We all make choices throughout the day that impact our mental health. Social media, exercise, diet, and even the way we walk have a direct effect on wellbeing. Fortunately behaviors can be changed. Here are six common mental health mistakes that many of us make and some suggested solutions to minimize mental stress in your life.
Common Mistake 1:
A study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found when subjects walk with shoulders slouched, hunched over with minimal movements they experienced worse moods than people who walked with a little more pep in their step. The study also found that individuals who walked with a slouch remember more negative things than positive things.
Solution: So what you should do is lift your chin up, roll your shoulders back and keep your outlook on the positive side.
Common Mistake 2:
According to a study published in Psychological Science, snapping pictures may hamper how you remember moments. Individuals participating in the study had a more difficult time remembering the items they photographed versus the ones they looked at.
Solution: Sit back and enjoy yourself, not everything needs to be updated to Instagram or Facebook. Soak up the beauty and participate in the action.
Common Mistake 3:
A recent study conducted in JAMA Network psychiatry reports that if an individual becomes more active three times a week the risk of being depressed decreases by 19 percent. There is a correlation between physical activity and depression.
Solution: Get out and move. Do not focus on the duration. Any activity that will keep you moving qualifies. For example –choose to take the stairs, park farther away and walk to your destination, select an activity that will give you extra steps or movement.
Common Mistake 4:
A majority of adults are guilty of multitasking- I myself am guilty of this. We take work lunches or scroll through Facebook while watching TV. Research shows that although many people believe that multitasking is more productive, that is not the actual case. It just temporarily leaves the stress out. We become oblivious to our surroundings and are unable to effectively communicate.
Solution: The simple solution- put down the phone, turn off the TV, schedule a lunch break, pay attention to the moment and focus on the present. Allow your brain an opportunity to process everything that is taking place in the real time.
Common Mistake 5:
If you primarily use texting, Facebook, snap chat or other social media to stay in touch with your friends, you are not having meaningful contact. “Talking” through electronic devices is not engaging in true conversations. It reduces an individual’s ability to truly understand another and it minimizes our feelings. Personal electronics have impacted attention, demands for immediate gratification and expectations that hitting send or submit results is an immediate connection with another. Having only virtual conversations has reduced the ability to have face-to –face connections and negative social interaction is the result.
Solution: At the end of our life the amount of “friends” or “followers” will not matter. Friends will and connection with family does. Make sure to schedule a date with a friend, family member or partner. Have a “no electronics” day, or at least ½ day once per week.
Common Mistake 6:
Sleep affects everything we do...from how we feel to how we interact with others. Sleep is our bodies and minds way of regenerating.
Solution: Try to figure out why you are not sleeping and then take the necessary, safe steps to create a restful night of sleep. Suggestions include developing a routine and stopping electronics (smart phones, tablets, computers) one hour prior to sleep time.
Hopefully if you are feeling some of life’s stresses you will take time to try one of these solutions. Be sure to connect to life and enjoy the people and events that surround you on a daily basis.