4 Daily Habits That Destroy Your Mental Health

4 Daily Habits That Destroy Your Mental Health

Our daily routines and behaviors shape mental health and well-being. Unfortunately, many daily habits can negatively impact our psychological functioning if left unchecked. Practices like obsessively consuming negative news, not getting enough sleep, isolation, and eating poorly erode mental health over time. The good news is we can cultivate habits that enrich our mood, outlook, and resilience. By raising awareness of how certain lifestyles undermine mental wellness, we can modify our daily practices and design our days intentionally to support emotional health.

This article will explore how typical behaviors like doomscrolling, sleep deprivation, loneliness, and nutritional deficiencies can diminish mental health and offer actionable solutions to foster well-being instead. Simple tweaks to daily habits can profoundly influence our experience of life. With consciousness and commitment, we can transform behaviors that erode wellness into ones that empower us to thrive, even in difficult times.

1. Doomscrolling Erodes Mental Health

‘Doomscrolling’ refers to the tendency to continuously consume negative news and social media, exposing ourselves to a steady stream of fear, anxiety, and depression-triggering information. The constant barrage of stressful stimuli floods the brain with cortisol and emotionally drains us.

Limit time spent monitoring current events to a set duration. Schedule social media usage and take regular breaks. Follow positive accounts that bring you joy, not outrage. Unplug and try calming activities like reading, crafting, or spending time in nature. Consciously shifting focus protects mental health.

Katie found herself spending over two hours a night doomscrolling. She deleted stressful apps from her phone and chose an uplifting book to read instead. Her mood improved from avoiding the daily vortex of negativity.

2. Poor Sleep Sabotages Psychological Health

Lack of adequate, quality sleep prevents the brain from resting and restoring itself each night. Ongoing sleep deprivation degrades cognitive function, emotional regulation, and judgment. Research shows insufficient sleep increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide.

Adults need 7-9 hours nightly, so commit to a consistent sleep schedule. Avoid screen time, large meals, and stimulating activities before bed. Make your bedroom calm, dark, and quiet. Address any sleep disorders. Prioritizing sleep enhances mental health.

James struggled with insomnia, which worsened his anxiety. He started going to bed an hour earlier without his phone, using blackout curtains, and taking melatonin. Getting 7+ hours of deep sleep left him feeling calmer and more focused during the day.

 3. Isolation Erodes Emotional Health

Humans are wired for social connection. Prolonged isolation changes brain chemistry and undermines emotional well-being. People who lack community and in-person interaction are more prone to depression, anxiety, addiction, and even dementia.

Reach out to friends proactively and make regular social commitments. Join groups related to your interests where you can bond over shared activities. Volunteer at local organizations to get involved and give back. If needed, consider getting a pet for companionship.

Sarah’s mood declined after moving to a new city with few friends nearby. She committed to hosting game nights, joined a hiking group, and signed up to walk shelter dogs. Reestablishing social ties provided emotional uplift.

4. Poor Diet Diminishes Mental Health

A diet high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats leads to inflammation, intestinal damage, and nutritional deficiencies that impact brain function, mood, and cognition. Dehydration and blood sugar spikes impair concentration.

Eat more anti-inflammatory whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and omega-3s. Cut processed carbs and boost fiber, probiotics, antioxidants, and nutrients involved in neurotransmitter synthesis, like B vitamins, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Stay well hydrated.

Mark’s daily fast food diet exacerbated his ADHD and anxiety. His doctor suggested a Mediterranean-style diet high in healthy fats, produce, and fish. The improvements in focus and mood were life-changing.

Case Study: Transforming Daily Habits to Improve Mental Health

John is a 35-year-old office worker who has struggled with anxiety and depression for years. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated his mental health challenges. He was stressed, irritable, withdrawn, and disconnected from friends and family.

John recognized that many of his daily habits contributed to his deteriorating mental state. He spent hours doomscrolling on his phone each evening, fueling his anxiety. He stayed up late working or watching TV, getting only 5-6 hours of inconsistent sleep. His busy work schedule and commute left little time for healthy social interaction. He frequently skipped meals or grabbed fast food, resulting in nutritional deficiencies.

Ready for a change, John developed a plan to modify his daily routines to support mental wellness better slowly. He limited his news consumption to 30 minutes in the morning and evening. He switched his evening screen time to uplifting activities like reading or stretching. John committed to being in bed by 10 p.m. without electronics and added blackout curtains to ensure better sleep quality.

John also joined a recreational soccer team to socialize more and get active. He ate nutritional snacks like nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits and vegetables. John cooked simple, healthy meals on Sunday for ready weekly options.

Within a few months, John saw dramatic improvements in his mental health from these lifestyle changes. His mood became much more stable and positive. He felt less anxious and more energetic. John’s self-esteem improved as he regained control over his habits and well-being. He continues to be mindful of lifestyle choices and strives for balance across the pillars of proper rest, nutrition, social connection, and stress management.

John’s experience demonstrates that optimizing daily habits and behaviors can profoundly improve mental health. Small, consistent changes in how we spend our time and care for ourselves daily add to greater resilience and emotional well-being.


Our daily habits and routines greatly influence our mental health and resilience. We compromise our emotional well-being when we succumb to doomscrolling, poor sleep, isolation, and unhealthy diets. But when we take ownership of our lifestyles and intentionally cultivate life-giving practices, we strengthen our capacity to thrive in adversity.

The key is self-awareness – recognizing unhelpful patterns that deplete our reserves. Once aware, we can challenge ourselves to shift gears and experiment with healthier alternatives that enrich our inner lives. Start with small, sustainable changes, and be patient with yourself. Over time, the compound effect of tiny tweaks transforms our days and lives.

We can develop resilient rhythms marked by rest, revitalizing relationships, and daily practices that replenish mental clarity and emotional calm. Our lifestyles shape our lives, so let us craft them wisely. Though the road ahead remains demanding, we can cultivate days that strengthen us for the journey. Our collective mental health depends on the daily choices we make. So make them with care – for yourself and each other.