4 Modern Habits That Are Bad For Your Mental Health
A few years ago, I was stuck in a perpetual cycle of anxiety and depression. With each passing day, my mental health worsened, and I quickly found myself wondering if things would remain that way forever.
I had no hope or optimism for the future. As a result, I regularly experienced financial difficulty due to my poor work ethic caused by the deterioration of my mental health.
But one day, I decided to change my life for the better. I realized that playing the victim card wouldn’t benefit my future in any tangible way. So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I began identifying ways to improve my mental health and change the trajectory of my life forever.
Sure enough, the strategy worked. I’m now incredibly happy, optimistic, and have a genuine sense of gratitude for the present moment. So if you want to do the same, here are several bad habits that you need to eliminate to improve your mental health.
1. Watching The News 24/7.
The world is burning down. Society is crumbling. And a politician from Washington DC is the only person that can save you from this horrible nightmare.
That’s what a lot of news outlets want you to think. They make you believe that you can’t control any aspect of your future. So naturally, they keep you addicted to fear like a drug. And predictably, you always keep coming back for more.
Of course, I know that horrible stuff happens all the time. I’m not ignorant of that. But when you spend several hours worrying about everything that you cannot control, you’re not allowing yourself to focus on what you can.
For example, I used to watch CNN every day while eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I couldn’t help it. Due to my worries about the state of the world, my anxiety heightened, and I quickly found myself feeling more worried about life than ever before.
The truth is that you’re never going to improve your mental health until you take control of your life. You need to take the reins and identify what you can do in the present moment to create a better future.
I’m empathetic to the fact that this will be an extremely difficult mindset shift to make. But when you take responsibility for your actions and your future, you’ll quickly find yourself living a much happier life than you ever thought possible.
2. Not Getting Enough Sleep.
“Sleep is for the weak.” That’s a phrase I used to tell myself all the time. Admittedly, I got addicted to hustle porn and regularly worked on new projects until the early hours of the morning.
Please don’t be like my past self. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that getting less sleep will make you more productive. In fact, it’ll do quite the opposite. Quoting an article published by Entrepreneur Magazine:
“Poor sleep habits have been tied to weight gain, stress, and higher levels of illness.”
Most people require eight hours of sleep per night. So if you’re not getting the amount you need, watch one less episode of your favorite show on Netflix, and go to bed slightly earlier. Trust me, the effect it’ll have on your mental health is profound.
3. Not Paying Attention To Your Thoughts.
Here’s a truth bomb that most people struggle to accept: If you don’t learn how to control your thoughts, they will always be in control of you. Perhaps that’s what the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, meant when he said:
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
One strategy that worked for me is writing down how I feel each day in a journal. Because now that I can understand the triggers of negative thoughts, it’s easier to prevent them from affecting me in the future.
You can do the same. If your mental health isn’t where you want it to be, make an effort to identify why that’s the case. Because once you recognize what’s holding you back, it’s much easier to eliminate it from your life and create a better future. Darren Hardy said it best:
“The first step toward change is awareness. If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, you have to start by becoming aware of the choices that lead you away from your desired destination.”
4. Not Spending Time With Loved Ones.
I used to spend twelve hours a day on my phone, scrolling through social media, and watching loads of YouTube videos. And as much as I’d like to say that I’m an outlier, I’m not. Quoting an article published by Entrepreneur Magazine:
“The average millennial spends 18 hours a day consuming media — often multiple forms at once.”
Of course, there’s nuance and subtle differences between people’s media habits. For example, I can safely bet that most people watched more YouTube videos during quarantine than they would on a typical day.
Regardless of why we’re watching media, the facts remain the same. We’re spending more time on our phones, and consequently, much less time having conversations with the people we love.
I’ve lost several friends and family members over the past couple of years. And whenever someone passes away, the one thing I always regret is not spending more time with them.
Mark Manson once said: “You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon.” I get it. That might be a hard pill for you to swallow. But unfortunately, it’s true. So in between now and then, make a daily effort to practice gratitude, kindness, and compassion with the people in your life.
Right now, tell someone you love them. Show that you care. Message a friend and say that you’ll always be there if they ever need emotional support.
I’m going to leave you with a quote from Marcus Aurelius, who perfectly sums up what I’m trying to say: “Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”
And if you can do that every day, you’ll quickly find that your mental health will exponentially improve. So what are you waiting for?