6 Things That Would Damage Your Mental Health

person sitting in front of body of water

By now we’ve all heard about the things that we should do to improve our mental health. Whether it is sleeping on time, exercising, etc. But do we know what happens when we don’t follow them? Are there some other things that you might be doing which could damage your mental health?

In today’s article, let’s take a look at 7 things that would damage your mental health. 

Disclaimer: This article is meant for educational purposes only. Do not use information in this or any other article to self-diagnose or diagnose other people. If you feel that you or someone close to you may possess some of the characteristics mentioned in this or any other article on our blog and need help then please, consult a licensed mental health professional. This article is not a substitute for professional advice, but for general guidance.

1. Guilt-

Guilt has a limited purpose in society — feeling guilty about wrongdoing typically precludes a person from repeating that offense.

The habit of guilt often starts in childhood itself. When you learned to “not waste water because there were people in several parts of the world who didn’t get water for many days in a row” or to act a certain way out of fear of your parents scolding.  

The emotional hold of guilt may have matured as you grew older. For example, you might feel bad about leaving your family to go to university, and then feel sorry about leaving your job to return home to your family. If left unchecked, you may find yourself trapped in a cycle of guilt that prevents you from focusing fully on any one activity.

Habits of guilt include exaggerating troubles, claiming responsibility for situations that had little or nothing to do with you, viewing yourself as a bad person for little transgressions, and refusing to forgive yourself.

2. Overuse of Social Media-

Ah yes, the good old social media usage. There is a reason why everyone constantly talks about social media’s harm to mental health. Let’s take a look at the research work, shall we?

According to The Pew Research Center, “69% of adults and 81% of teens in the U.S. use social media. This puts a large amount of the population at an increased risk of feeling anxious, depressed, or ill over their social media use.”

How about we look at another research study that was conducted by The Child Mind Institute. The research suggests, “overuse of social media is promoting anxiety and lowering self-esteem in teenagers. The mental health issues resulting from social media use can also affect adults. The Telegraph reports a recent survey of 1500 adult Facebook and Twitter users in which 62 percent of participants reported feelings of inadequacy and 60 percent reported jealousy from comparing themselves to other social media users. Thirty percent said using just these two forms of social media made them feel lonely.”

3. Codependency-

The word “codependency” was coined by psychologists to characterize partners in chemical dependence, but it is now widely used to describe any one-sided relationship. Codependency habits include sacrificing oneself to care for another person, prioritizing someone else’s interests over your own, etc. Codependency takes away your autonomy while jeopardizing your health, well-being, and safety.

Codependency is a bad habit that makes it difficult to have a healthy, mutually rewarding relationship. 

According to Mental Health America, codependency is a taught behavior that is passed down through generations, so you may have picked up this people-pleasing habit from your parents.

4. Poor Sleep

We all know that sleep promotes physical and emotional well-being, but that’s not all. Sleep helps you rise to the demands of tomorrow by allowing your brain and body to recover from the hardships of the previous day. You may feel drowsy, cranky, and out of focus if you don’t get enough sleep for one or two nights, but a pattern of poor sleep can have serious consequences on your mental health.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Although scientists are still trying to tease apart all the mechanisms, they’ve discovered that sleep disruption — which affects levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones, among other things — wreaks havoc in the brain, impairing thinking and emotional regulation.”

Getting too much or insufficient sleep, drinking caffeine late in the day, engaging in stressful events before night, and using electronic devices before bedtime are all bad sleep habits.

5. Family breakup or loss

Separation, divorce, or the death of a parent or sibling are all traumatic experiences. 

For everyone, but especially for youth, finding strategies to cope with and adjust to the changes made by these occurrences is vital. The way grief is managed can have a long-term harmful impact on younger people. 

If you or someone you know is having difficulties in coping with a loss, we strongly encourage you to seek professional help. 

6. Long-term stress

Stress has been proved to have several harmful effects on your mental health. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Coping with the impact of chronic stress can be challenging. Because the source of long-term stress is more constant than acute stress, the body never receives a clear signal to return to normal functioning. With chronic stress, those same life-saving reactions in the body can disturb the immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and reproductive systems. Some people may experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, sadness, anger, or irritability.

Over time, continued strain on your body from stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, including mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.”

References;

Think Mental Health (17 April 2019). Factors that can affect your mental health. Retrieved 23 July 2021.

https://www.thinkmentalhealthwa.com.au/supporting-my-mental-health/factors-that-can-affect-your-mental-health/

McLean Hospital (February 9, 2021). The Social Dilemma: Social Media and Your Mental Health. Retrieved 23 July 2021.

https://www.mcleanhospital.org/essential/it-or-not-social-medias-affecting-your-mental-health

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