You might be surprised to know that there are a few bad habits you’re doing nearly everyday that are pretty harmful for your health. Even more surprising? You’ve probably think these habits are helpful. In fact, you’ve probably been taught that these habits are good for you and that they help you to be successful. But I’m here to tell you otherwise. These three bad habits aren’t just unhelpful, they’re harmful for your mental health.
We’ve all been there. You come home after a long day, exhausted and frustrated. Your partner/roommate/friend asks about your day, and before thinking twice, you launch into a full rundown of all the days frustrations. Or maybe you and your work bestie leave a difficult meeting, frustrated by your boss. You spend the next five minutes venting about how annoying she is. Venting is a really common habit, and it’s easy to think it’s helpful. If something is bothering you, you should talk about it, right? Well, not exactly.
Venting is a specific kind of talking, one that typically involves focusing on the negative. You get worked up and spend an enormous amount of time, energy, and emotion venting. With each word, exasperated sigh, and slightly elevated sentence, you relive the very thing that you’re venting about. It was frustrating enough the first time, and as you vent, you’re experiencing that frustration all over again.
When you vent, you give a negative experience even more power over you. It gets even more air time in your life. It’s a tough habit to break, as words of frustration tumble out of our mouths faster than we realize. But it’s a bad habit that we’ve got to break. So what should you do instead of venting? I’m glad you asked. Here are a few of my favorite ideas.
We live in a culture where there’s too much to do in too little time. Our creative solution? Multitasking. Also known as doing several things at once in an attempt to be more productive and efficient. But it turns out, multitasking is neither of these things. In fact, multitasking is completely ineffective and pretty harmful for your health.
Our brains aren’t really built to handle multiple demands at once. Particularly not the type of demands we’re experiencing this day and age. So when you multitask, you’re asking your brain to do something it’s not wired to do. Multitasking leads to increased stress and impaired memory. It reduces your ability to focus and be present. In addition to a negative impact on mood, stress, and memory, multitasking also negatively impacts performance. You can’t do two things at once as well as you think you can.
Just because you can do two things at once doesn’t mean that it’s helpful. So challenge yourself to do one thing at a time. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes!
3. Being hard on yourself:
Would you ever talk to someone else the way you talk to yourself after making a mistake? Would you ever be as harsh and judgmental with others as you are with yourself? I’m going to guess that answer is a big, resounding, “Hell no.”
The majority of people I know and see in my practice will acknowledge being way harder with themselves than they are with others. There is a deep-seated belief that in order for us achieve, grow, and move forward in life, we need to be hard on ourselves. We need to be critical. We worry that without being hard on ourselves, we’ll grow complacent or repeat our mistakes.
But you know what? The research doesn’t support that. In fact, being self-critical is associated with decreased motivation, as well as decreased performance. Meaning, when you’re hard on yourself, you feel worse and do less in the process. It’s good to self-monitor. It’s important to hold yourself accountable and acknowledge when you make a mistake. But beating yourself up and being super self-critical? Research tells us that’s absolutely detrimental.
If you’re hard on yourself, but ready to try something different, hop on over to this video to learn the secret I swear by!
Remember, just because you’ve always done something, doesn’t mean it’s helpful. And these three bad habits are perfect examples. On the surface, they seem like great ideas. They seem totally helpful. But when we dig below the surface, they’re anything but.
Which one of these bad habits do you do the most?