottling up and then exploding in unfortunate circumstances. For example, you might have constant fights with your family, but never address these emotions. Then, one day you are driving down the road and someone cuts you off. This is where your suppressed emotions might get the better of you and cause an accident.
You lose interest in things you used to care about
Do you feel bored of doing things that you used to care about before? This is a sign that your mental health has deteriorated. Your lack of interest in things that you used to care about, be it your personal hygiene or hobby, can be attributed to depression, anxiety, emotional fatigue, and burnout (de Lorenzo, 2019). All of these affect your mental health and can heavily disrupt your daily life if not dealt with. Yes, it is very hard to address these, especially when you don’t feel like doing anything, but try anything you can to move forward. Otherwise, you might get stuck in a cycle that will only keep affecting your mental health negatively. Seek help from mentors and lean on your family and friends.
You have trouble concentrating
Do you often have difficulty focusing, or is it something that’s been happening lately? Having trouble concentrating is normal and can happen to anyone. However, if you are constantly struggling to focus on something you are doing, there is a high chance that your mental health is declining (de Lorenzo, 2019). A lack of concentration can be attributed to a variety of factors including anxiety, excess stress, and lack of sleep (Nall, 2019). Struggling to concentrate can easily be brushed off and ignored because of the fact that it can happen to anyone on off-days, which is why bringing your attention to this specific topic is very important. If you notice a constant struggle to focus on the tasks that you do, you might need to seek help to address anxiety or stress problems.
You have physical symptoms that you can’t explain
Did you know that mental problems can directly cause you physical pain? The human body needs to be healthy both mentally and physically in order to operate optimally. There is no point in being in a great physical condition if you don’t have the motivation to do anything, and vice versa. If you are feeling physical discomfort without any real explanation, chances are that your mental health is causing it.
According to clinical psychologist Deborah Offner, being under constant anxiety and stress can result in stomach aches and headaches (de Lorenzo, 2019). So, whenever you feel these types of unexplainable physical symptoms, trying to take note of them and take them to your GP to see if these problems are indeed caused by anxiety and stress overload.
Your sleep cycle is off
Have you recently been experiencing sleeping disorders? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental health is very closely related to sleeping disorders (Color Me Happii, 2019). The thing about the interaction between poor mental health and sleeping disorders is that they feed each other. In other words, if you neglect your mental health, this will directly affect the amount of time you sleep and the quality of sleep that you get. At the same time, when your sleep cycle is off, your mental health will continue to deteriorate until you address the issue. Of course, many people know how difficult it is to actually deal with sleeping disorder. So, if you are experiencing this, stop neglecting your mental health and address it as soon as possible.
You criticize yourself for every mistake
Do you constantly criticize yourself for everything that happens? Having the willingness to even acknowledge that you made a mistake takes a lot of mental fortitude. A lot of people would rather just blame something else and escape responsibility. However, if you constantly criticize yourself for every little mistake that happens, your mental health will suffer because of the constant negativity surrouding your way of thinking. You will keep having negative thoughts such as: “I don’t think I will be able to do this because I failed before”. If you are experiencing this, chances are that you are neglecting your mental health.
You overwork to get to the finish line quickly
Are you someone who is constantly rushing to finish things without worrying about how much you have to work? As mentioned before, society’s ideology has been shifting towards busier and more hectic routines. Of course, success has a direct relationship with how hard you work. However, overworking to get things done quickly will simply fatigue you, both physically and mentally. You need to understand that you will be more successful operating with an appropriate balance rather than just overworking yourself. This is especially true if you are overworking yourself just to rush and finish things quickly. Remember that no matter how much money and success you earn, how happy you are will ultimately come down to how healthy your mind is.
To conclude this article, a neglected mental health generally shows itself in the form of additional stress and anxiety being felt. It is necessary to reiterate the importance of having good mental health and the huge impact that it has on your daily life. Make sure that you don’t lose yourself in hectic and busy routines, and always leave some time to relax and enjoy yourself.
Byerly, R. (2020). Putting Others First Is Healthy If You Do It the Right Way. Retrieved 17 February 2021, from https://elemental.medium.com/putting-others-first-is-healthy-if-you-do-it-the-right-way-cb7cfc2b474b
Color Me Happii. (2019). 10 Subtle Signs You’ve Ignored Your Mental Health For Too Long. Retrieved 17 February 2021, from https://colormehappii.com/blog/signs-youve-ignored-your-mental-health-for-too-long
Cousins, L. (2018). ARE THERE DOWNSIDES TO ALWAYS TRYING TO BE POSITIVE?. Retrieved 17 February 2021, from https://www.hcf.com.au/health-agenda/body-mind/mental-health/downsides-to-always-being-positive#:~:text=%E2%80%9CSuppressing%20your%20emotions%2C%20whether%20it’s,memory%20and%20self%2Desteem.%E2%80%9D
de Lorenzo, C. (2019). 9 Signs You’ve Ignored Your Mental Health For Too Long. Retrieved 17 February 2021, from https://www.bustle.com/p/9-signs-youve-ignored-your-mental-health-for-too-long-18691016
Nall, R. (2019). What Makes You Unable to Concentrate?. Retrieved 17 February 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate