No matter how perfect your life may seem to others, it’s only human nature for us to constantly be looking for ways to better ourselves and our lives. We often focus on adopting new habits, setting goals, and seeking self-improvement. However, a vital aspect of personal growth lies in recognizing and eliminating habits that may be detrimental to our mental well-being. While many of these habits might not be immediately obvious, their impact on mental health can be profound.
Curious to delve deeper? Here are 5 unhealthy habits experts say you need to quit to have a better, happier life:
The Perfectionist Pursuit
Perfectionism, often seen as a virtue, can actually be a significant roadblock to improved mental health. While aiming for excellence is commendable, studies have shown that an unrelenting pursuit of perfection can cause you to overwork yourself, which often results in chronic stress, burnout, anxiety, and even depression. Rather, experts report that embracing imperfections and being kinder to oneself can enhance overall mental well-being. So, give yourself permission to make mistakes and recognize that the pursuit of progress is more sustainable than the pursuit of perfection.
The Trap of Overthinking
Do you often feel like your head is busy and filled with thoughts? Are you in your mind a lot of the time and overthink all your decisions and interactions? Psychologists have found that ruminating over past mistakes or worrying excessively about the past or future can be detrimental to your mental health. While reflecting and planning are important, dwelling excessively on these aspects can lead to anxiety and even depression. To avoid falling into the trap of overthinking, cultivate mindfulness and focus on the present moment instead. Disengage from overactive, negative thoughts and instead engage in activities that keep you grounded and fully engaged, such as engrossing hobbies or spending quality time with loved ones, to improve your overall mental well-being.
Conventional wisdom might suggest that suppressing negative emotions is a sign of emotional strength. However, research suggests otherwise. Bottling up emotions can have serious consequences for mental health. It might be surprising for you to learn that, according to experts, allowing yourself to experience and express a range of emotions, including sadness and anger, can actually lead to better emotional regulation and a reduced risk of psychological distress. So, quit suppressing your feelings and neglecting your emotional needs. Instead, find healthy ways to process and express them, such as letting yourself have a good cry when you need it, venting to a close friend, or finding a creative outlet.
Doom-scrolling on Social Media
We’re all guilty of falling down an internet rabit hole every now and then, right? Giving our thumbs a workout by scrolling through social media like it’s our job? Well, while this little habit might seem harmless, psychologists warn us that excessive and mindless social media consumption can actually foster feelings of loneliness, envy, anxiety, and even depression. It can overload our mind with bad news and picture-perfect images that might not be all that real. It’s like signing ourselves up for a daily subscription to pessimism and self-doubt. So, instead of falling down the endless scroll rabbit hole, why not give your mental well-being a boost? Set limits on your social media time and engage only with content that genuinely inspires or educates you. By dialing down unproductive screen time, you’re reclaiming your time and energy for things that truly matter.
The Overindulgent Escape
Now, you might be scratching your head and saying, “Hold on a sec, how can treating myself to the things I want ever be bad for my mental health? Well, overindulgence can be a sneaky saboteaur. Whether it’s your sleep, spending, eating, or other “guilty pleasures”, keep in mind that too much of a good thing becomes bad. Because such behaviors often lead to guilt, shame, and motivation loss when they become long-term self-destructive tendencies. So quit the pattern of seeking solace in overindulgence and instead, develop healthier coping mechanisms. Engage in activities that uplift your mood without the guilt and actually help you take care of your mental health without sacrificing your physical and emotional well-being.
In conclusion, the journey to a better life is not just about adopting new habits; it’s also about recognizing and letting go of habits that hinder your mental health. Remember, small changes in habits can lead to remarkable improvements in your overall well-being. So if you’re interested in exploring other habits that affect you negatively, check out our other video, “7 Harmful Habits That KILL Your Brain.”
Now, it’s your turn: have you identified any bad habits of your own you need to break? We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights in the comments down below! And don’t forget to hit that like button and subscribe to our channel if you found this video helpful.
Remember, Psych2Goers, every small change you make paves the way for a bigger, brighter transformation. Let’s make that change, one habit at a time!
- Clark, D. A. (2020, January 18). Are You an Overthinker? Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-runaway-mind/202001/are-you-overthinker
- Newman, T. (2019, April 25). Study explores the neuroscience of overindulging. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325020#The-complex-story-of-nociceptin
- Harnish, A. & MacIntyre, M. (2022 Jun 1). Perfectionism and Anxiety: The Problem With Trying to Be Perfect. Health. https://www.health.com/condition/depression/why-perfectionism-could-be-killing-you
- Lamia, M. C. (2018 May 15). On Being in Denial. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/intense-emotions-and-strong-feelings/201805/being-in-denial
- Deering, S. & Goldman, R. (2023 May 19). How ‘Doomscrolling’ Impacts Your Mental Health—and How to Stop. VeryWell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-doomscrolling-5088882