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It may be surprising to learn that some of your bad habits may be sucking the joy right out of your life. You Probably already know that bad eating habits can make you physically ill. 

Eating a cheesy sausage egg each morning and pizza every night will drive up your cholesterol, increase your waistline, and may even contribute to heart disease. Just as bad habits can be harmful to our physical health, some bad habits can negatively affect our mental health as well. 

These habits can increase our risk for depression, or contribute to feeling more stressed and anxious. 

What are the habits that could be harming our mental health?

1. The first would be eating processed foods

This is arguably the most impactful behavior on mental wellness. The food we eat directly impacts how our bodies and mind feel.

So, if we are fueling our bodies with processed, chemically rich, and nutrient-devoid foods, we are feeding our bodies with synthetic elements that can leave our cells starved. With that, try to be mindful about what you are consuming, and make healthy changes to your diet where possible.

2. Comparing ourselves to others on social media

Another habit that can have a negative impact on our mental health is comparing ourselves to others on social media.

This can be on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, or any other social platforms you may be using. Comparing yourself to others is a lose-lose game that rarely leaves you feeling good about yourself

It is important to note that social medial is usually crafted in a way to portray a certain message or lifestyle. As a result, what you see is rarely the whole picture of someone’s situation.

Social media is also often used as a way to market various products and services which can often lead us to think that we need to be different than we are at that moment.

Whether its makeup, diet products, new clothing, or various memberships, their overall goal is to sell you something

If you find that you tend to compare yourself to others or feel down after using social media, try using it less and connecting with the people in your life in other ways.

3. Using tobacco and alcohol products

Another habit to be mindful of would be using tobacco and alcohol products. The irony of substance abuse is rather cruel. Relief from negative emotions is one of the top reasons that individuals use tobacco or drink alcohol.

The truth is that both alcohol and tobacco have to contradict depressant and stimulant effects on our brains.

Initially, they often act as a stimulant, however in the end they act as a depressant for the central nervous system.

Neither of these effects is ideal for individuals who struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns.

If you are beginning to think that your use of tobacco and/or alcohol could be having a negative impact on your overall wellness, try to use them in moderation, or abstain to see if you notice any difference

4. Irregular sleeping patterns

Another habit to be aware of is your sleeping patterns. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, sleep is a key factor for our mental health.

Without adequate sleep patterns, we are opening the door for a variety of mental health concerns and difficulties. Sleeping gives our brain time to regulate the chemicals in our brains that are important for managing our emotions and mood. It is recommended that adults get a minimum of 7 hours per night

5. Negative thought patterns

The last habit I want to mention would be negative thought patterns. When we are struggling, it can be easy and tempting to say “f-this” when it comes to our mental health, self-care, and wellness.

The pressures of keeping up with everything in our lives can be overwhelming, which brings us down and can make us want to give up.

If you can relate to that, it may be helpful to look into any changes that you can try to make to help cope with the pressures you are facing.

This could include trying new self-care practices, setting new boundaries, or seeking professional help.

Wrapping up

In summary, we need to try our best to make our mental health a priority.

Noticing the daily habits that can have a negative impact on us, can help us identify where we can make some changes for the better.

Try to remember that it is the small changes that we make that add up to bigger changes over time.

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Jennifer Billings is the Medical Editor at Medicwell. She has 13 years of experience in internal medicine with a demonstrated history of working in the medical practice industry, both inpatient and outpatient urgent care. She has been published on Medicwell Blog, Medium.com, and is a regular contributor at MedCity News, Physician Family, and Psychology Today.