Toxic Mental Habits

11 Toxic Mental Habits That Will Crush Your Well-Being

Many people have mental habits that destroy their chances for happiness or success. Keep reading to find out how to conquer them.
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You make many choices every day, and most of them are automatic. These are your mental habits. Some can be beneficial, but others will tear apart your mental health. They can make every day a struggle when it shouldn’t be.

Photo from Envato Elements
Photo from Envato Elements

“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.”

—Brian Tracy

Furthermore, a healthy mindset is necessary to become successful and happy. Luckily, there are things you can do to protect yourself.

Keep reading to discover how to conquer the following disastrous mental habits:

1. Denying your mental habits

Denying mental habits.

Denying your mental habits in hopes that they’ll disappear over time is one of the worse mental habits. While time does help to ease the pain, deep down, it still hurts because it’s not solved.

Issues get worse, and they hold you back. Furthermore, you won’t know why you aren’t making progress. Denying bad mental habits will intensify them until they destroy your mental health.

2. Rumination of mental habits


Mental habits like dwelling on negative thoughts is dangerous to your well-being and confidence. Moreover, it can trap you in a depressive cycle. Every time you think these thoughts, the more ingrained they become. You don’t want that.

So, when you can’t get something out of your head, try these tips to break free from toxic mental habits:

  • What can you learn from this to become better in the future?
  • Replace the rumination with thinking about what you’re grateful for in your life.
  • Identify the fear beneath these thoughts. What if this happened? How would you handle it?
  • Distract yourself. Call someone, exercise, listen to music, draw, play an instrument, clean, or take a walk.
  • Get rid of any items that remind you of negative things.

You can overpower these repetitive thoughts with the above steps. So, don’t let rumination take over your mind. Nothing good comes from thinking about them unless you’re learning what not to do in the future or desensitizing from them. If they keep showing up, consider talking to a therapist via Skype.

3. Disapproving of yourself


If you have a mental habit of talking down to yourself, you’re wrecking your confidence. We tend to believe our thoughts, but this is a mistake. Not all thoughts are beneficial or accurate. So, it’s wise to question them for their validity.

If you let yourself believe that you’re a failure, then good luck ever succeeding. You’ll end up self-sabotaging and excusing yourself from trying anything. Instead, encourage yourself after you think something negative.

4. Comparing yourself to others


“Don’t let the best you have done so far be the standard for the rest of your life.”

—Gustavus F. Swift

Many people look to others to determine how well they’re doing in life. If your neighbor has an Audi but you have an old car, you might feel like a failure even though that’s not true. Furthermore, they’ve probably been working for over a decade to get where they are. But you just started a few months ago.

As you can see, it doesn’t make sense to do this to yourself.

You need to realize that the person you’re comparing yourself to worked their way up from the bottom. Even if you both started on the same day, neither of you knows what it was like to be the other person. So you’re not comparable. The best thing to do is measure the progress you made from last week, month, or year.

5. Not managing your time


“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

— Stephen Covey

Watching too much TV or wasting time on social media will steal your potential. It’s okay to relax and watch a show now and then, but it’s a dream killer when it consumes all your time. You’re procrastinating on the goals that you know would improve your life. Later, you’ll feel horrible about not doing what you needed to do—further adding unnecessary stress to your life.

Whereas being productive will boost your mood and confidence. So, create a new mental habit of focusing on your goals. Write what you need to do the next day before going to bed every night. Then in the morning, get to work on that list until you finish it.

6. Submitting to Fear

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash
Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash

“Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.” —Dale Carnegie

Fear will bring your progress to a screeching halt. It will trap you in your comfort zone for a lifetime. But, it doesn’t have to because you have the power to triumph over it!

Unless what you fear can hurt you physically or make you sick, it’s best to do what scares you. Every day, push yourself a little bit towards doing what you fear.

Over time, you’ll start doing what you’ve been avoiding, and you’ll see that it wasn’t as bad as you thought. Then you do it again and again until you’ve demolished these worries. You can guarantee that you’ll also gain a healthy boost of self-respect and confidence.

7. Holding on to shame


“Tough times never last, but tough people do!”

— Robert Schuller

Feeling shame is one of the most detrimental mental habits you can have. These negative beliefs or memories will pop up when you least expect them and sabotage your goals.

Shame is not enjoyable to think about, yet we hold on to it. You don’t need to feel shameful about anything. Never let painful events from the past make you believe that you’re less worthy than anyone. Regardless of what happened or who told you otherwise, you are here for a reason.

I’m dead serious. All people are valuable and filled with the ability to make a positive difference in the world. Your pain is your power. Even though it might not feel that way, it’s true.

You can only be better or worse than your past self. Become better than yesterday, every day, and you’ll amaze yourself.

8. Refusing to let go

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Don’t hold on to things that you should release. Gripping onto the past, unused items, and negative people keeps you trapped. Unable to move on and live in joy.

We often don’t want to let go but realize that it’s the best thing we can do for ourselves. So, decide today that these thoughts are detrimental and release them. You no longer need to haul this heavy weight on your shoulders.

9. Mental habit of not forgiving

Photo by Christopher Ott on Unsplash
Photo by Christopher Ott on Unsplash

“Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries.”

— Astrid Alauda

To varying degrees, we’ve all felt betrayed by someone we trusted. I know it’s painful to the core. If it was horrible enough, you might never talk to them again, although you’re not saving yourself from further pain if you refuse to forgive them.

While it’s true, it was awful what they did; there’s no reason for you to carry this burden. It’s over, and the only way to let go of it is to forgive them in your mind. However, this doesn’t mean you agree with what happened; you’re just acknowledging that it did occur, although you will not stress about it anymore.

Everyone has experienced pain, but some project their hurtful feelings onto others. Forgive them so you can move on and be okay.

10. Staying in an unhealthy relationship


Staying in an unhealthy relationship can wreak havoc on your mental health. If your partner is verbally (or even physically) abusive and refuses to change, it’s time to make a plan of escape. Otherwise, it’ll destroy your mind or even kill you. No one is worth that!

You don’t deserve that, and only you can save yourself.

If you can’t break up with them and leave, then write down all the obstacles in your way. Then write about how to solve them. Don’t give up until you address each one. Then write out the steps you need to take to escape into freedom.

11. Regretting the past is a horrible mental habit


“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.”

—Mark Twain

Don’t dwell on what could have been. Any thought that starts with “I should of” will tear down your happiness. These thoughts are harmful to your mental health, and they accomplish nothing. The only thing you have control over is what you do now. So, when a regretful thought comes up, shut it down immediately.

There’s no use in torturing yourself, especially since you have spectacular experiences waiting for you on the horizon.


“You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, ‘I release the need for this in my life.’”

―Wayne Dyer

In short, one by one, you can eliminate the above mental habits with dedication and patience. They won’t disappear right away. So, keep working on them. Soon you’ll approve of yourself, let go of the past, and forgive so you can be free.

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What bad mental habits will you overcome?

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  1. Sheryl,

    Thank you for another amazing article! My favorite part is…”The best thing to do is to measure the progress you made from last week, month, or year.”

    I am a firm believer in tracking progress along the path toward success. In my experience, progress builds upon itself, creating a compounding effect.

    Looking forward to next week’s topic! Keep on rockin’ this blog like we know you will 🙂


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