As we grow, we incorporate habits to improve our mental health and well-being. However, in addition to the habits that improve it, we also incorporate those that can harm our mental and even brain health. Although it’s easy to choose habits, it can be hard to let go of them.
Habits are very likely to harm the brain in one way or another. This is crucial because diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which are caused by cognitive loss, can get worse if brain tissue is injured. Therefore, becoming aware of some of these behaviors can help reduce your risk of developing brain deterioration at a young age and improve your mental health.
Habits to unlearn for better mental health
“Bad habits are our enemies because they prevent us from being the person we want to be.” — Joyce Meyer.
One of the most important capacities that can make or break sanity is unlearning. We are bombarded with so much information that it becomes difficult to understand everything. Learning to unlearn habits can also help relearn them.
Unlearning does not mean completely forgetting something; rather, it means learning to choose from a variety of information sources. Here are five habits that could be preventing you from learning new things and harming your mental health:
1) isolate yourself
In times of distress, we often run away from our loved ones and try to isolate ourselves. It can be easy to distance yourself from others and from reality when you’re feeling unhappy or in a negative frame of mind.
However, this usually has a negative effect, making us feel even more isolated and depressed. However, social isolation can result from factors other than being unhappy. Other factors include physical limitations, emotional distress, social anxiety, and depression.
While periodically spending time alone is beneficial as a type of self-care that allows you to recharge, spending too much time alone can be harmful to your mental health. Loneliness has been found to frequently cause problems such as increased substance abuse, cognitive deterioration, poor sleep, and premature death.
When necessary, you are fully authorized to postpone your activities. However, you don’t want to be a serial procrastinator. Delaying what needs to happen can have an impact on mental health. It clutters your schedule and creates uncertainty. You cannot succeed in life if you delay things.
Try to complete chores as you go, because no one will do it for you. However, getting rid of procrastination is never easy. Do everything you can to reduce it and stop postponing what can’t be helped. You need to stop postponing actions to stop your procrastination. You can easily overcome this if you put in a little effort.
3) Fear of mistakes
Fear of mistakes is a habit that can harm mental health. They stem from a fundamental belief that you have to be “perfect”.
You need to recognize mistakes when they happen. Try not to criticize yourself for things you can’t change. Be less concerned with success, because failures inevitably happen. What makes the difference is how you react.
For example, even if you have been careful in choosing your investment options, you can still lose money. You might make a choice that impacts your business, but no matter what, make something positive out of it. You can make wiser decisions in the future by learning from your failures.
4) Set fuzzy boundaries
Letting others step into our limits can be harmful to mental health. Most people need to develop stronger, healthier boundaries. Developing the ability to say no in a polite and clean manner is a crucial basic skill for leadership. Learning to say no is also saying yes to yourself, which is an “aha!” time for many.
Setting boundaries is also essential for the mental health of a business. Dysfunctional organizations often have fuzzy, fuzzy boundaries. Clarity, safety, security, and order are all produced by learning to set healthy boundaries and communicating them with kindness and compassion. A strong leader presents a concrete plan for everyone to follow to position the entire team for success.
5) Neglecting physical health
Your physical and mental health are intimately linked to each other. Having issues with one can eventually impact the other.
Neglecting physical health is not a good idea for this reason. For example, there is a link between mental health issues like acute stress, depression, and physical illnesses like psoriasis.
Additionally, not exercising, eating a lot of unhealthy foods, and gaining weight can contribute to symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, and weight gain.
Be kind to yourself if it takes longer than expected to unlearn a habit, because it can be just as difficult as learning one. There will be ups and downs, but ultimately, if you are able to recognize them, you are already well on your way to improving your mental health.
Janvi Kapur is a counselor and holds a master’s degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.
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