Mental habits are often established over time. Thus, you often don’t even know that you have these habits and how they can mess up your life without you realizing that.

Here are some of the key mental habits that harm your life – and what to do about them!

1. Listening to self-doubt

Your inner critic is not a nice person; they never are. Whilst we all experience self-doubt at times, allowing yourself to be constantly in a battle with your psyche is one of the worst habits for your mental health.

Giving airtime to your self-doubt reinforces those feelings and can make you second-guess and question yourself constantly. This saps your ability to progress, move forward and succeed. You can become locked in a circular battle of wills – with yourself.

To combat this, try making a list of things you like about yourself. Reinforce your appreciation of your skills, achievements, and successes. Every time you experience self-doubt, remind yourself of every reason you have to believe in yourself and use them to eliminate the self-doubt that is holding you back.

2. Seeking constant approval

Doing things for the approval of others is another one of the terrible habits we can fall foul of and can mess up your life and mental health significantly. Paying attention to what other people expect from you means side-lining your dreams and wishes. It often results in going down pathways which were never right for you.

Remember that you cannot control other people. The only thing you do have control over is yourself. By trying to gauge your actions based on being rewarded with approval is likely to make you second-guess your choices.

Even the words you choose can be affected by seeking constant approval! Try to remember that for all the time you are trying to cater to the expectations of people around you, you are forgetting your own. Be clear with yourself about what you want, and then pursue it for all you are worth.

3. Being dramatic

It is easy to exaggerate from time to time, particularly if you feel frustrated or excited about something! However, this mental habit can mean you lose the respect of your friends who are less likely to take you seriously when something big does happen.

Do people tend to roll their eyes when you start telling a story? You probably have one of these mental habits. If you tend to suffer from anxiety or stress when considering the future, you may be focusing on every worst possible scenario, rather then concentrating on the positives.

Try using positive mantras to pinpoint your focus on all the possible things that might go right, instead of being dramatic about all the things that could potentially go wrong.

The sky isn’t falling and, if you don’t keep expecting it to, it never will.

4. Worrying about things outside of your control

Worry is one of those mental habits that can be hard to break. Everybody will have genuine things to worry about from time to time, but allowing them to become the norm is a bad mental habit.

Suffering from anxiety and overthinking can mess up your life by having a constant negative affect. What other people think is not something you can control, and creating stress around something like this is bad for your mental health and relationships.

Try sharpening your attention on those things you can control; your actions, behavior and the language you use to talk with yourself. Once you have a firm grasp of those factors you can influence, the ones you cannot become less of an issue.

5. Feeling guilty

Another emotion that we all experience now and then, guilt can become a mental habit that is ingrained in your personality. Guilt does not change anything that has happened but allows negative problems and thoughts to weigh heavily on your mind.

If you have a good reason to feel guilty, try making amends and apologizing to those you have hurt. Once you have made all the reparations you can, it is time to move on.

6. Keeping score

A common and very dangerous one of the common mental habits in the modern age is keeping score. Often this stems from social media and a desire to perform, achieve, and appear to be ‘more’ than other people.

Numbers are not indicative of anything other than their size. They also do not grasp qualitative criteria that have no bearing on a score. Being happy is not something that can be reflected in a number, and nor is being at peace with yourself.

Let the numbers go – they are not all that important.

7. Making yourself responsible for others

Making yourself responsible for others is a mental habit that can cause a tide of negativity. When you take responsibility for things that other people do, you create a burden on your shoulders that you cannot influence, since these things are outside of your control.

Remember what you are responsible for, and take ownership of that instead.

8. Carrying a grudge

Forgiveness can be very hard, especially when someone has upset or hurt you. However, carrying a grudge causes you more damage than it does to the other person and does not allow you to move on from the situation.

You do not necessarily need to forget, but to forgive is a powerful tool as it allows you to mentally move away from whatever has happened. Forgive someone, even if it is difficult; your subconscious will thank you for it.


  2. Psychology Today

Copyright © 2012-2024 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

power of misfits book banner mobile

Like what you are reading? Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss new thought-provoking articles!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Don

    This list is most difficult to take care of when other people become your problem. There are those who say there is always a choice, but there are times when you feel there really isn’t. Mental habits 4,5,and 7 I believe to be the worst to deal with. All three of these seem to come into play once allow yourself to become responsible for others – and this when you had no responsibility to begin with. Sometimes you just can’t walk away. I don’t even know if its a strength or weakness.

  2. Zainab

    I really find it hard to forgive because i get made fun of at school,i feel it is pointless to forgive when you will get bullied again and again.i also find it hard to stop overthinking and self-doubt feels like a permanent personality trait that i can never be able to change.some habits are just really hard to break.

  3. Mr Wayne Huntingford

    One can never go back to the past … Yet … Tomorrow is the future. And no one can predict what will happen … Yet … So live today as the present, because that’s exactly what it is. A present … !

Leave a Reply