Everyday things you didn’t realize are harming your mental health

Maintaining your mental health can seem like a full-time job, and it only gets harder with the more responsibilities we have. One of the reasons for this is that we take up more habits to cope, most of which we think are harmless, and we don’t have the time to interrogate their effect on us. We also largely underestimate the mind-body link!

Small, everyday things we do can have a huge impact on our mental health and can affect various other parts of our lives without our knowledge, leading us to a whirlpool of negativity that can be hard to escape. But the changes we can make are simpler than you might think.


Also referred to as doomsurfing, The New York Times’ Kevin Roose described the modern phenomenon as “falling into deep, morbid rabbit holes filled with coronavirus content, agitating myself to the point of physical discomfort, erasing any hope of a good night’s sleep.”

The protests of racial injustice and police brutality only filled our feeds more with collapse, and rightfully so in terms of the fight against racism, but individuals scrolling for hours through injustice, pain, and chaos—especially with so little positive counterpart—is harmful, to say the least.


Looking at the mirror every morning

We can’t help it, we all occasionally fall victim to bullying ourselves in the mirror. But when you start your day with how you look instead of giving yourself time to figure out how you feel and what makes you happy, your entire mood can sour. Acting how you feel instead of how you look can make a world of difference. You’ll also avoid noticing things that will stress you out for the rest of the day, you’ll forget to be self-conscious, and you’ll become kinder to yourself.


Keeping your phone volume on or buzzing

Notifications have been shown to trigger a release of dopamine, and excessive smartphone use can cause a form of addiction, as users constantly check for updates and fear missing out.


Checking your phone mindlessly

According to research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, compulsive or excessive use of a smartphone could worsen symptoms of depression, anxiety, chronic stress, and low self-esteem. It also trains you to expect instant gratification, worsens your attention span and memory, and makes it harder for us to handle thoughts organically.

Scheduling too much

Overwhelming your days has become linked with a “productive” lifestyle, but it can actually harm your productivity. It mentally and physically fatigues you, making it harder to do what you need to because you’re not functioning at full capacity.

Eating lunch at your desk

Work can be stressful and eating lunch at your desk might seem like the only option, but it can actually worsen the stress. Without taking a distinct break, your body and mind don’t have time to replenish themselves, leading to higher levels of burnout and fatigue, and actually reducing your productivity.

Being indoors too much

A lack of sunlight and vitamin D have been directly linked to depressive symptoms, so make sure you’re getting outside to soak in the mood-boosting rays.

Exercising too much or in bad form

Of course, there is an extreme to every good thing, and exercising to the point of exhaustion or in bad form can add a physical and mental strain. Don’t overwork your body and mind at the gym just because you overworked your body and mind sitting at a desk all day!


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