5 Common (But Seriously Unhealthy) Psychological Habits That Hold People Back In Life

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Understanding our psychological behavior is essential to establishing better emotional well-being. It's something we may all struggle with on the daily and some of us may not even notice we have some real self-sabotaging psychological ticks.

Guy Winch, a clinical psychologist, shed some light on very common — but unhealthy — psychological habits that many of us have and just what is so unhealthy about them.

RELATED: 8 Ways To Break Bad Habits That Interfere With Your Life & Career

5 Common But Unhealthy Psychological Habits And The Damage They Can Do

1. Being self-critical when our self-esteem is already low

Falling into the trap of self-criticism is not uncommon. For most of us, we have dealt with low self-esteem issues at one point or another.

It is suggested that a critical upbringing or experiences of poor academic performance can be the cause of low self-esteem in childhood.

The fallout of low self-esteem extends far beyond small hurdles, intertwining with bigger issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, social phobia, attention deficiency disorder, and substance abuse.

If that isn’t bad enough, persistent self-criticism can cause individuals to experience constant cycles of sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, and guilt.

All of these can hinder people’s ability to try new things, maintain relationships, practice self-care, and face judgment from others.

2. Psyching ourselves out after failure

Negative self-talk, a seemingly harmless habit, can destroy our self-esteem, confidence, empowerment, motivation, and competence.

So why it is so common to hear people speak so negatively about themselves? Probably because we have heard others speak negatively about themselves — we assume that it’s normal and even okay to do so.

Even just uttering phrases such as, “I’m so stupid,” can reinforce a negative self-perception.

And that can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, where your actions end up aligning with your negative beliefs!

3. Pushing people away when we feel lonely

Loneliness has emerged as a huge issue, even manifesting as an epidemic here in the United States.

Looking into the connection between loneliness and isolation reveals an interesting relationship dynamic. Stress and anxiety, especially in social contexts, intensify feelings of loneliness, propelling individuals toward self-imposed isolation.

While isolation seems like a personal choice, it is important to understand how it can impact individuals in the long run.

Loneliness triggers a physiological response, which can push individuals into fight-or-flight mode.

If that doesn’t concern you enough, the repercussions of loneliness can also physically effect you, extending to muscle tension, digestive problems, disruptive sleep, and even chest pain.

This is why spending time with your loved ones and forming new connections is key! Although it may not seem like a huge deal, loneliness can pack a bigger punch than we realize.

RELATED: The 7 Types Of Loneliness (And Why It Matters)

4. Indulging the urge to brood and ruminate

Having the ability to reflect is a commendable quality as it allows us to learn and grow from our experiences. But, perhaps there is such a thing as too much reflection.

According to research, ruminating can potentially be a hazard to our mental health.

Excessive rumination can lead to anxiety and depression—especially among children.

That's why it’s crucial to strike a healthy balance in the way we reflect on our experiences. It’s important for maintaining good mental health and well-being.

5. Distancing ourselves when we feel guilty instead of repairing the relationship

Guilt is a common human emotion we have all felt at one point in our lives — be it from stealing a cookie out of the cookie jar or yelling at a loved one — we have all felt this bitter emotion. But for some, guilt just isn’t enough to apologize for wrongdoings.

Some individuals may believe that they don’t have a reason to apologize. Or perhaps they are too proud to admit they were wrong.

Regardless of the reasoning, not apologizing can, “render a person less open to constructive feedback, thus limiting growth and innovation.”

If this just isn’t enough to convince you, then let’s take a look at the positive side of apologizing. When we apologize, there are a few things that can happen.

The most powerful are shedding shame, maintaining self-respect, fostering emotional connections, encouraging vulnerability and intimacy, and avoiding repeating harmful actions.

By understanding these unhealthy psychological habits, we can develop a more resilient and adaptive mindset. Additionally, recognizing the consequences of these behaviors can help individuals become armed with strategies to break free from these detrimental patterns.

RELATED: 7 Easy Ways To Build Up Your Self-Esteem Right Now

Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career and family topics.