When life is always on the go, it's easy to develop unhealthy habits, thoughts, or behaviors without even realizing it. Unfortunately, some of these things that you might not give much thought to are actually harming your mental well-being more than you realize.
Recently, redditor u/Liar2310 asked the question, "What’s bad for our mental health that we just ignore?" and many people got very honest in the thread. Here's what they had to say.
1. "Lack of sleep."
2. "Creating negative scenarios in our mind."
"I do this too often. I will be having a fantastic day and for no reason create a fake scenario in my head that will ruin my day. A scenario that also has a low likelihood of happening."
5. "Too much news consumption. Read and watch enough to be updated if you have to, but don’t be glued to it all day. It’s 95% negative and warps your perception of the world, and you dwell on atrocities that you can do nothing about."
6. "Giving up alcohol three years ago was one of the best things I did for my mental and physical health. So many things in my life changed. We're so brainwashed by the industry — it's the only drug where we question why people DON'T do it. It's so sad."
7. "Endless screentime. We talk a lot about how it affects kids, but nobody discusses how harmful it is for the adult attention span."
8. "[Burnout.] With hustle culture, everyone just tries to 'power through' when they start losing interest in a passion or struggling with a profession. Sometimes the best thing to do when possible is to give yourself some space from the activity."
"I had real bad burnout from just a horribly toxic job situation some years back. It's so much worse than people who haven't experienced it think it is. I expected to feel exhausted, stressed, and irritable. What surprised me was how sad and defeated I felt. I felt like I was letting everyone down and was letting myself down.
It's not surprising that a lot of the symptoms of burnout mirror many of the symptoms of depression. I felt helpless and hopeless. I even stopped enjoying activities I once found pleasurable. All of that. And it did NOT help to take a day or even a week off because the work was always still there. I felt like I was drowning, and taking 'a break' from it only made it worse. The only thing that helped was walking away — but it takes a lot of privilege and access to other opportunities to be able to do that."
9. "Not enough social interaction."
10. "Instant gratification."
"This is overlooked so much. Instant gratification has messed up my patience for a lot of things."
11. "Working night shifts."
12. "Good mental health requires effort. Most people ignore the effort because they think everyone just magically has good mental health, and people who don't are just unfortunate and need meds."
13. "Staying silent about things that are bothering you. 'Suck it up' is not a good mantra."
14. "Not allowing ourselves and others to grieve. We focus too much on being happy and positive in any and all situations. I think this makes people feel bad or damaged when they can't just 'get over' something."
15. "Comparing ourselves to others."
"The thing is, no matter who you see, there will always be someone who is better than you in some way. For example: Even if you’re a singer, someone can sing higher than you do or be more well known — it’ll always happen. I’ve had this problem recently in college. Constantly comparing myself to them is not healthy."
16. "Too much noise. From the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep, I am surrounded by noise. Most of them I don't seem to notice anymore: traffic, constant talking of people on the streets. But once I am in a silent environment, I notice how relieved I feel and how tense I actually was. Even too much music can do the same. I think some people actually don't listen to music anymore. They just try to cover other noise or their own thoughts. This might work for a while, but in the long run, it just makes you more squirrelly."
17. "Consumerism. Materialism. Defining yourself by the things you own and consume rather than your actions and character."
18. "Overthinking. Honestly, try not to think too much about problems or what you think are problems. They are what they are. Face them head-on, or disregard them. If you play things over in your mind, you won’t get anywhere. I’m guilty of doing this myself; I can make a situation out of nothing. I’m trying to change my thinking."
19. "Shaming people for having sexual desires. Humans are sexual by nature, and medical professionals around the world agree that expressing and fulfilling such needs is healthy. Though just like everything else, it should not be abused."
20. "Not spending time outdoors. It is so easy now to almost never go outside. We are connected to the Earth and need to be touching it. We need to be in it."
21. "Constantly watching TV and streaming content online without giving our brains proper time to shut down and relax."
22. "Lack of exercise. Physical fitness impacts mental health a lot. I have bipolar disorder, and my mental health has never been as good as when I started working out. I'm still medicated, but exercise helps a lot."
23. "Trying to control things, specifically our emotions. We often make ourselves even more miserable by trying to change or control our emotions. You may get sad and then spend so much time focusing on 'fixing' it that you don't actually process and resolve the sadness itself. There are no 'bad' emotions, just emotions. Emotions like sadness and anger certainly aren't always comfortable, but they are genuine human experiences that we must accept."
24. "We’ve built a society that praises people who are overly busy or claim to be. Thanks to technology and social distancing, we’re now more stressed out and isolated than ever. And we’re losing the ability to interact in meaningful ways, so we can all expect that trend to continue."
25. "Wanting to be in romantic relationships but not knowing how to be alone."
26. "Overthinking how people perceive you. Almost all of the time they don't care, or they are worried about what others think of them. There are case-to-case scenarios, but if you do it almost every day, you will end up with a distorted image of yourself."
28. "Toxic work environments. The irony is that a lot of those businesses know mental health is an issue, but the people who can change it are ill-prepared because they don't understand it. They don't understand it because most of them are sociopaths who can't empathize."
29. "Food diets in general. People dismiss it and don't think it plays a huge role — they associate mental health more with sleep hours and constant work. But food is THE thing that actually helps keep your brain functioning properly. Sleep is just recharging, re-shuffling files, and clearing cache."
30. "Our physical health often ties in with our mental health. Chronic pain being ignored can be detrimental to mental health. Ignoring symptoms of serious health problems leads to a negative mental health change. Even hormone imbalances can fuck with your mind. Often these things get ignored because if you live in the US you simply can't afford the several doctors you go through to find the one who puts in the work to help. Checking hormone levels in women is really complicated and often disregarded because 'you are too young and healthy' for that to be it.'"
31. "Building our value as a human being to the amount of work we can get done. Only caring if our days are productive instead of caring if we are feeling happy on the day to day."
Can you think of other things that are bad for our mental health? Tell me in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.