Most of us have a routine that we go through each day. These daily habits help us stay on track and keep us from forgetting items and events, but sometimes these routines can lead to bad mental health habits. What may seem like an innocuous daily habit can actually be increasing your anxiety or depression. Consider these 5 daily habits, and try to eliminate them from your daily regimen.
1. Stop Obsessing About the Past
Whether it’s a bad business meeting that happened that morning, or a sad situation that occurred in your childhood, constantly ruminating about these stressful events will not change them and will only lead to increased negative thoughts.
Instead of getting caught up in the downward spiral of toxic thoughts, try to come up with solutions to the problem or alternative ways of reacting to the situations. The bottom line is you need to leave the past in the past; obsessing about it will not change anything. If it helps, remember the Jimmy Buffett lyrics: “Breathe in, breathe out, move on.”
2. Avoid Social Media
If you’re one of those people who scrolls before you roll out of bed, and are attached to your device all day, this is a daily habit that can have a very negative impact on your mental health. Disparaging posts can destroy a good mood and leave you feeling horrid. Unfortunately, some people will use social media as a platform to berate others because they feel they are at a safe distance.
Alternatively, comparative behavior can leave people feeling unfulfilled and depressed. Viewing your life in relation to what others are posting, like fun celebrations or island vacations, can be detrimental to your mental health.
From a physical aspect, using devices just before you go to bed can interrupt your sleep patterns. Games can also overstimulate your brain, making it difficult to fall asleep.
3. Swap Out Poor Eating Habits
You know the adage, “You are what you eat,” so if you eat bad food, you will feel bad, both physically and emotionally. Stay away from simple carbs, refined sugars, and processed foods. Stick with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, and try to eat locally and seasonally. Excessive consumption of caffeine can cause physical issues like heart palpitations, dizziness, and emotionally can make you more anxious.
Your daily habits of when and how you eat will also have a huge impact on your physical and mental health. Do not skip meals, and conversely do not binge eat. A good tip is to eat small meals about every 3 hours.
4. Curb the Complaining
Sometimes venting is good and can help relieve stress, but you must also be wary of it exacerbating the issue and making you even more upset. If you have someone close to you who will just amp you up even more, that is not a productive way to deal with a situation.
Constant complaining is also one of those bad mental health habits that have a horrible effect on your mental health. Many times it leads to self-fulfilling prophecies--you literally end up making the very things you are complaining about happen. If you take a good long look at your life, you can find so many things for which you can be grateful. Concentrate on this gratitude, and you will live a fuller, happier life.
5. Avoid a Daily Weigh-In
So many people obsess about their weight, and while it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle, the daily habit of weighing ourselves, usually first thing in the morning, can get us off to a terribly depressed start to the day. Rather than weighing in, consider how you feel in your own skin. If you are unhappy with it, then increase activity and try a healthier way of eating. We all have different body types and different metabolisms, so do not compare yourself to others.
A Path to Better Mental Health
Mindfulness will help you identify your bad daily habits, and turn them around. As you start to focus on your mental health, you will find your physical health improving as well. If you are concerned about mental health issues beyond what can be improved through your daily habits, please contact us at Vista Del Mar Behavioral Healthcare Hospital. We have a variety of programs to help you and your loved ones on the path to better mental health.