It's always a good idea to explore and apply the various ways we can do a better job of taking care of our mental and emotional health. At the same time, sometimes if we've spent many years neglecting these, we may not even notice the behaviors we're engaging in on a daily basis that may be contributing to mental and emotional degradation. And of course, now we need to be strengthening ourselves as much as possible more than ever.

And before you're tempted to dismiss emotional health as less important compared to your physical health, don't forget that they're all connected. More studies reveal everyday that there really is validity to the mind-body connection.

So what are some common behaviors we can fall prey to that sabotage our best efforts? Here's a few things to watch out for--if you find that you're doing these, you may be sacrificing your mental and/or emotional health:

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Pretending to be someone you're not. Blame on our childhood or life circumstances, but most of us along the way developed personality "coping mechanisms." These are ways we learn to "be in the world" so that we can be productive members of society, etc. For a time, these serve a purpose. However, once you become an adult, it's important to take a look at where you might be living out of a false self. Doing so will not only skew your choices away from what you really want, it can also be emotionally exhausting.

Relying on those who aren't trustworthy. We need each other. Having a supportive group of friends and family is crucial. But, be careful whom you place your trust in. There's nothing worse than sincerely needing support from someone only to have them betray or fail you. Some people don't deserve your full trust. Find those who do.

Comparing yourself to others. We've heard this so many times now. I know, it's so much easier said than done. Seeing the curated lives of those we know or admire organized on a social media platform can cause our own "regular" lives to seem shabby and our sense of self-esteem is diminished. Please don't let it.

Remember that everyone deals with challenges and most of us seek to share the best parts primarily in public--it's human nature. And the hard reality is, even if there were people living primarily perfect lives--comparing our own to theirs simply doesn't help. Walk your own path.

Expecting life to be perfect. It's what I call our "Disney narrative." This idea that life is supposed to read just like a happy storybook, but despite a reasonable amount of trials, life will make sense and end with "happily ever after." I believe that the majority of unhappiness in our lives is caused by having expectations of what your life is supposed to look like. When you do this, reality can come as an unpleasant shock when you realize it's not working out according to plan. I've found myself in a much more mentally healthful place when I realized that expectations need to be thrown out.

That's not to say we don't have hopeful, expectant hearts--it just means we don't set ourselves up for disappointment when things don't go according to our plans.

These are just a few of the ways we harm ourselves mentally and emotionally. Of course there are more. I've found these to be some of the most particularly toxic. If we can become aware of these mindsets and patterns as they arise and learn to change our thinking (another conversation), we are putting ourselves, and our mental health, on a much better path.

Sending love today.

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