Can’t stop scrolling? Haven’t exercised in days? Healthista spoke to Dr Emeka who reveals 5 daily habits that could be damaging your mental health
Habits are things we do again and again with little to no awareness of how they can impact the bigger picture.
There seems to be a growing awareness of how bad habits can affect our physical health. But people are less in the know about everyday, unconscious habits that could be having a negative impact on our mental health.
Changing the pattern or breaking these unknowingly harmful habits can have a positive effect, so it is time to sit up and take note if you are guilty of any of the following…
#1 Overuse of social media
One habit many of us have in this day and age is the overuse of social media.
This can promote anxiety and low self-esteem, especially if you are comparing yourself to people you have seen on apps like Instagram.
So set a limit on certain apps, such as Instagram and Twitter
Several different cases and studies have noted mental health issues from social media. Research shows there is a connection between social media and loneliness as well as depression.
Finding a way to ‘control’ your social media use is really important.
iPhones now have a great feature that means you can set timers for each app. So set a limit on certain apps, such as Instagram and Twitter, to just two hours a day. It can have a positive effect on your mental health.
#2 Poor sleep
Overuse of social media can be linked to another bad habit that impacts your mental health, poor sleep.
Sleep is a source of physical and emotional resilience. Improving your sleep, can improve your mood, and improve your natural physical and mental health.
Poor sleep and cutting corners in sleep increases our challenges, makes us feel groggy, grumpy, fatigued, and can have a negative impact on our mental health.
Improving your sleep, can improve your mood, and improve your natural physical and mental health
Researchers think that poor sleep is linked to depression, anxiety, and a number of mental health disorders.
Due to the constant access we have to screens, it can be hard to switch them off before we go to bed, but spending as little as 30 minutes without your screen before you plan to fall asleep can greatly improve your sleep.
Overthinking is a habit that many of us are guilty of, and most may not even realise they do it.
Overanalysing could refer to paying too much attention to opportunities we have not taken and feelings of regret or finding ourselves anxious and worrying about future tasks that we have not completed; bills we haven’t paid and relationships that we need to work on.
These sorts of thoughts can really impact mental health and heighten the anxiety we feel on a day-to-day basis.
overthinking is one of the hardest habits to change
However, overthinking is one of the hardest habits to change. My advice is to write your thoughts down in a journal, or even on your phone.
This will help you to rationalise your thoughts and prevent them from getting overly destructive.
Alternatively, put on your favourite song and sing-along to the lyrics and then your focus will be on the music, not your thoughts.
#4 Lack of exercise
Another habit that many people do not think is affecting our mental health is poor exercise or lack of exercise.
We know that regular exercise may ease depression by releasing endorphins and feel-good chemicals, suppressing the immune chemicals that worsen depression. Many people think exercise is just for physical health.
However, it has positive effects on mental health too, so the lack of it is likely to have a negative impact on mental health.
Many people think exercise is just for physical health
Dedicating just a small part of your day to exercise can be incredibly beneficial for your mental health.
If you are not sure where to start or are looking to switch up your fitness regime, fitness apps like Freeletics offer workouts that are suitable for any age and fitness level, with a wide range of training journeys to suit your goals and lifestyle.
#5 Being negative
Another habit that many of us have, which may be harming our mental health, is constantly complaining, and looking at the glass as half empty instead of half full.
Perception can be changed by a number of things, such as things we watch, like the news, how we consume media and things we read.
Wake up with gratitude and see for yourself the positive effects on your mental health, rather than constant complaining.
looking at the glass as half empty instead of half full
Being grateful for all of life’s blessings, like food and relationships are likely to ease your anxiety and ease depression.
Complaining and thinking of negative things and worrying about the past and the future is likely to have a negative impact on your mental health. And this is something that many of us do all the time without even knowing it.
Dr Emeka is the Brand Ambassador of the AI-based fitness and lifestyle coaching app Freeletics.
Not only this but is also a front line worker for the NHS, while also being having an online presence.
Dr Emeka Okorocha utilises his platform as a doctor to create inspiring, educational and fun content for users that encourages them to take control of their own health.