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3 Bad Habits Affecting Your Mental Health

Updated: May 20

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I dedicate the blog post to all of the millions of people suffering from mental health issues and everyone who overcame their mental health challenges.

Have you ever been depressed for a significant amount of time? Have you ever had panic attacks? Do you often suffer with insomnia? Is your stress and worry level off the charts?

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, it is highly advised that you seek help before something catastrophic happens that you cannot manage. Here are 3 signs that you need to set up an appointment to speak to a mental health professional as soon as possible.

1) Lack of Sleep

Sleep is a source of physical and emotional resilience. By providing your brain and body an opportunity to recover from the difficulties of the previous day, sleep helps you rise to the challenges of tomorrow. Losing sleep for one or two nights can make you feel groggy, grumpy, and out of focus, but a habit of poor sleep can wreak havoc on your mental health.

Research shows people with mental health problems tend to sleep poorly. The Sleep Health Foundation reports that 60 to 90 percent of patients with depression also have insomnia. More than half of all insomnia cases are associated with depression, anxiety, or psychological stress, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Now researchers think poor sleep can result in mental health problems, according to Harvard Mental Health Letter published by Harvard Medical School, and that treating the sleep disorder can help relieve mental health symptoms.

2) Lack of Exercise

I cannot stress enough how important physical exercise is to your mental health. A new study suggests moderate exercise is not just good for your body but improves mental health as well. Researchers concluded this after analyzing the responses of 1.2 million adults who participated in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey. Without a doubt,

physical activity improves mental health. The study, which appeared in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet Psychiatry, examined survey results from 2011, 2013 and 2015. Researchers found that, on average, a person has 3.4 poor mental health days per month. But among those who exercise, the number of poor mental health days dropped by more than 40 percent. Exercise may change the way the brain functions, which could account for the decrease in depression or anxiety.The study describes “poor mental health” as:

  • Stress

  • Depression

  • Emotional concerns

Mood-altering benefits of exercise

After analyzing the results, researchers concluded that three to five 45-minute exercise sessions a week delivered optimal mental health benefits.

3) Regret

Regret is another emotional state that is healthy only in small doses. Everyone has some regrets in life – not marrying someone, taking a job, buying a car – but regret should not be a daily habit.

Many Americans seem to have a habit of regret. Research cited by Psychology Today says that regret is more common in cultures where people have greater control over their life choices.

With daily practice, regret can turn into lifelong rumination over what could have been. A habit of regret can lead to depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating. Results from a study by Concordia University suggest regret can even negatively affect physical health.

As for me, I've suffered with bad habits such as holding onto regrets, having poor sleep habits, and stopping my exercise routine for too long. I can honestly say that getting a good's night sleep, exercising, and letting go of old regrets has freed me. There is a caveat: You must replace bad habits with good habits. You can never get rid of old habits unless you replace them with good ones. I dare you to try it!

Here I am purposely engaged in living an inspired life!


Rachel Mason

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