It is essential to living optimally and avoid repetitive behaviors that would cause stress and harm to oneself psychologically. Doing so helps prevent the formation of neural networks that encourage negative habits that lead to sub-optimal living. When we engage in negative behaviors, we reinforce the neural pathways that those behaviors create. In other words, the more we do something, the easier it becomes to do it again. This is why breaking bad habits as soon as possible is important and replacing them with positive ones. By avoiding repetitive behaviors that cause stress and harm, we can help prevent the formation of harmful neural networks. In turn, this can lead to a more positive and optimal lifestyle.

The habits that you should avoid to live optimally may include:

Negative Self Talk

Negative self-talk is all about thought processes. In such a scenario, one allows their mind to consider all the possibilities of what could go wrong. The result is usually a lousy judgment of one’s self-worth, which leads to a fall in self-esteem and confidence. Such thinking can precede negative responses to circumstances as thoughts precede behavior. Therefore, it’s essential to catch yourself when engaging in negative self-talk and change the dialogue to something more positive. Consider all the facts of a situation and weigh them against your emotions. Chances are, if you’re engaging in negative self-talk, you’re allowing your emotions to dictate your thoughts, rather than the other way around. Once you catch yourself doing this, take a step back and breathe. Then, relax and focus on the present moment. From here, you can change your thought patterns to something more positive and productive. With practice, you can retrain your brain to think more positively overall!

It’s no secret that the words we speak to ourselves profoundly impact our lives. Research has shown that negative self-talk can lead to depressive symptoms and even influence the physical structure of our brains. Over time, this can result in negative neuroplasticity, or the ability of our brains to change in response to experience. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By shutting down the voices of negativity in their minds and replacing such talk with a focus on positive possibilities, we can begin to rewire our brains for success. It may not be easy, but it’s certainly worth it. After all, we are the only ones who can control the thoughts we think and the words we speak. So let’s make them count.

Purposeless Living

Living a life without purpose comes with a variety of adverse outcomes. Mental clutter is common when one does not have a clear goal for their lifetime. The result may be a rise in negative feelings, which may lead to depression. The lack of clear objectives can lead to you living suboptimally. Learn to create goals for the various aspects of your life to give meaning to your life. Creating plans that are specific will aid you in taking advantage of the possibilities of neuroplasticity. Incorporating purpose into your life may help you develop a new zest for life as you pursue what brings you happiness.

People often complain of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, as if they are juggling too many balls in the air. This sense of mental clutter is widespread when people do not have a clear goal for their lifetime. Without a clear destination, setting priorities and making choices that will lead to a sense of fulfillment can be challenging. The result may be increased negative feelings, such as anxiety or depression. Goal setting can help you to live more optimally by giving you a roadmap to follow. When you know what you want to achieve, you can develop strategies for making it happen. In addition, having specific goals gives you something to strive for and a sense of accomplishment when you reach them. As you work towards your objectives, you may find that your outlook on life begins to change for the better. No longer feeling stuck or adrift, you can start to feel more hopeful and empowered. So if you’re feeling lost or confused, remember that goal setting can be a powerful tool for getting your life back on track.

Unhealthy Lifestyle

How you treat your body determines your neuroplasticity capabilities, which can, in turn, affect your ability to live life optimally. Avoid diets that do not support brain functions. However, unhealthy lifestyles involve a lack of adequate sleep. Getting enough sleep can promote neuroplasticity. Avoid health habits that destroy your body organs, for example, smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. You can develop an unhealthy lifestyle by subconsciously snacking even when not in response to a hunger trigger. The same may lead to an excessive increase in weight and even obesity, triggering disease states. The habit may cause you to lose tune with your body systems. For example, some disease states that may arise from obesity include diabetes and heart disorders. Such situations can affect your finances, compounding your challenges further. Snacking on junk foods can fasten this downward spiral. Some cancers link to unhealthy ingredients readily found in such foods.

Obesity can cause you to lose self-confidence and abhor social interactions, which can be critical for relieving stress. Lack of such interplay can cause you to develop a negative mindset that may lead you to live sub-optimally. Unhealthy habits, exceedingly kindled by such meals, can prompt the advancement of an adverse feedback loop that promotes injurious cravings.

Unhealthy habits can also cause you to experience slumps in energy levels that will affect your capability to perform optimally. 

Excessive Screen Time

In the modern world, where most people spend excessive periods on screens, either for entertainment or work purposes, it is crucial to create a healthy balance to live optimally. Spending elongated periods on screens can have debilitating effects on your health. Some individuals suffer from eye problems, with some being irreversible, due to eye strain arising from excessive screen time. 

Social interactions are bound to suffer as individuals shift their attention to varying screen types. The result can be a feeling of loneliness, social anxiety, and even depression. Some have taken the path of suicide to numb the pain from such a lifestyle. Lack of healthy social interactions can detriment of your mental state. Screen time, when excessive, can cause the breakdown of relationships. Such habits can encourage negative moods, such as irritability, which can further deteriorate your social connections. However, the effect may be diminishing your self-confidence, which may enable you to isolate yourself further. The sum effect can be the development of a negative thought framework that does not trust other individuals without taking responsibility for your role in the state of your relationships. In addition, the number of social connections may decrease, limiting your capacity to cultivate a broader perspective of life due to the lack of human interactions. The habit can cause you to delink from human-like emotions, which may make you revel in inhuman behavior.

One may also develop a mindset at odds with reality as they create neural networks that confuse screens for actual occurrences. The effect may be the development of an inability to cope with the realities of life. 

Several people who spend most of their time before screens end up developing unhealthy habits, such as subconscious snacking, which has a toxic effect on their health. Lack of activity due to spending lots of time attending screen time can compound the adverse effects of unhealthy eating. Disease states, for example, diabetes, can develop from such a lifestyle, affecting your ability to live optimally. 

Excessive screen time can cause you to lose some skills as you no longer prioritize using them. The same may result in a decrease in your financial capabilities, especially if the craft was a source of income.

Excessive screen time does not allow you to exercise your mind, preventing the formation of new neural pathways via neuroplasticity. The effect can be the loss of memory and even the development of dementia. The ripple effect can diminish your financial capability as you cannot carry out your responsibilities that attract income.

Screen time in excess can also affect your sleep cycle, further causing the deterioration of your overall health. Inadequate sleep can be a prerequisite for mental clutter, which can lead to the development of a negative mindset. The cumulative effect can be a sub-optimal life.

Your energy levels will decrease due to inactivity during excessive screen time.  

Excessive screen time can impede your ability to manage time effectively, leaving you feeling rushed and unprepared for life’s challenges. You may then develop stress due to the pressures of deadlines and suffer mentally, leading to negative thought processes.

Living Beyond Your Means

The primary impact of living beyond your means is excessive debt accumulation. The root causes for such a mindset differ, with some spiraling due to the need for approval. Some use spending to distract from handling issues they do not dare to face. Some do not have the skill of financial prudence, for example, budgeting. 

The challenge with debt is some people do not consider the risk factor of their inability to pay. Such circumstances can arise unexpectedly from, for example, the loss of a job or the development of a medical condition. When unwell, worrying about money will also create a negative feedback loop system as it will create mental clutter. The result can be a state of mental confusion.

Some disease states can arise from mental stress, such as high blood pressure, further compounding the dire situation. Some individuals develop depression due to the inability to see a way out of their dire financial constraints. Over time, their mental state can cause them to lose their income sources, leading to an ongoing downward spiral financially. Some can opt to commit suicide as an escape from reality. 

Negative Habits

Engaging yourself in habits that promote experiencing negative emotions can lead you to live a suboptimal life. Such sentiments include anger, fear, and worry. Anxiety can also arise from such habits. 

Procrastination is a habit that can lead to negative emotions like stress and fear. The occurrence increases as time pressures arise.

Damaging habits can cause you to develop negative thought frameworks that may not be a genuine indication of the realities. The result may be jumping to conclusions, which may lead to the deterioration of your relationships, both professionally, and in your personal life. 

The unhappiness associated with such a lifestyle can harm your physical body through the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol. The result may be a diminishing capability to handle disease conditions due to a reduction in your immune strength. Other disease states, for example, high blood pressure, can develop as a result. Chronically, you may shorten your life by such habits. Heart attacks can originate from the strain.

During stress, your blood sugar levels may increase, further compounding your health status’s downward spiral. 

The unhappiness may also affect your mental status, which, if not under control, can develop into full-blown psychosis. The result may be a need for your admission into a medical facility. Your finances and even social connections may suffer from such an occurrence. 

The emotions that connect to negative habits can affect your digestion leading to other health problems. 

As your social connections decline, you may suffer from low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, which may affect your mental state. 

Chronic stress due to adverse practices can prompt you to increase weight, which may predispose you to be physical and mental health complications. Physically, you can be at risk of diseases, for example, diabetes. Mentally, you may experience a breakdown of your thought processes. Such stress can encourage you to indulge in junk food, which may worsen your health. The result may be a negative feedback loop system that hinders you from living an optimal life. 

Physical ailments like chronic pain can, in some instances, originate from stress due to contrary habits.  

Negative habits will make you lose your sense of control regarding the direction you want your life to take. Practicing self-control can be the key for you to live your life optimally.


  • Dr. Tomi Mitchell

    M.D | Leadership Coach| Wellness & Productivity Coach

    Dr. Tomi Mitchell Holistic Wellness Strategies

    Dr. Tomi Mitchell, MD, empowers executives, lawyers, doctors, business owners, and other leaders to eliminate burnout and increase workplace productivity and relationships.  She uses her three-step framework, Embrace, Evaluate & Energize, to empower her clients to have clarity. 

    As a public speaker and trainer, she brings energy to the crowd, captures their attention, and gives them clear, actionable steps to apply immediately to their life. Dr. Tomi Mitchell believes in getting to the root causes of life's challenges, instead of taking a temporary BandAid approach to life. She is a writer, with a book coming out in Summer 2023. She is also the host of The Mental Health & Wellness Show.  To learn more about her framework, check out the following link: Learn More.