While there are plenty of things you can do to improve your mental health, there are also plenty of things you might be doing to harm it. Here is a list of common behaviors that might make you feel better temporarily but aren’t actually as helpful as you think.
You sleep too much
While getting enough sleep is very important for your mental well-being, it is also very easy to sleep too much if you are not feeling 100%. Unfortunately, getting too much sleep actually has the opposite effect on your mental health, causing you to feel groggy and even depressed. In order to live a full, happy life, you need to be active. Try figuring out exactly how much sleep your body needs for your age, and stick to a schedule of going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day.
You avoid exercise
Being physically active is very closely linked to being mentally strong and healthy. If you engage in some form of physical activity just three days per week, your risk of becoming depressed will decrease by almost 20%. Many studies have found that people who are depressed are rarely active, and those who are active are less likely to be depressed. If you are feeling down, try to just get out and move around at least a little bit. Even walking around the block or simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help to keep your mind moving.
Putting off tasks because it makes you feel anxious or because you are afraid of failing will only give you more anxiety about completing the activity. If you are feeling stressed about something and are avoiding it as a result, try to do something that eases your stress before you dive in. This could be listening to music, going for a run, or any activity that helps to make you feel more relaxed. This will give you more motivation to complete the task, and you will feel much better about it once it is over.
You avoid being alone
It is very important to your mental health to find time for yourself, even if it is just ten minutes per day. Without taking the time to do things that make you happy, it makes it easier for depression and anxiety to develop.
You spend too much time on social media
If you are primarily using texting, Facebook, or other forms of social media to communicate with your friends and family, then you are missing out on the meaningful contact that makes social interaction so valuable. Social media does not allow deep conversations to take place that actually allow you to understand the people around you. Instead, it lessens your experiences and feelings towards others, which can be damaging to your mental health. To live a happier life, try to schedule a date at least once a week to sit down face to face with a family member or friend at least once a week.
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