It’s my favorite topic.
Maybe it’s because I have had so many issues with it that I find the subject fascinating, but I love learning about mental health problems and how to prevent or fix them.
I’ve noticed, though, that we spend a lot of time talking about what we should do to improve our mental health. That’s all well and good; positive action is very important. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to talk about what we should not do.
There are a number of common practices that we engage in which can make our mental health worse. I imagine most of us are doing at least two or three of these things. They are easy pitfalls, especially in our modern culture.
1. Not getting enough sleep.
Sleep allows our bodies to heal and our minds to process what has happened during the day. It helps our memories to function better and our bodies to operate properly–including the production of the hormones that help us to feel better.
If you are sleep-deprived, your body and mind are not functioning to their fullest ability. Thus, sleep also prevents mental health issues. It does this in many ways, but a very simple one is by putting us in a better frame of mind so that we can more properly deal with the problems and stresses that come with each day.
If we sleep enough, we can go a long way towards having good mental health.
Doing more than one thing at a time is not a virtue; it’s a problem. It can affect our mental health by increasing the pressure we have to endure, speeding up our lives, preventing concentration, and not allowing us to experience things fully and completely. Discontent, distraction, and stress are only some of the results of multitasking.
On the other hand, being mindful about our tasks leads to a richer, more peaceful life.
3. Spending too much time on social media.
Social media frequently instigates us to compare ourselves and our lives with others. This can lead not only to negative self-talk and dissatisfaction, but also to stress, anxiety, and even depression.
It also occupies our minds with frivolous activities and information, thereby preventing mental development and growth. A mind taken up with the petty occurrences of others’ lives is not becoming rich with solid, wholesome thoughts, knowledge, and ideas.
4. Not exercising.
Exercise has both immediate and lasting effects. In the first place, exercise triggers our bodies to produce the hormones that help us to feel happy. It can distract us from our negative thoughts and our stresses, and if it is done outdoors, the sunshine and fresh air can boost our mood.
What is more, exercising can prevent depression and such mental health issues that come as we grow older. It can also help to relieve depression, anxiety, and dementia. To read more about this, especially in regard to how this happens, check out this article from Psychology Today.
5. Taking insufficient leisure time, or using our leisure time poorly.
The mind needs relaxation just as the body does. And this relaxation must be achieved through healthy, wholesome means.
If I were to spend all or most of my free time watching television, for example, my mind would have only passive occupation. It would not be able to stretch and grow, both of which activities it needs in order to be refreshed and restored.
Leisure should be both active and passive. The mind needs both kinds of occupation in order to be whole and healthy.
Look at your life and see if you could stand improvement in any of these areas. I know I do. I’m especially going to work on number four.
Where do you need to change? Do you have any ideas as to how to do so? Help us out and let us know your tips in the comments below!