Research Reveals 7 Familiar Ways We Sabotage Our Own Mental Health

There are many things that can affect our mentality They could be rooted in our schedules or personalities, causing stress, pain, depression, and anxiety. Here are seven ways we sabotage our mental health in our daily lives.

Avoiding exercise

A lack of exercise makes our bodies softer and worsens depression and anxiety symptoms. Exercise has been linked to mood improvement, increased calmness, and mind stabilization. According to Sarah Gingell, Ph.D, for Psychology Today, “Depending on the activity, people may benefit from calming exercises, be energized, and get outside or interact with others, all of which are known to improve mood and general health.”

Not getting enough sleep

Being an insomniac or not getting the recommended amount of sleep will cause a mental health dive, increasing our susceptibility of developing depression and anxiety. According to a study published in the journal Sleep, “People with insomnia had greater depression and anxiety levels than people not having insomnia and were 9.82 and 17.35 times as likely to have clinically significant depression and anxiety, respectively.”


Over-thinking makes the mind tumble endlessly about decisions and past mistakes, causing mental tension, stress, and depression. Over time, overthinking can lead to increased anxiety and insomnia, which put a hamper on mental health. According to Tanya J. Peterson, MS. NCC, “Overthinking everything makes us both tired and wired…we are often left feeling physically and emotionally unwell.”

Suppressing anger

Suppressing emotions like anger can destroy mental stability and worsen anxiety and depression symptoms. According to the Austin Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, “Individuals who self-report greater habitual use of suppression experience more negative emotions, fewer positive emotions, and endorse a greater number and severity of symptoms associated with various psychopathologies, compared to individuals who self-report lesser habitual use of suppression.”

Being pessimistic

Pessimism can cause or worsen depression, nihilism, and anxiety symptoms. According to a study published in the journal Experimental Neurobiology, “Pessimism and worry about the uncertain future contain significant elements of fear, anxiety and stress – emotions that are mediated primarily by neural circuits within the RH (Right Hemisphere).”


Working long hours or giving ourselves more work than we can handle can put strain on our mental health, making our anxiety, stress, and depression worse. According to a study published in the Journal Occupational Medicine, “Our study found significantly higher anxiety and depression symptom scores in respondents reporting long working hours compared with those reporting regular hours.” If we continue to overwork ourselves, we’ll experience burnout, a state of physical and emotional exhaustion that further ruins mental health.

Being a perfectionist

Being perfectionistic can help us reach goals and achieve success in work and in our personal lives. However, being perfectionists who expect everything in life to be perfect – including ourselves – sets us up for increased depression and anxiety symptoms. According to Owen Kelly, Ph.D of the online medical resource VeryWellMind, “Maladaptive/unhealthy perfectionism has been associated with distress, low-self esteem and symptoms of mental illness.”