One in five adults in the U.S will experience some sort of mental health problem in their lives; this equates to a massive 47.6 million people. Even more worryingly, one in 25 Americans will suffer from a serious mental health illness during their lifetime.
Therefore, it is vital that you know how to recognize the signs of poor mental health as well as knowing what habits you could unwittingly be carrying out that could have a detrimental effect on your mental wellbeing.
You may be shocked to see what features on the below list of self-sabotaging habits from excessive exercising to obsessing about your diet. Keep reading to find out more.
You are letting yourself be bullied
You may think that bullying only occurs in the school playground. However, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, 35% of American employees have experienced workplace bullying which equates to a massive 54 million workers.
From being belittled to being treated differently from other employees, there are many signs to look out for that could indicate that you have become a victim of workplace bullying.
Of course, any act of bullying can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Therefore, it is vital that if feel like you are being targeted that you speak to your doctor, document all bullying incidents and approach your employer.
It can also be helpful to identify what situations trigger your stress levels when you are at work so that you can look into ways to avoiding these, as well as working out what work situations make you feel happy. According to Hiscox, millennials feel more stressed at work than other generations, with more than 28% stating that stress was expected in their job
You are consuming too much caffeine
Although studies have shown that a moderate amount of caffeine per day can be beneficial to your health, overdoing it with this addictive stimulant can cause your anxiety levels to go through the roof.
This is because caffeine stimulates the ‘fight or flight’ response in your body which can lead to an increase in anxiety and even result in panic attacks. Therefore, if you want your mental health to be in tip-top shape, lay off the morning coffee and definitely avoid all energy drinks.
You are working out too hard
Hard to believe, especially as all health experts sing the praise of regular exercise, but pushing your body too far can be bad for your mental health.
If you often push yourself past what your body can handle or force yourself to go to the gym each and every evening, regardless of how mentally fit you feel on any particular day, you could be doing more harm than good.
Excessive exercise can cause your stress hormones, including cortisol, epinephrine, and glucagon to surge resulting in unstable moods.
Try and stick to a consistent and regular exercise routine, but do not beat yourself up if you miss one day or don’t feel up to a workout session. The key is moderation.
Your lifestyle is too sedentary
According to a recent report, one in four American adults sit for more than eight hours per day; this is a habit that can have a seriously bad effect on your mental health.
In fact, there is a direct correlation between a sedentary lifestyle and levels of anxiety with studies showing that the amount of time people spend sitting each day can help predict their overall mental health.
Of course, if you work in an office, it can be difficult to stay active throughout the day, but there are ways that you can try and sit less such as getting up to talk to a colleague rather than sending an email or asking your boss for a standing desk.
You are obsessing over your diet
Obviously, it is important that you eat a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals, but if you are starting to become obsessed by fads such as ‘clean eating’ or a particularly extreme way of eating such as becoming a ‘fruitarian’, you could be putting your mental health at risk.
How? Apart from the obvious increase in anxiety that comes with any obsession, a low-calorie diet can lead to an increase in your cortisol levels which, in turn, could lead to depression.
Always try to remember that your mental health is equally as important as your physical wellbeing and that there is no shame in admitting that you are struggling; if you do feel that your mental health is at risk, make an appointment with a healthcare professional asap.