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Feeling bogged down by peer pressure? Here are 5 ways in which it can affect your mental health

Published on:15 January 2021, 10:40am IST
Peer pressure can be detrimental to your mental health, because you tend to lose yourself in order to fit in or be accepted by others.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Peer pressure can make or break your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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We’ve all fallen prey to peer pressure. The only difference is that some of us got under bad influence, and a lucky few got a friend circle that always has their back. But in both cases, peers put undue pressure on us, and let’s just say it aloud, it has a negative impact on our mental health.

Peer pressure has a very powerful impact on your mind, because you want to fit into the lot. Of course, no one wants to be an outcast. You want your peers to admire, accept, and not make fun of you. To mingle well with them, you get tied to that one common thread that keeps them together. 

Just like what Rachael did in the famous sitcom Friends. When she gets a job, she finds out that her boss and colleague smoke, and make all the important decisions during that time. So, she also joins them to not get left out.  

As per literature, there are six major types of peer pressures:

1. Spoken – When the peer influences you by suggesting or persuading.
2. Unspoken – When you identify certain traits about the group.
3. Positive – These are basically positive influences that may be spoken or unspoken.
4. Negative – Here you tend to pick up bad habits that run in your group.
5. Direct – This can be both spoken and unspoken, but generally it is so visible that you quickly understand things.
6. Indirect – This one also has a strong influence, but it seeps in very subtly.

Undue peer pressure can stress you up and increase your anxiety levels. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Here are five ways in which peer pressure affects your mental health
1. It can make or break your confidence

According to Dr Rahul Khemani from Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai, peer pressure can make an otherwise normally self-confident person doubt who he/she is and can impact his/her self-esteem.

2. Peer pressure can affect your productivity

It is pretty obvious that when you are under pressure to be a part of something, you constantly think about it. Of course, this wavers your concentration, and the impact shows on your productivity.

3. It can push you into bad habits

Extreme forms of peer pressure can lead to bad habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, risky behaviors, and so on. This will not just mess up with your health, but also your mental well-being.

It’s time for some damage control. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
4. Peer pressure can make you indifferent towards your family

“Peer pressure makes you feel ashamed about your family and background. People end up feeling bad or ashamed about themselves, and their families when they see disparity in how things are in their lives, and how things are among their peers. This sort of comparison is not only restricted to financial matters, but also spills into relationships between parents, siblings, degree of liberty, values, and traditions and so on. This abrupt cutting off from the family can make them anxious, and they can be pushed into depression in the longer run,” warns Dr Khemani.

5. Peer pressure can make you emotionally vulnerable

Everyone wants friends and wants to be accepted. But when the pressure from peers increases, then just to please them or to be a part of their circle, you tend to do things that you don’t want to. It is because of this that you pretend to be happy, which is not a sign of great emotional health.

This is how you should deal with peer pressure

Consequences such as bullying, isolation, and rejection make it difficult for a person to say no to their peers. That’s why we want you to be armed with proper techniques to deal with such a situation:

1. Practice your responses beforehand

2. Bring a friend

3. Plan a safety phrase with a friend or family member, if you feel trapped in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable

4. Listen to your instincts

5. If you face peer pressure problems, talk to a grown-up you trust, say a parent, friend, or a professional counselor.
So ladies, don’t feel the pressure, but deal with it.

Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.