There are plenty of things that will help your mental health, but what are the things which won’t help your mental health. Maybe you are doing some of these things and wondering why your mental health is not improving; a few years ago, I could have been found doing nearly all these things.
- 1. Alcohol
- 2. Perfectionism
- 3. Spending Too Much Time Indoors
- 4. Not Standing Up Straight
- 5. Binge-Watching Series
- 6. Feeling Guilty
- 7. Having a Lie-In
- 8. Being a Couch Potato
- 9. Shopping Spree
- 10. Negative Thoughts
- 11. Binge Eating
- 12. Social Media
- 13. Always On Your Phone
- 14. Being Regretful
- 15. Lack of Social Connection
- 16. Being Dependent On Another
- 17. Multitasking Everything
- 18. Lack of Sleep
- 19. Anger
- 20. Going With the Flow
Hopefully, you will discover what not to do, and then you can take action to rectify it. If, like me, you may find you are doing many of the things below, then try not to fret about removing them all in a single day. It takes time to work through them, so just removing one every couple of weeks will go towards helping your mental health.
If you are looking for things to help you with your mental health, then my article on a mental health toolkit may help you move forward in a positive direction. Right, let’s get to what won’t help your mental health.
You may have guessed this would be the first thing, but it helps no one when they are trying to manage a mental health condition. Alcohol is a toxin, and the usual effect of this particular toxin is to give us a feeling of well-being. However, it is a bit of a liar, as in truth, it is an actual depressant. The odd glass of wine is not a problem, but if you are drinking one or more every night, you could find it is depressing your mood rather than helping you.
Trying to make your life perfect is a no go because it is unachievable and places too much stress on you. You may be procrastinating so much for fear of not doing something perfectly, then because of the procrastination, you start to feel down and feel like you are failing. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do your best; we all want this. Stop comparing your life to other people; there are many things in their lives which you may not know about. Choose to do something in an excellent manner rather than perfect.
3. Spending Too Much Time Indoors
Some people are indoors types, and others are all for the outdoors; this is fine. We are all different, but when it comes to not going out, we need to immerse ourselves in nature sometimes and be around other people. As humans, we are social mammals, and there are specific requirements a human needs, such as vitamin D, which comes from sunlight and social connection in the form of people; you can also get this from animals. A lack of social interaction and vitamin D can result in depression.
4. Not Standing Up Straight
Your posture says a lot about you, but did you know that standing up straight increases your self-esteem and confidence. A study showed that standing up straight helped to relieve some of the symptoms of depression. With our lifestyles now mainly focused at desks or with our heads bent looking down at mobile phones, it’s no wonder that our mood can be affected when we are spending so much time bent over. Improve your posture and start gaining benefits.
5. Binge-Watching Series
Have you got into the habit of binge-watching boxsets? Too much time staring at a screen and lounging about on the sofa will do you no favours in the long run. Even if you have exercised during the day, you nullify your efforts by spending so long in front of the tv. Years ago, you would have to wait a week for the next part of a series, and in between, you got on with your life. Whereas nowadays we can watch an entire series in one go, keeping us on the couch. Try to turn back time and spread your watching over a few weeks; you will feel better for it and have something to look forward to.
6. Feeling Guilty
If you get a case of the ‘should haves’, then it is time to move these into the trash. Reflecting on things you should have done will be of no help to you. You may think about something that happened years ago, and this won’t help your mental health in any way, shape or form. It can make you full of anxiety and cause you to over-worry about things in the future; you may start to play out various scenarios and how you will react to them, which wastes untold energy. If you feel guilty for things that have happened, seek out counselling to help get you through this. [AF] I recommend Online Therapy or Calmerry; both offer online counselling.
7. Having a Lie-In
It feels good at the time, pulling that duvet around you and snuggling down for an extra hour, but it won’t help you in the long run. Our bodies run on a circadian rhythm, and lie-ins knock our CR out of sync. It is believed we are best to have a routine with our sleeping habits. Going to bed at the same time and waking at the same time. There is evidence suggesting those who wake an hour earlier during the morning have better mental health; this could be down to getting extra vitamin D.
8. Being a Couch Potato
Much like watching boxsets, your body is not designed to be sitting down all the time; it is a beautiful machine designed to run, jump, and walk. Our bodies are at their optimum when doing this, and the feel-good endorphins released when performing activities improve our mental health. When we are lying down or sitting on the couch for a reasonable amount of time, our mood can drop. Try and incorporate activity in your day, not in one burst but in plenty of short little bursts, which is how your body likes it.
9. Shopping Spree
A shopping spree can feel good at the time, but it is short-lived; as humans, we love to gather things, and this is why we get a high from a shopping spree, but after you have spent money and brought the goods home, guilt can set in. Especially if you never really needed the items. If you do tend to have online shopping sprees, try adding them to your wishlist rather than buying it, or make a rule with yourself for each new thing entering your home one other thing has to go to charity.
10. Negative Thoughts
Do you dwell on negative thoughts? If you do, then these, in the long run, can impact your mental health. You will need to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones, and you can read my article on positive affirmations for a guide on phrases to say. Or you can buy affirmation cards (which is what I use) to help you put positive thoughts into your head.
11. Binge Eating
Nobody ever feels good after binge eating; it seems like a good idea at the time, but when you have finished eating all of your food, you feel bloated, and your mood drops. You may feel guilty about the amount of food just consumed, and when your belly is full, you go into lethargy mode, which is when naturally, you would have a siesta. But with our current lifestyles, binge eating is unnecessary, and most of us cannot sleep during the day. Overeating food will impact your mental health, even if it is just temporary.
12. Social Media
Social media can be good in small doses, but your mind is not designed for a continuous onslaught of images and dialogue. It also doesn’t help your mental health if you view questionable content and receive negative feedback. You need to limit your time on social media and stop comparing yourself to other people. You won’t help your mental health by viewing this content for very long periods; it is not suitable for your well-being. Try setting specific times of the day when you view your social media channels; moderation is key.
13. Always On Your Phone
Not just for social media, but spending all your time on your phone, playing games and whatnot is 1. not good for your posture and 2. stop you from being sociable in real life. Nowadays, most of us own a phone but being on it every spare minute you get will harm your mental health because you will inevitably neglect people, most likely your family. It is much better to be social first than phone second.
If your phone is your only means of contact with people, you can forget this part of the article, but make sure you limit your time on social media.
14. Being Regretful
Regretting things is akin to guilt; I wrote a post on not regretting stuff. You can read it here. You need to live in the moment and not worry about things that have passed; you never know the best things in your life could be around the corner, so thinking about what could have been will only drag you down. If you are consumed by regret, you may need to seek out counselling.
15. Lack of Social Connection
As I have said before, we are social creatures and need to be in contact with others. The best way for us and our mental health is to do this face to face, where we can see, smell, and hear the person; even the need to read body language is good for our mental health. When we don’t have close relationships, we miss out on all of these much-needed things.
16. Being Dependent On Another
Sometimes there is no choice but to rely on another, such as when you are ill, but when you give away your right to choose and decide, you are giving away your rights as a human being. You need to take responsibility for yourself and understand that making decisions and choosing what to do makes you more confident and boosts your self-esteem. Sometimes we give ourselves away just for an easy life, but life isn’t easy, and the more challenging the trial, the more your confidence will grow once you have overcome it.
17. Multitasking Everything
One way to head to burnout city is trying to multitask on everything. Multitasking is OK, but it can negatively affect your mental health when you take on too much over a prolonged period. Try and give yourself more time to get things done, or if time is short, learn to prioritise things of importance and drop some items off of your to-do list or delegate to other family members.
18. Lack of Sleep
One thing which will impact your life is lack of sleep; ask any new parent. But a lack of sleep or poor sleeping habits such as waking in the middle of the night will lead to depressive thoughts and possibly put you in a bad mood for the day. I have articles on the website to help with getting to sleep, and if all else fails and if there is one thing which I have found that helps me is the supplement [AF] Melatonin, you can buy it here.
Holding onto anger can make you physically and mentally unwell. It causes you stress, and in extreme cases, stress can cause strokes. If you find you are angry all the time, you need to check to see if you are depressed (read my article on depression and anger). Anger usually has a cause, but if you cannot pinpoint it, it may be depression related. Seek out help from your doctor and also get counselling as soon as possible.
20. Going With the Flow
You may think going with the flow is good for you, but much like giving away responsibility in the long run, it will drag you down. You as a human have a right to your opinion, and you have the right to be you; letting someone else steal your thunder will eventually start to mess with your head. If you lack self-confidence, try and build it up by attending online workshops or seeking cognitive behavioural therapy (Online Therapy).
I hope these 20 items will help you see what won’t help your mental health, and you will be able to start making changes in your life to bring about positive mental wellness.