5 Every Day Habits That Are Actually Bad For Your Mental Health

10 October 2016, 06:00 | Updated: 8 May 2017, 17:09

Girl looking forlorn
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

Things you think are normal but are actually contributing to your mental health struggles.

Poor mental health can be aggravated by things in our lives that we don't even realize are harmful. Everyday habits, thoughts, and behaviors can end up having a huge impact on our over all mental health. 

Here are five things that you may be doing that are hurting your mental health. 

1) You've been holding on to toxic relationships because they're convenient. 

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Breaking up with a friend or problematic family member can be hard, but don't sacrifice your mental health for their sake. If you walk away from interactions with certain people feeling sad or frustrated then it's definitely time to kick them to the curb. A study published by The Journal of Family Psychology draws a strong correlation between the quality of the relationships in your life and your mental well being so start saying no to people you know are no good. 


2) You take pictures of EVERYTHING.

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Now, I'm not the millennial police here to tell you that your every waking breath is destroying our very existence. But, it's been documented that incessant photo taking can create an unhealthy barrier between you and reality. According to Dr. Diedre Clay, participating in activities, rather than just photographing them can help build up mental strength.   


3) Your sleep pattern is f*cked. 

via Buzzfeed

Give it a quick Google and you'll find no shortage of people who say their sleeping schedule is f*cked and they also feel depressed. No, it's not a coincidence. Without getting too deep into the science of it, your body and brain need to be on a sleeping pattern that makes sense. "Tampering with a normal circadian rhythm not only messes with your bodies ability to regulate the many bodily functions and hormones that this biological clock is in charge of, it also restricts you of vital sunlight." So, in short: Go the f*ck to sleep. 


4) You're way too hard on yourself.

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One of the hallmarks of mental health issues (especially anxiety) is that pure logic has almost no effect on how you cope with your struggle. When you make a mistake your brain tends to run away with all sorts of negative thoughts. We've written about things you can try to calm yourself down during an anxiety attack, but one simple thing you can try is to put things into perspective. I.e.: You made a mistake at work and all of a sudden you're panicking. Try: remembering what you have achieved in that same position; remembering positive feedback your manager has given you; remembering that you made one mistake on one day of your career. 

5) You don't go outside enough.

via babycenter

I know we love Netflix, staying inside, and drinking wine while we watch Scandal. But if you're clocking major indoor hours, you may be doing more harm to your mental health than you realize. Of course, it's a cycle. Some of us choose to stay indoors because we have poor mental health to begin with and it's not always correct to advise people with anxiety to mingle among the unwashed masses. However, "Exposure to sun-strength rays helps calibrate your body’s circadian "clock", which regulates everything from appetite and sleep schedules to mood and energy levels". There's a reason you definitely feel like sh*t when you don't go outside for a few days. Sorry, fam. You're gonna have to take a walk around the block.