Habits are good in that they help us thrive and live life with ease and comfort. When a habit is programmed in our system, we are much like a robot that unconsciously responds to its surroundings automatically. Habits help us adapt. They make us look good at what we repeatedly do day in and day out. On the flip side, once a habit is ingrained, it can be hard to change it. This is the ugly side of habits – bad habits, more specifically.
Not all habits are created equal because habits can either be good or bad. Good habits develop us, uplift our lives, nurture us, strengthen us, and keep us healthy and happy. Bad habits gradually work against us. The bottom line is that bad habits don’t move us forward or work for our betterment.
Not all bad habits are physical such as drinking alcohol, living a sedentary lifestyle, or unhealthy eating habits. Habits can be psychological in nature, and although not readily visible, their mental and emotional effects can be profound and detrimental. Bad habits have the ability to damage and even ruin our lives emotionally and psychologically. We need to be aware of these and firmly resolve to replace them with better ones.
It’s time to watch out for these bad habits that can and do harm your emotional and mental health:
Misery loves company, and there is no better time it seeks yours than when you’re feeling vulnerable and down. Negative self-talk can become a habit and this bad habit can cripple you emotionally and lessen your life by casting a shadow of darkness on everything you see. When you fail, you berate yourself no end. Even if failure is not necessarily always bad, nor does it mean the end of the world, negative self-talk will prove that it is in multiple ways.
Not only will you attract more disastrous circumstances to fuel the constant negativity inside your mind, but instead of growing as a person, you will stay stuck in the middle of your unfortunate circumstance, unable to attract, or recognize a better opportunity. Negative self-talk is powerful, unfortunately it’s directed towards more negativity. It is unhealthy, unhelpful and very limiting. Do not allow useless negative thoughts to pervade your mind for more than a passing moment. Remember that there is always greater power in positivity than negativity.
Overthinking can become really bad because it can cause sleepless nights, misunderstanding, and lead to greater conflict than there actually is in reality. Overthinking fills your mind with excessive worry and unnecessary anxiety. This only leads to more problems than solutions. Yes, the mind can become restless in the middle of an issue, but allow yourself to let go of what you cannot control in the meantime.
Instead, rest your mind and go to sleep. Helpful ways to overcome overthinking include meditation, praying, exercise such as yoga or tai chi, dancing, writing in a journal, making art, talking to a confidant, or momentarily turning to healthy or positive distractions.
Coping through Substance Use and Abuse
A lot of people deal with their challenges through substance use and abuse. To them, it can be a form of distraction, but harmful substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs only momentarily ease the problem, but ultimately create greater challenges in the future. Smoking may help deal with the feelings of immediate pressure and stress, but the addictive substance in nicotine will keep you addicted and hooked, less able to relieve yourself of the substance itself with more repeated use.
In the same way, alcohol and drugs can be very addicting and may alter and affect the physiological functioning of the brain. While using these substances may provide temporary relief, it is far from a productive solution. It will only exacerbate problems into greater future challenges involving your emotional and psychological health. Don’t compromise it by using these substances as coping mechanisms.
Lack of Exercise
A lack of exercise can harm your physical health. But the body is also connected to the mind; in turn, a lack of it can affect you mentally, emotionally and psychologically, too. Do you notice how exercise puts you in a better mood? It’s the endorphins and serotonin hormones being released into your brain every time you exercise.
Physical activity is indeed life-changing. It is very healthy and it can uplift a person’s mood instantly. Lack of exercise is not just a bad habit that affects physical health; it can dramatically impact the brain, and emotional and psychological wellbeing, too.
Holding Emotional Grudges
There is a famous saying that goes, “resentment is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.” Begrudging other people and also not being able to forgive yourself are both emotionally damaging. Resentment may just be a feeling; one people can’t readily see.
But like all negative emotions, it is heavy and it can also harm your emotional health. Let everything that’s beyond your power and control go, including the past and worries of what’s still about to happen. Live in the present, learn to forgive and let go. The weight of these negative emotions will never serve you or your wellbeing.