Episode 119: 7 Sabotagers of Your Mental Health (Part 1)

change meditation mental health personal revelation social media Sep 04, 2023


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 For probably obvious reasons, I am always interested in different ways people’s mental health are being attacked. As a mental health therapist, I am always on the lookout for small and simple ways people can fortify their mental health. Fortifying your mental health means looking for ways attacks are coming in and then building strategies to help combat the attack next time it comes.

Sometimes you might not even know it, but YOU might be the one attacking your mental health. So for the entire month of September I am going to focus on different ways YOU might be sabotaging your mental health and strategies to help fortify those sabotaging tendencies. 

 To sabotage something means you are damaging, destroying or hindering something. So I will talk about certain actions, mindsets or relationship interactions that can damage, destroy or hinder your mental health. 

 I have actually noticed 7 very common sabotagers that women are doing to their mental health and in order to give each one the time it deserves, I am going to split this episode into three parts. Today I am going to outline 3 physical things you might be doing to sabotage your mental health.

1. Lack of Exercise

Exercise is known as “nature’s mood enhancer.” Regular exercise has a ton of benefits for your mental health. It can ease depression by releasing endorphins and a lot of other “feel good” chemicals. Exercise can also suppress immune system chemicals. These types of chemicals that you would be decreasing are the ones that worsen depression. Also, exercise can increase body temperature to create a calming effect and who doesn’t want a calming effect in their life? Exercising regularly can also give you confidence, distract your mind from worries, improve social interactions, and help you cope with life stresses in a healthy way.

 Also, when we are talking about exercise, it doesn’t have to be vigorous exercise. This can be just taking a walk, stretching or doing simple yoga moves. In fact, I have been a regular exerciser for years, but one part of my physical movement that was lacking was steps. I work in a job where I am seeing clients all day and don’t get up much between sessions besides going to the bathroom or filling up my water bottle. My regular daily exercise of lifting weights didn’t get me very many steps.

So back in the spring I decided I wanted to increase how many steps I got in a day. There are a ton of benefits of increasing the amount of steps you take in a day. One of mine that I noticed is that my resting heart rate has decreased. This means my body is dealing with stress better just by increasing the amount of steps I am taking in a day. Even though I was doing a vigorous exercise routine, just increasing my steps helped me immensely. My point in sharing that is you don't need to plan a giant routine to get started. Just get up and do a few more steps each day or even between tasks. It can be a huge help.

 But here’s a dilemma I notice with getting more exercise in your life if you’re struggling. Exercise may seem like a physical thing that only benefits you physically, but actually, getting started with physical movement is more of a mental battle right? Think about it, if you are struggling to move your body and receive the benefits of exercise for your mental health, it is likely that you have some thoughts that are holding you back from that. Working on your thoughts about exercise might actually be the start of working on your physical movement. I’ll share more about that in a minute. 

 2. Lack of Sleep

Sleep is actually a source of physical and emotional resilience. Sleep provides your brain and body an opportunity to recover from the difficulties of your previous day. When you have adequate sleep then you are able to deal with stressors and challenges better tomorrow by recovering from the previous day's challenges. Losing sleep for one or two nights can make you feel groggy, grumpy, and out of focus. A habit of poor sleep can wreak havoc on your mental health.

 Research shows people with mental health problems tend to sleep poorly. The Sleep Health Foundation reports that 60 to 90 percent of patients with depression also have insomnia. Now researchers also think poor sleep can result in mental health problems, according to Harvard Medical School, and that treating the sleep disorder can actually help relieve mental health symptoms.

 Recently I have been wearing a Garmin watch that tracks my sleep during the night. It has been so helpful to see the different cycles of sleep and how they are affected by my activities during the day. My watch even gives me suggestions of what to do if I have a low sleep score to help increase it the next day. One of the things that has really helped my sleep is meditation during the day and at night. It has helped a ton in getting not only enough sleep but getting into the right sleep cycles so I am actually rested the next day after sleeping. I will also talk more about meditation to help your sleep at the end too.

 3. Lack of Socialization

What I mean by that, is not interacting with others and experiencing true connection through communication. I see a lot of people who are suffering from loneliness, and isolation. Loneliness is actually associated with higher anxiety, depression, and suicide rates. I think there are a few things that are contributing to a lack of socialization. The first one is social media. A recent survey of 1500 adult Facebook and Twitter users showed that 62 percent of participants reported feelings of inadequacy and 60 percent reported jealousy from comparing themselves to other social media users. Thirty percent said using just these two forms of social media made them feel lonely. Think about it, when you are on social media apps you are living vicariously through other people’s lives. That is not a real connection nor does it help you feel fulfilled.

 Also, social media isn’t just to blame, overuse of smartphones can decrease socialization. Using a smartphone is a very rewarding activity. An endless variety of apps, messaging systems and websites trigger positive feelings. Habitual smartphone use, however, causes you to check your device constantly in fear of missing out. Actually, excess smartphone use can cause a form of addiction, with compulsively checking your notifications and updates. Compulsive or excessive use of a smartphone could worsen symptoms of depression, anxiety, chronic stress and/or low self-esteem.

Think about how smartphones keep you from interacting with others in a room. When you enter a room, you can often see 50-75% of the people on a device and not interacting with others. This can really decrease socialization and increase depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy just to put down a device. People are often conditioned to not have some sort of input into their brain every 3-7 seconds. You would need to retrain your brain to be ok with the silence. To learn to be still and have your brain reward center firing from that type of input rather than social media or a smartphone. That way you can start to have connection and socialization with others and feel the fulfillment from it.

I am sure you understand the importance of adding exercise, proper sleep habits and socialization to your life to fortify and strengthen your mental health for the future and upcoming winter. Each of the sabotagers I talked about have a component of working on your thoughts and brain responses to help you stop them from sabotaging your mental health. So one of the most effective ways I have found to add these fortifiers to your life and work on your thoughts about them is through Revelation Meditations. In fact, President David O. McKay has said that, 

“We pay too little attention to the value of meditation"

 Strengthening your mental health by using Revelation Meditations will help you to:

  • Have clarity in your thoughts for more peace so you can cope with life’s stresses
  • Receive divine help to increase energy so you can work productively
  • Communicate your needs and desires to connect and improve relationships 
  • Process emotions to create healing so you can have better self-care

 If you are a faithful woman who is feeling stressed, unmotivated, confused and emotional you can begin strengthening your mental health in 20 minutes a day by using revelation meditations “to pass through to the presence of the Lord” and receive His ENABLING POWER of peace, energy, connection and healing

 At the beginning of next month on October first I am doing a 30 Days to Stronger Mental Health Challenge to help fortify, strengthen and heal your mental health for the future and upcoming winter. 

 Each day of the challenge you will have a specific meditation (on a private app) you can complete to help you strengthen your mental health. You will receive the entire Clarity in the Chaos Course with 25 unique meditations for FREE to use during and after the challenge. You can even start the meditations immediately and not wait until October first.

The challenge is held on a private community app. This will be a place to connect with other women facing similar life challenges to you, get your questions answered daily on the challenges, and become motivated to develop critical mental health tools. All contained in a private app away from social media distractions.

 Within the 30 days to Stronger Mental Health Challenge, there will be weekly prizes given for completing the daily challenges and an ability to connect with other women who are experiencing similar life challenges as you. The prizes are there to help motivate and keep your focus while you are developing new and crucial habits for your mental health. 

 Challenges are also a great way to start a new habit. They provide the boost you may need to get started making a change. Once you start the challenge, the daily repetition boosts momentum to strengthen your mental health and as you keep going. Achieving small successes can help motivate you to keep the changes going.

If you are ready to join us to have stronger mental health then get registered and after you do send the link to a friend that you want to do the challenge with. Challenges are more successful when you have an accountability partner. Also, be sure to hit that follow button on your podcast app so you can catch the next two parts of the 7 Sabotagers of Your Mental Health.

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