Before we delve into the subject, what are mental habits? Any pattern or a way of thinking that is repeated continuously could be called mental habits. It is the first place the mind goes to, a hub for every positive and negative experience that an individual has. In the year 2020, and individuals’ mental health is at stake, now more than ever. Certain factors are the main causes of this.
4 Personal Habits That Are Harming Your Mental Health
Factors Causing Mental Health
- The increasing importance of virtual reality
Social media has been on the rise for several years now. While this can be interpreted positively, its negative repercussions are becoming increasingly evident. By definition, social media has done no wrong. It increases connectivity, so, in its essence, people should be feeling more included than ever before.
But the problem lies here, social media, with increased accessibility to other people’s lives, brings with it an opportunity for comparison. It is very tempting to sit back and compare someone’s highlight reel to ones’ ordinary, regular life. There is nothing that can make an individual’s every day waking life seem as fulfilling as another’ orchestrated picture of perfection.
Even though people understand the concept of this, it doesn’t stop them from feeling insufficient or worthless anyway. There is a continuous stream of input, where one can see other people partying, traveling, getting promoted, and building families. If these are things that an individual would want for themselves, seeing other people attain it, seemingly effortlessly, can lead to negative feelings about society and oneself.
It’s important to remember that each individual has a different timeline, and not everyone will have good things happen to them at the same time. It is unfair to compare one’s dark moments to the unachievable standards that social media sets.
- Ignoring unhealthy coping mechanisms
After a tiring day, it is quite normal to have a few drinks or binge-eat a favorite snack. In isolated events, this can prove to be quite a healthy way of rejuvenation.
But what about a string of bad days? It happens to everyone, and if the only way an individual can deal with it is to get intoxicated or stuffed with food, it can prove to be a huge problem. Several causes of mental illnesses stem from lifestyle diseases, like obesity and alcoholism.
The thing with unhealthy coping mechanisms is that it usually provides instant gratification. Instant gratification feels good, and in a short amount of time, these habits turn into a cycle.
To put things in perspective, a binge-eating habit would result in weight gain, if continued over some time. This weight gain would then contribute to feelings of insecurity and unhappiness. This unhappiness would now force the individual to cope with it is the only way he/she knows how. That is, by binge-eating some more. And thus, the cycle goes on.
An excellent way to break bad mental habits would be to find something healthier to cope with times of duress.
- Close relations to toxic people
Good mental health is an uphill battle, especially if surrounded by close ones, who project their discomforts onto an individual. Are they merely sharing their misgivings with an individual? Or are they bringing them down to make themselves feel better?
There is a high probability that every individual has at least one toxic person in their lives. Toxicity, very often, is not apparent and tangible. It exists in many forms, narcissism, gaslighting, negativity, and envy. Here are some examples:
- If there’s a friend or family member who spends more time criticizing you instead of uplifting you, that may be a sign of toxicity.
- If there’s a close one who never seems to be happy for you and seems bitter instead, that may be an example of envy.
- If there’s someone who keeps causing you harm, without ever taking responsibility for it, and turns tables on you instead, that’s an example of gaslighting, right there.
- Expecting perfection
Having high expectations from oneself could lead to growth. Still, it is imperative to know where to draw the line. Expecting unrealistic goals to be reached consistently will take a toll on feelings of adequacy. A good mental health tip would be to be patient with oneself. It’s important to keep focusing on growth, both mental and otherwise, while still being happy at a present point in life.
Continually striving for perfection may also be a cause for procrastination. Expecting oneself always to deliver the very best, will give rise to feelings of frustration. An individual will continuously fall short in their own eyes.
A few more instances of continued disappointment and the individual will fall entirely off the wagon. There will be no enthusiasm left even to attempt the same task. Sometimes, showing up is all that counts, even if it’s not with one’s best work.