This 1 Surprising Everyday Habit Is Totally Destroying Your Mental Health

Nobody wants to be stressed. In fact, most of us go out of our way to do things that won’t send us into fits of anxiety. But you may be surprised to learn that many everyday habits and rituals that you take part in are stressing you out to the point that your overall health is affected. Here are the commonplace stressors (with one in particular) that are negatively impacting your mental health.

Waking up to an alarm

A woman turns off an alarm clock while falling back asleep.

Hitting the snooze button is disrupting your sleep routine. | AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images

How could this be? Everyone wakes up to an alarm, don’t they? Believe it or not, your alarm is doing more than just interrupting awesome dreams. The disturbance in your sleep knocks your biological clock out of whack, and alters your circadian rhythm and mental alertness a great deal.

Sitting in traffic on your morning commute

Heavy traffic clogs a freeway.

Sitting in traffic isn’t just annoying — it can mess with your health. | Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Bumper-to-bumper traffic does more than just make you late for work — it impacts your mental health. Time tells us that sitting in a jam reportedly raises your risk of anxiety, which can manifest into depression. It has also been found that people with longer commutes have lower quality sleep.

Eating on the go

A woman sits and eats while using her laptop.

Are you still answering emails while scarfing down your lunch? | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Sometimes we can’t help it, and have to munch on something on the run. Unfortunately, this everyday rush to shovel food down our throats is affecting our mental state. Research shows that eating on the go is not as physically satisfying, so our brain doesn’t readily register that we’re full. This can lead to over-eating, as you end up hungry again in a shorter period of time.

Never putting your phone down

A woman looks down at her phone while sitting with a guest.

Take some time away from your phone. | Innovatedcaptures/iStock/Getty Images

We’re all guilty of picking up our smartphones and checking them when we don’t need to. Sadly, all that extra phone use has a negative impact on your hearing and eyesight, and can reportedly make symptoms of anxiety much worse. To make matters worse, children who are constantly on smartphones are reportedly at a higher risk of developing mental and behavioral problems.

The habit to break: Standing in long lines at the grocery store

Couple shopping together in grocery store.

There’s a reason why you get irked by long grocery lines. | Gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Those long lines to buy milk and eggs do more than just put stress on your legs and back. The under-stimulation and boredom that come with standing in lines for long periods of time triggers anxiety in your brain. This is because boredom allows your mind to wander and focus on negative aspects of your life. When you’re in those long lines, bringing a crossword puzzle or reading a magazine isn’t a bad idea.

Watching TV while you eat dinner

Overhead view of a group of friends having a meal at a restaurant. They are eating burgers and fish with chips.

Eating meals with other people is more fun anyway. | iDGLimages/iStock/Getty Images

This kind of follows the same pattern as eating on the go. Focusing more on the TV screen than the food in front of you leads to “distracted eating” which leaves you less satisfied with your meal. And if your brain doesn’t register that you’ve eaten, you end up overeating later on.

Watching TV before you go to bed

Woman with remote control laying down.

Watching TV before bed can get you wired. | Manaemedia/iSock/Getty Images

Most of us catch our favorite show right before bed time. (That’s when the best shows are on, after all.) But trying to hit the hay immediately after staring at the tube hurts your mental state. The artificial light for your television or computer screen affects your circadian rhythm and can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. And if you are doing this on top of waking up to an alarm, your sleep cycle is definitely out of sync.