Bad Habits everyone should change for a better mental health

Did you know that sometimes a happy and healthy mental health can be undermined by some bad habits? Here are 4 common habits that you can change for a better mental health.

Perfectionism

Pursuing perfectionism, for psychologists can be described as positive or negative. That is because it can affect some people beneficially while harming others. It really comes down to how realistic you are with the pursuit of perfectionism. Positive perfectionism includes making realistic goals, keeping anxiety and stress at healthy levels, and making mistakes opportunities for growth. It is a beneficial mindset if it helps increase your chances of success. But sometimes perfectionism can undermine your efforts. This is a negative perfectionism which is defined as a goal people try to pursue that is way beyond their reach, being ungrateful with anything lower than their expectations, always having a mindset of failure and disapproval, and seeing mistakes as a sign of unworthiness. If you ever find yourself with these habits, you should definitely try to stop it because it can cause stress, an unhealthy fear of making mistakes, and anxiety of being judged, all factors that can greatly deteriorate your mental health.

Poor Posture

A poor posture is often a sign of low self-esteem and laziness. It is because low self-esteem and laziness can cause you to slouch. But sometimes, it can be the other way around. Poor posture can cause your mental health to decline. Sometimes some of us slouch unintentionally and want to change it to look better. You may find it hard to change as it takes a lot of effort to fix. But now you may have one more reason to motivate you to improve your posture. Studies have proven that good posture can immediately improve your self-esteem and mood. It can also increase your positivity, reduce fatigue, and reduce depression. It never hurts to give it a try. You will see how one little change can make a big difference.

Failure Mindset

If you ever felt like a failure, just remember everyone also occasionally has these feelings as well. It is very common to feel like your life is miserable and hopeless. You should definitely get rid of a failure mindset if you find yourself letting these thoughts damage your mental health and increasing your anxiety and depression. These mindset habits can get in your way of success by discouraging you from setting goals you can achieve, diminishing your awareness of your natural talents, and making your mistakes bigger than they really are. Instead, try to focus on the positive side like your talents and strengths.

Overuse of Social Media

It is well-known fact that teenagers who use social media can find themselves struggling with low self-esteem issues and issues with anxiety. So it is no doubt that adults can be facing this problem too. A Research from The Telegraph found that out of 1,500 Facebook adult users, 60 percent felt some sort of jealousy from comparing themselves to others, 32 percent felt that social media made them feel lonely and 62 percent felt that social media lowered their self-esteem. This is a  great sign of how harmful social media can be on someone’s mental health. To lower our risk for depression, anxiety and improve our mental health, stop overusing the media. Social media should never define anyone’s happiness. Don’t let social media take away your happiness.

 

Early Signs of Depression & Warning Signs to Look out for

Depression is a serious medical disorder that can change the way a person thinks, eats, sleeps, acts and perceives life. Depression is often defined as an intense feeling of prolonged hopelessness and doom. Here are some early warning signs to look out for in yourself, as well as some tips for receiving help if needed.

Loss of interest in hobbies and daily activities

Hobbies, social gatherings, pastimes and activities that you found fun and pleasurable in the past no longer bring you joy. You no longer look forward to them and you do not seem to care about these activities anymore.

Another sign is a loss of interest in sex in those who are sexually active. Decreased sex drive and even impotence can be early indicators of depression.

Hopelessness

You have developed a pessimistic approach to life, meaning that it feels like there’s no point in anything and that nothing will get better.

Weight and appetite changes

Your appetite has unintentionally decreased or increased severely, causing drastic weight fluctuations (either weight gain/loss). This sign can vary person to person as some may skip meals or reduce their portion sizes drastically, while others may binge or overeat.

Sleep problems & increased fatigue

Insomnia, early morning wakefulness and oversleeping are all linked to depression. The loss of energy and fatigue that those with depression experience comes from the poor quality of sleep. This can further lead to loss of interest as well as anxiety.

Anxiety

Anxiety has been shown to occur with depression, however there is no direct source that states that either one is the cause of the other. Symptoms of anxiety include: increased nervousness, rapid heart rate, trembling and muscle twitches, heavy sweating, increased breathing and digestive issues.

Concentration issues

You’re having consistent trouble focusing on work-related tasks and chores. Furthermore, you are unable to make important decisions, you can’t think straight as your thoughts have become disorganized and scattered. Lastly, you have trouble remembering things.

Loss of Energy

Along with sleep issues, you may feel fatigued, sluggish and slow throughout the day. Your daily tasks are seemingly taking longer to accomplish and you seem to be putting in less effort into them. Furthermore, small activities and tasks are draining you way faster than they used to and keep you feeling burn-out rather quickly.

Irritability

Your tolerance level has dropped significantly and you are feeling unexplainable anger towards those around you. Small interactions get you irritated very easily for no reason and it seems as if everyone is getting on your nerves.

Extreme feelings of Guilt

You are having strong feelings of self-loathing and guilt towards yourself. This includes harshly criticizing yourself,  as well as being overly sensitive to faults and mistakes you make. Also, you find yourself overthinking every little thing you do such as your conversations, actions and behaviours towards others.

Body aches, cramps and/or headaches

An unexplained increase in physical aches such as body aches, headaches and cramps. Digestive issues could be tied in with symptoms of anxiety due to the increased activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which can lead to issues such as chronic constipation or diarrhea.

Seeking Help

If you’re worried that you display these early signs of depression, don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you such as your friends and family for support. Being able to express your situation and your feelings to a listener can be an immense help.

If you need someone to talk to about these symptoms, our team at Certified Listeners Society consist of a group of highly trained volunteers are here to listen, support and guide you 24/7 https://certifiedlisteners.org/support/

Other tools for coping with depression include lifestyle changes, consulting a therapist, and/or taking medication. Recognizing your symptoms and asking for professional help is the first step in being able to feel like yourself again.

6 Must Read Self-Improvement Books

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

By: Don Miguel Ruiz

 

An easy to understand and relatable book that advocates liberation from limitations in one’s life to achieve personal freedom. It’s a great fit for individuals looking for self-development and positive change in their life by learning from these four agreements.

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

By: Eckhart Tolle

This powerful book emphasizes the importance of grasping and enjoying each moment in the present.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

By: James Clear

An amazing book that offers guidance and practical strategies through breaking bad habits and learning to build new ones to better yourself.

Man’s Search for Meaning

By: Viktor Frankl

A 1946 novel, in which Frankl notes his experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps and his inspirational pursuit for survival. Throughout the book he describes his theory “logotherapy” which states that finding purpose in life is the main form of motivation for human beings.

Girl Wash Your face

By: Rachel Hollis

 

This book is a wonderful, powerful tool in which Rachel Hollis shares her story as to how she made her life more joyous and productive. She shares relatable, real life issues and strategic ways she implemented to get over these issues to improve her life.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

By: Angela Duckworth

This book brings to light the importance of passion and perseverance over talent to achieve success. Duckworth also shares powerful stories of individuals who used grit to get them to where they are.

5 Hacks to Have a More Productive Day

Start the night before

Waking up early is a great way to pursue a productive day and the first step to achieving this is by getting a good night’s sleep. In order to wake up feeling energized and ready to take on the day, you should plan a bedtime that works for your schedule and the time at which you plan on waking up the next day. You should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night and if possible, also give yourself time to relax and unwind before bed. Sticking with a consistent night time routine will make this so much easier!

 

Don’t hit the snooze button

As tempting as 5 more minutes of sleep sounds, this extra bit of “sleep” will not make you feel any more refreshed. By snoozing you are only wasting time, so skip the snooze button and get your day started! A simple trick in breaking the snooze habit is to place your alarm clock further from your bed. This way, once the alarm goes off in the morning you will have to get up to turn it off, thus preventing you from going back to bed. 

 

Create a To-Do list 

Sometimes needing to accomplish many tasks can be overwhelming — making a list can solve this issue. Organize your tasks by giving each one a level of priority. For instance, you can categorize your tasks into: most important, moderately important, and least important. This way, you will be able to know what tasks should be done first, and this allows you to get your most pressing work done earlier in the day. Creating a to-do list also allows you to physically see your plans for the day and no longer requires you to ponder about what you should do next. Therefore, this can lower stress levels and even keep your mind from being scattered. 

 

Set timers 

If you’re worried about not having enough time during the day for your chores and tasks, set a timer! Giving yourself a set amount of time for each task enables you to focus more on it because you know precisely how much time you will be working for. Furthermore, timing yourself lessens your chances of getting distracted because you will be motivated to finish your tasks within the time frame and move onto the next.

 

Take Breaks 

Running around and focusing on a bunch of tasks can be exhausting. Make sure that you are taking breaks in between tasks or after a certain time interval. Not only will this make your day more enjoyable, but it can also allow you to work more efficiently when doing your tasks. Picking your ideal breaks varies from person to person. Some prefer working for several hours then taking a long break, whereas others prefer working in shorter increments and taking short 10-15 minute breaks. Try out both methods and figure out which one works best with for you.

 

Credits: https://www.lifehack.org

6 Wellness Practices to Healthy and Happier Living

Cultivating good wellness practices is a beneficial aspect to add to your daily routine. These practices may reduce mental stress in your life and can lead you to live happier days. Here are some areas/practices to focus on.

 Proper Sleep

Sleep has so many benefits for our bodies. It allows for brain processes to be consolidated, our bodies to be repaired, etc. Poor sleep has shown to be linked to heightened anxiety and depression and a weaker immune system. Sleep problems have seen to be especially common, affecting more than 50% of individuals, with psychiatric disorders, such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.

Especially during this difficult time where these issues are of the utmost importance, make sure you get proper sleep. This can be aided by lifestyle changes, drinking or smoking less, regular physical activity, creating good sleep hygiene or routines, practicing relaxation techniques, etc.

Gut Health

Researchers for Frontiers in Psychiatry have shown that the microbiomes in the gut affect different bodily functions which include regulating mental states and sleep. Stress, both emotional and physiological, on your body can affect these microorganisms in the gut which in turn can lead to a multitude of mental health disorders. Therefore, take care of your gut and stress levels to keep your mental health balanced and in check, be it by eating probiotics and prebiotic-rich foods, foods high in fiber or omega-3 fatty acids, collagen boosting foods, or other methods your doctor has prescribed. Lists of these food groups can be found online. Before making big changes to your diet, consult your doctor or health care provider.

Silence

Silence may not be something common in your household or maybe something you are used to. Whatever your living conditions are, finding some silence can be good for your overall wellbeing. It can help lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, decrease stress by lowering the blood cortisol levels and adrenaline in the body, promote good hormone regulation, etc. A study conducted in 2013 stated that silence for two hours could create new cells in the brain region linked to emotions, learning, and remembering. Silence has also been seen to help creativity, awareness, insomnia, and reflection. Some ways to engage in silence could be going for a walk in nature, remaining in bed for 5 additional minutes in the morning, and meditating.

Community and Family Support

A big part of being human is forging relationships and connections. These connections in turn can lead to positives and negatives in one’s mental health. If you feel supported in these connections then a benefit is seen, the opposite happens when you do not gain a sense of support. Those who feel more connected to either their community, peers, and family show lower levels of anxiety and depression, they have higher self-esteem, a greater sense of empathy and are more trusting of others. This in turn can result in others feeling more supported by you. This connection can be hard to find or nurture during COVID. While it may be impossible to see or touch your community, family, etc. there are still ways to feel connected to them. Some ways to remain connected during this time are to call them, go for social distance walks/visits, and volunteer with different organizations. There are many different resources available, Certified Listeners being one of them. Take advantage of these resources and build those connections that can in turn help your mental health and wellness. In a review of approximately 150 studies, being connected, and having strong social relationships created a 50% increased likelihood of living longer.

Movement

With the increased heat comes an increased desire to go outside and get moving. Is this is what you currently feel, then take action on your wants. Movement and brain health is interconnected. With this being said, it has been proven that physical exercise is not more beneficial to the body but equally beneficial to the brain. Engaging in regular physical exercise can boost self-esteem, minimize anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve moods, and enhance cognitive ability. In a study conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, it was demonstrated that going for 15-minute runs or 1-hour walks can reduce, by 26%, the risk of major depression.  With this in mind, take those outdoor walks, runs, or online exercise classes.

Adversity

Adversity in our lives can make us stronger. This may be in the way we handle different situations or the way we get through various tasks. These hardships can allow us to realize the good in our lives and make us happier afterward. It does the same for our mental wellbeing. While some adversity is good, too much can cause an individual to be overwhelmed. When this happens do not forget to ask for help. Be it from someone you are close to or a professional.

While these areas of focus are not an exhaustive list, they are a place to start. Take time to get your mental health in order and cultivate good practices. This way if there is ever a time where you feel overwhelmed you will have some tools to help you.