We have habits that we’ve consciously tried to develop through practice and consistency. These are usually good habits that can positively affect our lives like exercising regularly, eating healthy or having a regular working schedule to improve productivity. But subconsciously we can develop negative mental habits without even realizing it.
There are also habits though that form without our effort, just usually something that happens because of influence, our nature or experiences. Some of these are good habits like always being on time or brushing our teeth after every meal. But then there are the not so positive ones that creep on us, like nail biting or snacking when we’re nervous.
The trickier habits though are the ones that don’t have a physical manifestation and only occur in our brain. A lot of times we aren’t even aware that they are already habits. These are called mental habits.
While some mental habits are good, such as always looking forward to a positive outcome or not immediately judging others, there are negative mental habits that can also develop. And when we’re unaware of our negative mental habits, it would be challenging to curb them and they could continuously impact the way we live and our decisions.
Things to identify the onset of negative mental habits
Take a look at these eight negative habits and analyze yourself if you’ve been doing them so you can move forward and try to stop it immediately:
1 Manufacturing Problems Out of Nothing
This can happen in our professional or persona lives. At work you may view a virtually perfect project, whether it’s yours or someone else’s but find ways to spot holes no matter how small or insignificant. In our personal lives we may find ways to take what others say out of context just so we can start an argument. It’s like your brain is wired to create conflict in every situation. This keeps you from moving forward as you’re always stuck on a problem that you’ve just created in your head.
So how can you get rid of this habit? Take a step back when you start noting problems, be objective as you can be and ask if it’s really worth your time or is it a minor issue that can resolve itself? Try reading the room as well, ask others what they think. An outside objective opinion can help clear your head to see that the problem you’re stressing over is really not that big of a deal.
2 You Draw Conclusions Without Drawing Up All the Facts
There are some instances when we have to follow our instincts and make snap decisions. However, if we do this all the time we end up just drawing conclusions without knowing everything. This can be dangerous in many situations and even potentially destroy relationships. It also skews your brain so that you always conclude the worst possible outcome.
Making conclusions when you don’t have all the facts also limits your creativity and growth. You already believe something is true and nothing can change it, which means you don’t spend time to think of solutions or other options. The next time you make a conclusion without seeing all sides of the situation, step back and tell yourself not to think about it and wait for all details. Distract yourself with something else, like another task or some leisurely reading, so you’re not trying to build a picture in your head without all the necessary puzzle pieces.
3 You Believe Your Way is the Only Way
This negative mental habit can really inhibit your growth and potential in both your professional and personal life. When you automatically dismiss the opinion of others and think that only your opinion is right then you’re not letting yourself learn and grow. It can also lead you to view the world in such a narrow way as you’re only seeing it from your eyes.
Try to remember the value that other people can offer. We all have different experiences and skills and everyone has something to offer. Learn to truly listen to others and practice empathy by putting yourself in their shoes. You can discover many new things and widen your perspective if you can break this negative mental habit.
4 You Don’t Take Accountability for Your Actions
People who have this negative mental habit tend to always make excuses for their actions so that the blame falls on anything else but themselves. But if you always try to make excuses for your failures or mistakes, you will not have the chance to recognize and try to improve your shortcomings. You’re not going to grow.
The only way to curb this negative mental habit is by being truthful. It’s hard to admit when we did something wrong but when we’re over that hump, that’s the only time we can move forward and grow as people.
5 You Stick to Your Routine
We stick to our routines because it’s familiar and it’s easy. But by stubbornly sticking to our routines we find ourselves unable to adapt to change and we’re also leading a linear path down life without room for growth. When we don’t change it up every now and then, we’re missing out on the chance for better opportunities. This can be seen in businesses that refuse to adapt to the digital age and some even eventually die out or are outperformed by businesses that do.
You don’t have to completely change your routine and throw it out the window. But be open to new things and changes that happen around you. Take baby steps, maybe you’re not ready to jump into digital marketing but try reaching out to consumers on social media and work from there.
6 You Feel Envy When You See Other People Succeed
All being jealous does is allow negative emotions to fester inside you. When you’re envious you start to feel resentment, anger, frustration and despair. You can curb these negative thoughts by not comparing yourself to others. Look at your achievements as they are and not in relation to what others have achieved. Practice listing down things you should be thankful for so you’re more focused on what you already have instead of what others do.
7 You Think Just Because It’s Bad Now, It Will Be Bad in the Future
Negativity can be a self-fulfilling prophecy that’s why this is a very dangerous and destructive negative mental habit. When you’re in a bad situation it’s very tempting to wallow in self-pity. But that will cause you to get stuck and not be able to move forward.
Try to think of the smallest positive thing and hang onto it. So you’ve had a bad work experience, but you had a good lunch. Cling to that positive feeling as it lets you know that things will get better. This would allow you to focus on moving forward and come up with solutions to better your situation.
8 You’re Always In Your Head
We may have the best, most innovative and genius ideas but if you don’t take action, then nothing will come of it. Thinking is great, but thinking too much can bar us from taking action. Overthinking things can also lead us to develop fears and worries that are simply not worth our time.
If you’ve having a problem putting thoughts into action, find support. Talk with friends, family, or even a professional mentor or coach. Just the process of voicing out your thoughts is already an action, you’re putting an idea out there and the next move is taking steps to turn an idea into reality.
Negative mental habits can hold us back from achieving success and growing as people. That’s why it’s important to recognize these habits and work hard to curb them so we can move forward.
negative mental habits