A clinical psychologist highlights 13 self-destructive habits you need to change

There are certain habits that are self-destructive and will get in the way of you living a happy life. A clinical psychologist lists out 13 of them.
self-destruvie habits
Self-destructive habits can get in the way of you living a happy and healthy life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Grace Bains Updated: 1 Jun 2021, 04:02 pm IST
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It can safely be said that there are certain decisions we’ve made that have not had a positive impact on our life. Life is all about learning from your past mistakes. In fact, these human errors often contribute to our individual development. However, there are other times when we’re not able to identify how certain choices we make might have a negative effect on our life. Hence, it is important to understand what self-destructive behaviour is and how to change it.

What is self-destructive behaviour?

We spoke to renowned clinical psychologist Dr Bhavna Barmi, co-director of Mind Track and co-founder of Psycare, to understand the meaning of self-destructive behaviour. According to her, “These are habits or behaviours that often lead to relief in the short term, but ultimately get in the way of a healthy lifestyle. These habits tend to have tangible negative effects on life and its outcomes as well.”

Signs of self-destructive habits

There are certain habits that can be clubbed under the category of self-destructive behaviour. These habits might seem harmless and possibly even the best way to deal with a situation. In the long term, however, these will ultimately lead to negative effects. From your professional to your personal life, these behaviours can impact all spheres of life and lead to a deterioration in your mental health.

self-destructive habits
Self-destructive habits can affect mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Dr Bhavna Barmi listed out 13 self-destructive habits that you need to identify and seek help for:

1. Consuming too much alcohol to cope with a negative event

Using alcohol to deal with an occurrence, such as a breakup or not getting promoted, is a negative coping mechanism. It won’t just affect your behaviour with others around you but also your health.

2. Procrastinating when there is an imminent deadline

Ignoring work till the very last minute and then panicking about it will only lead to stress. If this is something you do regularly, you might want to devise a plan to change this habit.

3. Being too clingy when someone is not interested

People come and go, be it friends or a romantic interest. You have to let go when it is time but if you’re not able to do so, you might come across as too clingy. It is best to walk away in a dignified way than trying to pursue someone who isn’t interested.

4. Completely shutting yourself from meeting new people

You might have decided to self-isolate after a negative experience but this will burden your mental health. Don’t let a couple of bad experiences stop you from meeting new people and developing healthy relationships.

self-destructive habits
Self-isolation can take a toll on you. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
5. Compulsive activities like gambling, in spite of knowing the risks

If you know the risk of regularly indulging in activities like gambling or shoplifting and you continue to make the choice of partaking in them, then you are putting yourself in the way of harm.

6. Hiding from emotions and bottling them up

It might seem better to not deal with negative emotions and instead distract yourself but in the long-term, not processing your emotions will take a toll on your mental health and exacerbate self-destructive habits.

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7. Failing to ask for help even when it is urgently needed

Do you find it difficult to ask for help, be it in personal relationships or professionally? We all need guidance from time to time. Asking for help can enable you to deal with situations better.

8. Not taking care of personal needs

Neglecting your personal needs like bathing, doing the laundry, and eating healthy won’t just negatively impact your physical health but might also take a toll on your mental health.

self-destructive habits
Neglecting your needs is a type of self-destructive behaviour. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
9. Being self-derogatory and insisting you’re not capable of things

If you keep telling yourself that you’re not capable of achieving success or don’t deserve to be in a healthy relationship, then you’re indulging in self-derogatory behaviour.

10. Wallowing in self-pity

Pitying yourself instead of analysing your own actions can only add to the problem of self-destructive behaviour.

11. Unnecessarily sacrificing yourself or your time for others

You need to prioritise your needs over what others want. Neglecting your own life will not benefit you in any way.

12. Going out of your way to harm others

Thinking of ways in which you can put others down instead of concentrating on improving your own life condition is a very negative way of approaching things.

13. Physical self-harm

Causing physical harm to yourself, such as cutting or burning, points to the fact that you need to seek immediate help.

It is extremely important to change self-destructive habits in order to lead a healthy and happy life.

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Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book. ...Read More

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