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TEN WORST HABITS FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
According to Careers in Psychology, the following ten habits may be sabotaging your mental health and overall well-being. Stepping into a new year is a good time to assess any habits and patterns you may want to work on changing.
- Perfectionism. Although it may increase chances of success at times, expecting yourself to be perfect can actually undermine efforts. Perfectionism can be either positive or negative. Positive perfectionism helps you do your best by setting realistic goals; letting go of failures; seeing mistakes as opportunities for growth; and keeping anxiety and stress within healthy limits. Research shows that negative perfectionism causes distress, fear of making mistakes, disharmony, uncertainty, and anxiety regarding judgment from others.
- Poor Posture. Research indicates that sitting up straight can reduce symptoms of depression, improve self-esteem and mood, and lessen fatigue.
- Guilt. Feeling remorse about a wrongdoing usually prevents a person from committing that offense again, however holding on to past guilt can be detrimental to health. Guilt often begins in childhood when you learn to “clean your plate because there are starving people in China” or when you start having fears that your family will not be proud of you.
- Lack of Exercise. This easy habit to fall into is bad for your waistline, your heart, and your mental health. Exercise is considered to be nature's mood enhancer.
- Failure Mindset. Fostering thoughts of failure can interfere with the ability to succeed and know happiness. Ugly thoughts can become a habit and repeatedly tell you that your life is bleak, miserable, and without hope or meaning. Left unleashed, such thoughts of failure can lead to depression and anxiety.
- Overuse of Social Media. The Child Mind Institute reports that overuse of social media promotes anxiety and lowers self-esteem in teenagers.
- Overuse of a Smartphone. Even those not on social media can get caught up in constantly checking their devices in fear of missing out. Some professions are concerned such excessive use can cause a form of addiction, with users compulsively checking for notifications and updates.
- Regret. Regret is healthy only in small doses. Research cited by Psychology Today says that regret is more common in cultures where people have greater control over their life choices.
- Co-dependency. This habit interferes with your ability to enjoy a healthy, mutually satisfying adult relationship. This learned behavior can be passed down through generations.
- Poor sleep. Adequate sleep supports physical and emotional resilience—providing your brain and body an opportunity to recover from difficulties of the previous day. Bad sleep habits include getting too little or inadequate sleep, drinking caffeine late in the day, engaging in stressful situations before going to bed, and using electronic devices right before trying to sleep.
Are any of the above familiar to you? If so, are you willing to work with them to promote better mental health in 2019? All comments and suggestions are welcome.
What is familiar to me is perfectionism, and I will focus on viewing mistakes as opportunities for growth.
Wishing you a joyous and peaceful New Year!