8 Tiny Habits That Make You Mentally Weaker

Small decisions can make all the difference.

Habits that make you mentally weaker izusek | Canva

It is truly a marvel how we ended up in the position that we’re in right now. While there are good and bad things about our current lives and the world overall, how this all came to be began with the small decisions that we make every single day.

Maybe less so about what shirt we put on or what we had for breakfast, but some of the smaller decisions that culminated into something bigger than ourselves. The decisions that formed our beliefs, the experiences we have had in our lives, and the views we have of those experiences. All of these things created our mentality and that is what pushes us to further develop over our lifetimes.


The self-help industry has made a point of talking about this aspect time and time again through various means. They talk about life overall and how people aren’t living their best lives. That they could have more if they did certain things.

While I disagree with some of the methods or preying tactics they use, they do have a point about this. Even though every person is going to be facing some negativity or bad aspect or area to improve, people’s own mentality is to look at that and do one of many of these habits below. These habits are understandable, but they do weaken one from further challenges in life. They become weaker all around and are unable to thrive.


I’m of the mind that everyone can make it in their own way. Every person’s needs are all different and I don’t believe that many have to suffer in order for a handful to thrive. In order to make that change in one’s life begins with outgrowing the bad habits that one has. If you have any of the habits listed below, I would suggest following my insights and tips on breaking free from that habit.

Here are 8 tiny habits making you mentally weaker:

1. Trying to control everything around you.

Living with my roommate can be difficult at times. We occasionally butt heads over things and him being the way that he is, wants to win arguments. To be fair, he has sound arguments. But put into practice they don’t always work.

Case in point: how we did the dishes, by his instructions, was more frustrating for me than actually helpful. It all started with him iterating multiple times that he “didn’t mind doing them” so long as I took the dried dishes out before the dirty ones piled up. This effectively implied to me that I shouldn’t do the dishes and instead do this specific task and only that task. As it turns out, I don’t like that. I also know there’s no point in arguing with him because again, he likes to win.

My whole point is that he is trying to control a particular aspect of his life and that is not working. I’ve started to do dishes again and I’ve asked him a few times to take dishes that are dried out of the sink (with me doing the same on occasion).


Life is similar to this whole situation. The sequence that we had before where both I and my roommate just did them regardless of being told worked just fine. The moment we started to assign specific roles to who should be doing what with dish duty, everything went to shambles. Or at least I got really frustrated and stopped caring about the roles. It’s dishes.

We’re all justified in caring about the things that are happening around us in our lives and to us. It’s our lives after all. But things begin to get messier when you begin to care too much about these things and try to control them. Trying to put mental energy into “manifesting” a good life is a waste of time. Instead, figure out what you need to do and get it done.  As soon as you give up control over certain things, you’ll begin to focus your attention on the things you care about and want to work on.

RELATED: Why You Need To Let Go Of The Things You Cannot Change

2. Being too negative.

Negativity does have a place in our lives. It’s a strong anchor to keep us grounded and real about the situations in our lives and where we’re going. It’s important to have good vibes, but not to get in over our heads and think we’re invincible or will always have our way all the time. Life doesn’t work that way. 


All that being said, too much negativity can be a huge hindrance to ourselves. If a situation is dire or not as ideal, it’s important to find some silver lining in it. A means to an end. Wallowing in that negative situation in a more extreme negative way only results in us shutting ourselves out and missing out on something that could change our lives for the better.

A common example is a bad job. Even though the job sucks, it at least is something helpful in that it gets you out of a financial bind. Even if you’d prefer better options, a negative experience can still provide some level of breathing room. Enough to spur one on to improve their situation further under these new conditions.

3. Struggling to express yourself.

To express yourself, you must know yourself. And, unfortunately, people don’t really know themselves. To change that around, it’s a matter of dwelling on yourself in self-reflection and having genuine intentions to get to know yourself rather than sitting there and meditating. 


Beyond that, expressing yourself often leads to capitulating to other people’s demands or being guided by other people rather than yourself. To be clear, getting advice, guidance, and perspective on things is good. There are always going to be people who will inspire us towards certain directions in our lives. However, those sources shouldn’t be the primary source for you to do something.

I routinely tell people I’m a writer and they look at me with so much wonder. Perhaps my work has inspired people to start writing themselves. All of that is good, but I make a point of not forcing someone to go into writing. Writing is tough. Being consistent and carving out your niche and growing an audience is tough. If someone makes that leap, that is their decision to make. 

It’s important to look at your pursuits in this fashion too. Are you doing something genuinely because it’s something you must do? Or is it something that others are pushing you to do?

RELATED: 4 Tiny Habits That Will Make You More Self-Aware Than 99% Of People


4. Not focusing enough on your goals.

In other words, avoiding challenges. Challenges are engaging and give our lives purpose and meaning.  Even if you’re in a bit of a rough patch, sometimes your journey has to lead to that in order for you to achieve your goal. Not every goal is structured in a precise way after all. All of our lives are different and we make different decisions every day and every moment.

However, what should be constant throughout all of us is our drive to achieve goals. I’m not saying we need to be constantly hustling. But we should have our eyes on something and we shouldn’t be looking away from it. Losing focus on one’s goal is difficult to determine at times. Someone hustling towards their dreams and ambitions could still be not focusing enough on their goals.

A good example of this was when I first started getting into YouTube. These days, I have a mental plan for what I want to accomplish. When I first started, there was no plan or structure. Put out a video every weekday was about it. It didn’t work. Once I started to run out of ideas to talk about, I struggled to come up with topics. I lost focus and stopped recording altogether. In some cases, I deleted the channel.

Having focus doesn’t just mean dedication to the craft. It’s having a plan, and reasons to keep going. There is more to focus than simply “getting into a flow state”.


5. Worrying all the time.

Worry breaks our focus but it also makes us spend energy on things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Like my roommate and the dishes, his worry turned into a controlling behavior and a new arrangement for how to do this household chore. It’s totally justifiable to worry about things. But often the ideas and thoughts that come from that make matters worse. They don’t address the problem or the demands are too bizarre or ineffective. Whether it’s dishes or something bigger and more significant in your life, excessive worry doesn’t help all that much. 

Unlike regular worry, which can motivate you to take action, excessive worrying can lead to a lot of paralysis and sometimes regression. Some things can’t be done slowly and conservatively. And worrying about whether things will turn out alright should inspire you to make sure you take action to prevent the worst-case scenario.

RELATED: How To Stop Obsessing Over What Scares You — A Therapist's 4-Step Plan

6. Constantly seeking validation.

We all seek validation. I write articles for the sole purpose of having my ideas and thoughts heard and validated by you the reader. All of our acts involve some form of validation. Where it becomes unhealthy is when you need constant approval from people. That the acts and decisions that you make in your life are always approved by particular people or groups.


Seeking approval at every turn from an individual or a group leads to a one-sided life of servitude. You become less of who you are if you’re always seeking someone’s approval or validation. Meanwhile, you become more of who you are meant to be when you break free from that. When you know that some of your decisions aren’t going to be approved by people all the time.

It hurts of course. But the mental sting will pass and being more independent, authentic, and genuine is more important. Mentally prepare yourself and work to slowly distance yourself from those who you are seeking approval for and hopefully form a healthier relationship between you and them.

7. Letting fear guide your decisions.

Like any other form of negativity, there is definitely a use-case for any negative emotion. Fear is included in that as it’s closely related to worry. Fear can jump us into action to prevent bad things from happening overall. But too much fear, similar to excessive worry, can result in us veering off and spiraling out of control. Fear of failure can result in us never taking risks. Fear of uncertainty can make us clamp up about key decisions or struggle to figure out where to go from there.


Fear is always going to be constant throughout our lives. We can’t purge it. But we can mitigate its impact and prepare. Fear of failure can culminate in putting together more of a solid plan. Fear of uncertainty can lead to us mentally preparing ourselves by going for a walk or talking to a friend.

Yes, fear is steering us in that sense, but there is a difference between looking at fear and responding to it by saying “What can I do to mitigate the damage” versus “Fear, take the wheel.” Fear is a poor driver, but makes for a decent co-pilot.

8. Suppressing your emotions.

Finishing off with a pretty obvious one but any emotions suppressed leads to emotions messing you up in a bad way. Negative emotions especially as I’m sure you know. We’re all a mixture of emotions and it’s key that we express ourselves fully and that we can do so in a healthy manner. When we’re positive and happy, we should be able to share that with other people. When we’re negative and down, we should be able to share those too so we can pick ourselves back up.

Finding healthy mediums to do that is everything. If you don’t have enough people to share good news with, expand your network. Get to know other people and form bonds with them. Those people will likely be cool with shouldering burdens too after some time. Life is meant to be shared and that means being able to share your emotions with others.


RELATED: How Your Life Will Change When You Stop Suppressing Your Feelings

Eric S. Burdon is a self-help writer and guru offering self-help advice for those who dislike self-help advice. He's a regular contributor on Medium and has recently started to post videos on his YouTube channel.