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    13 Ways You May Be Accidentally Making Yourself Unhappy

    Mental health experts weigh in on the things that aren't as good for you as you think.

    Sometimes mental health can be a bit tricky. What makes some people feel better might make others feel really crappy.

    If you haven't been feeling so hot, these little seemingly normal things might be a problem. To help, BuzzFeed Life talked to a few mental health experts about the most common behaviors that might not be as helpful as you think — and what you might want to consider doing instead.

    1. You binge-watch Netflix whenever you're feeling run down.

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    While escaping from the world through an extra-long Netflix binge can feel like a good distraction in the moment, it could actually make you feel worse in the long run. Clinical psychologist Jennifer Taitz, Psy.D., previously told BuzzFeed Life: "People have come to me profoundly depressed after Netflix binges. Treatment for depression is getting active, and feeling purposeful and accomplished. Watching TV is passive."

    Better advice: Use your favorite comfort TV show as a reward for productivity, a way to wind down at the end of the day, or as a social activity (all things that will make you feel less depressed). This site lets you sync up Netflix with others remotely so you can watch with a friend even on days you can't get out of bed.

    2. You avoid stressful situations when you're anxious so save yourself even more anxiety.

    3. You take mental health days when you're feeling overwhelmed with life.

    4. You get a lot of sleep. Like, a LOT.

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    Getting sleep is super important for your mental health, but it's easy to sleep too much when you're not feeling so hot mentally. And that actually works against you. "Too much sleep is bad for your mental health, because basically to feel better in your life, you need to be active," says Taitz. "You'll notice also that if you sleep more, you'll feel groggier. There's a threshold, similar to food. You need it, but too much of it is going to make you feel sick."

    Better advice: Find out how much sleep you actually need and stick to it, as well as trying to go to sleep and wake up at relatively the same time every day.

    5. You distract yourself from the things you're worried about.

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    Don't worry, be happy, right? Nope. That actually backfires completely, cognitive behavioral psychologist Simon Rego, Psy.D., tells BuzzFeed Life, because the more you try to distract yourself from a thought, the more you think about it. "Plus, distraction prevents us from actually learning how to cope with our worries, so we'll be more vulnerable to experiencing worry again in the future," he says.

    Better advice: It may sound backward, but facing your worries really helps, says Rego. He suggests giving yourself a set "worry time" on a daily basis, so you can put aside worries in the moment and and work through them productively at a later time. You'll probably find that by the time you sit down to problem solve, you won't be as worried as you were to begin with.

    6. Similarly, you ignore your negative thoughts so they don't get you down.

    The same reasoning also applies to trying to ~think positive~ all the time, rather than acknowledging your negative thoughts, says Taitz. The more you try to push them down, the more power they have over you — and the truer they feel.

    Better advice: "Make an effort to have a more open, accepting attitude about your negative thoughts," says Taitz. "Practice mindfulness of thought – think, OK, I had this negative thought about myself, but thoughts are just thoughts and just because I'm thinking it doesn't make it true."

    7. You make to-do lists when you're depressed to help give yourself a sense of direction and accomplishment.

    8. You're putting off therapy until you're sure you really need it.

    9. You journal all your negative thoughts and emotions to work through them.

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    Expressive writing has been shown to help your mental well-being, says Serani, but there's a line between what's beneficial and what's harmful rumination. If you're someone who feels the need to write at length about your negative emotions and experiences and find yourself obsessing, it might not be the best tool for you.

    Better advice: "If you must write, purchase a journal that has lines in it and use the boundary of each lined page as a beginning and ending point," says Serani. "Or instead of the sentences and passages of journaling, consider the style use of singular words and shorter phrases of poetry journaling to express yourself."

    10. You think lots of positive thoughts in hopes that good things will come your way through the magic of abundant thinking.

    11. You're relying on self-care and ~mental strength~ to deal with a serious funk.

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    "Depression is a serious medical disorder," says Rego. "It's not about how strong you are — as it can impact anyone. Telling people things like this can actually make them feel worse, as it can create a sense that there must be something wrong with them if they are not feeling better." Don't put that pressure on yourself.

    Better advice: Even if you're not sure whether you're dealing with situational or clinical depression, don't hesitate to talk to a professional to see what steps are right for you to start feeling better.

    12. You indulge in lots of comfort food after a shitty day at work.

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    BEFORE YOU DISAGREE, hear me out. If you have a long, miserable day, you probably WILL feel better after eating your favorite food ever. But funnily enough, a study found that it's not the actual food that provides the feel-good effect, but the time you take to eat it. The study authors concluded: “You don’t need comfort food to feel better; the mind will do the trick all on its own if you give it time.” That, and Taitz points out that always indulging on comfort food could lead to you feeling physically crappy, which plays into feeling mentally crappy, too.

    Better advice: If you want to unwind with a slice of pizza after a miserable day, you do you. But if you always find yourself feeling guilty after regularly rewarding yourself with food, know that time to chill is really what you need to feel better. If you need ideas, here are some smart ways to improve your mood, like, immediately.

    13. You use online communities like Tumblr and Pinterest to get advice and peer therapy.

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    These places are good spaces for finding peer support and others who are going through what you are — but you should be very careful about using it as a replacement for professional help since they can be a hotbed for questionable advice. What works for someone else might not necessarily work for you, and taking unprofessional advice might be helpful at best, but it can also be dangerous at worst.

    Better advice: If it helps you, definitely find a community of your peers in ways that make sense to you, but don't rely on them for anything other than emotional support. For safer help options, Serani suggests checking out the support resources at the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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