The world has become more and more aware of mental health as a concept, and that’s a really important development for society. Being aware of your mental health and how it can impact your life is the first step in doing something about it. When you’re in a good mental state of mind, your entire life feels so much better. You worry about fewer things, there’s less stress affecting you daily, and you just feel like a happier human being.
Unfortunately, there are so many things that happen in our lives to impact our mental health in negative ways. The good thing is that we are largely in control of the majority of things that cause mental health problems. It may not seem like this is true, but it is. When you reflect on why you feel a certain way, most of the time you understand the root cause of the issue, and you can control it.
In today’s blog, we’re going to look at some bad habits that a lot of people are guilty of falling into. You can take up these bad habits for a range of reasons, but you need to cut them out to improve your mental health. Once you do this, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel on the inside and out.
Making comparisons with others
What do you do in your spare time? Or, let’s rephrase that: when you’re looking to kill time, what do you typically do? Whether this is when you’re sitting on the bus or lying in bed trying to sleep, what’s the main thing you end up doing?
Most of us will all say the same answer, even though we hate to admit it: we scroll through social media. You can spend many hours every week just scrolling through your Instagram feed looking at other people. For me, there’s no coincidence that the birth of social media has led to an increase in mental health problems amongst young people. Why? Because platforms like Instagram are full of young people comparing themselves to others. You look at influencers and people with loads of followers, seeing their lives and comparing them to your own. Even the people who aren’t famous – like old school friends – you look at and think “my life sucks compared to theirs.”
It’s not just a social media phenomenon; we always compare ourselves to others. We see people our age with better jobs and relationships, wishing we had what they had. We might see people in excellent physical shape, making us feel bad about our bodies. Making these comparisons will always be awful for your mental health. Don’t compare your life to someone else as you are two different people. That person you see with a great job and an amazing body might have had rich parents that got them their job and pay for all their food. Stop making comparisons and you will start feeling so much better about yourself.
Excessive alcohol consumption
Having a drink or two sporadically isn’t going to do much damage to your mental wellbeing. But, if you start drinking every day or constantly get blackout drunk on the weekends, it’s slightly more worrying. As demonstrated on https://www.sunshinebehavioralhealth.com/colorado/denver/, alcohol addiction is a big problem for young people, with many admitting to having frequent drinks every month. Again, there’s nothing wrong with the odd drink, but consuming too much alcohol on a frequent basis is terrible for your body – and, as a consequence, your brain.
Most of us are aware of the health complications that come with excessive alcohol consumption. You know that it can make you gain weight and damage your liver, and you may even know that it’s been linked to an increased chance of getting some forms of cancer. But, did you know that the chemicals in alcohol interfere with the chemicals in the brain? It’s true, and there have been many links between alcohol consumption and anxiety or depression. After all, alcohol is a depressant, so it is going to change the way we think and feel. Therefore, reducing your alcohol consumption will help you avoid damaging your brain and messing up the chemical balance of your hormones. In turn, this can lead to clearer thoughts and better mental health.
A lack of physical activity
We always associate physical activities with our physical health. After all, regular exercise is going to make you a physically healthier human being. We’re all aware of the health benefits of being active and how it can reduce the chances of heart disease and other health conditions. However, being physically active can also benefit your mental health. It releases chemicals that make you feel happier and more accomplished – and the physical changes you see will further improve your mental health by making you feel more self-confident.
As such, a lack of physical activity is bad for your mental well-being. If you sit around doing nothing, it’s very easy to slip into a depressive or anxious funk. Again, the physical effects of not exercising will also play a role. You might start gaining weight or feeling really sore all the time because your posture is terrible. As a result, you hate what you see in the mirror, leading to all sorts of negative feelings.
This can all be turned around if you simply start being active! Make a commitment to exercising 3-5 days a week, for at least 30 minutes each time. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go to the gym and lift weights all those days; going for a 30-minute brisk walk still counts as being active. Generally, the more active you are, the better your mental health will be.
There are only three bad habits on this list, but they have such a vital role in your mental health and well-being. The first habit is potentially the worst as it is the hardest one to stop. We know we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, but we can’t help it. Hopefully, reading this post will make you more aware of these bad habits, encouraging you to quit them for the good of your mental health.