6 Things That Are Negatively Affecting Your Mental Health
Man is a creature of habit. We all know how hard it is to fight our inner demons, but sometimes it's the things that we're not even aware of that can hurt us the most. This is especially true of habits that have been picked up over the years, but never questioned. Many of these behaviors are ones that we unconsciously repeat over and over again, even though they're actually destroying us mentally. In psychology, these organized patterns of thought and behavior are known as "schemas." Schemas are essentially feelings and memories that shape us over time, which keep coming back. Left untreated, certain patterns can lead to mental illnesses such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder over time. That's why it's all the more important to pinpoint these negative habits and nip them in the bud before they can do any more damage to your mental health. Be sure to keep an eye out for the following 6 things!
Self-criticism is something most people are all too familiar with. We figure that because we know ourselves best, we can be the best judge. We're taught from a young age that honesty is key, so we begin to fall into a self-destructive pattern in which we tell ourselves that our efforts and achievements can never measure up. This, in turn, causes us to focus on our mistakes, thus making us feel guilty. Instead of dwelling on a mistake, you should tell yourself that next time you will do better. And remember to pat yourself on the back every now and then for a job well done.
Another consequence of exaggerated self-criticism is perfectionism, and despite the seemingly positive perception of it, perfectionism can be a very dangerous thing with serious consequences. Due to the nature of the trait, perfectionists tend to very powerful and successful at what they do, but they are also more prone to burn-out and depression. After all, they're never satisfied with themselves or their achievements, even if they receive constant positive feedback. Dare to be imperfect! Ask yourself if your goals are realistic and where your limits lie. And when you've reached a goal, take the time to congratulate yourself instead of searching for mistakes.
People make mistakes – that's just human nature – but how we handle our mistakes can be a very delicate balancing act. Dwelling on past mistakes is unhealthy, but nonchalantly brushing them off, or even worse, shifting the blame to someone else are equally damaging approaches. It's important to take responsibility for your mistakes because it will help you develop in all aspects of your life. After all, anyone who can't handle constructive criticism and instead turns to excuses will later think back to the situation and will be haunted by self-doubt.
Fear is actually a very useful feeling, because it's how our body warns us of potential threats. But sometimes fear can paralyze and take control of us in harmless situations. Because anxiety is not just a mental reaction, but also involves strong physical symptoms, it can also be controlled with physical techniques, such as breathing exercises and muscle relaxation.
Note: Anyone suffering from frequent anxiety attacks should seek medical attention, as it could indicate an anxiety disorder. The sooner you face your fears, the faster you can get them back under control. Behavioral therapy has proven to be quite effective in treating anxiety disorders, and if your doctor decides that will be the best course of action for you, you'll be able to approach the situation head on in an open and honest manner.
5. Need for Control
In a world of chaos, it's natural to seek stability. Because we sense that our lives are determined by factors that are beyond our control to change, an obsessive need for control is borne out of a feeling of helplessness. But that will never help the situation because it is impossible to control the actions of those around you. The only thing you can ever have 100% control over is yourself. Accepting the truth and reality of that will finally bring you a sense of inner peace and serenity.
6. Toxic People
Whether we realize it or not, the people we surround ourselves with have a big impact on our well-being. Dealing with a Grumpy Gus or Negative Nancy on a daily basis will eventually take its toll on your mood, attitude, and health. Friends who are always talking about themselves and have no regard for other people can negatively affect your self-confidence. Energetic and positive people, on the other hand, can inspire us. Seek the company of people who are good for you and genuinely interested in you as a person.
If you find yourself engaging in any of these habits, don't shy away from seeking professional help if that's what it takes to break the compulsive patterns. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health!