It’s not too late to start living a happier, healthier life. There are some habits that are part of our daily lives. Habits that are so common that we don’t even think of them as bad habits until they are pointed out to us.
1. Eating too much fast food.
A steady diet of double cheeseburgers and fries washed down with an oversize soda or milkshake often leads to a bigger waistline and other related health problems, like heart disease and diabetes. Healthy eating takes more time and thought, and in some cases, more money. It’s worth it though. In addition to losing extra weight, slimming your waistline, and protecting yourself from heart disease and diabetes, you’ll save money if you prepare your own meals instead of buying fast food.
2. Behavior that leaves you angry, worried, or stressed all of the time.
An unhappy lifestyle releases a cascade of stress hormones that increase your blood pressure and blood sugar, lower immunity, slow digestion, and make you feel downright mean. Nature intended stress to be a short-lived fight-or-flight response to a threat, but modern life can lead to chronic stress and to far-reaching impacts on your health, such as increased risk of being overweight and overeating high-fat, sugary foods. Both raise your odds for heart disease and diabetes. Stress-reduction techniques have been proven to lower blood sugar, improve immunity, reduce depression, ease chronic pain, lower blood sugar, and possibly protect your heart, too. A regained sense of joy and control is worth its weight in gold, and the physical health benefits will be substantial as well.
3. Overusing pain killers and sedatives.
When they’re not taken properly, long-term habitual use can cause more problems than it solves. Using drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin for arthritis or muscle pain can over time increase your risk for ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. Calming drugs and sleeping pills can leave you feeling confused and prone to stumbling and falling if you take them in higher-than-prescribed doses. Since they make you feel good, you may want to keep on taking them, turning them into a habit or addiction before you you know it.
New pain-relief strategies can ease muscle, joint, and head pain with fewer pills and side effects. Kicking the sedative and prescription pain pill habit is possible with commitment and support, and once the pill-taking has ceased, your body will quickly rebound from their effects. You’ll spend less money on medications. You may cut your risk for heart and high blood pressure problems as well as gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding. You’ll also be more alert and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve beaten a drug dependency.
4. Drinking too much alcohol.
If you over-drink on a regular basis, alcohol can be a poison. Women who regularly consume two or more drinks a day and men who regularly down three or more are at higher risk for liver damage, various cancers including those of the liver and mouth, high blood pressure, and depression. Women, who are more sensitive to alcohol, can also develop heart disease, brittle bones, and even memory loss. Soon after you cut back or quit, your digestion will improve and you’ll sleep more soundly. Your blood sugar will be lower and steadier, your blood pressure may fall toward a healthier range, and even your brain will bounce back. You’ll have a healthier liver and cardiovascular system. Since you’re limiting your alcohol intake, you’ll also be cutting your risk of being in a car accident. On top of feeling more energetic, you’ll probably have better relationships with your family and friends, if drinking has caused problems in the past.
5. Smoking cigarettes.
As far as health goes, no popular habit on Earth is as harmful. It directly causes 30 percent of heart disease deaths, 30 percent of cancer deaths, and a massive 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancers, not to mention increasing the risk of developing mouth, throat, and, bladder cancer. This bad habit also astronomically raises your odds for heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure, on top of possibly triggering or aggravating breathing problems like bronchitis and asthma attacks. The health benefits are almost immediate, because your lungs and cardiovascular system begin repairing themselves within minutes of your last cigarette. Within a month, your lungs will work better and you should be coughing less, feel more energetic, and have less shortness of breath. Quitting smoking significantly reduces threat of cancer or heart disease, improves your sense of taste and smell, and gives you better endurance. You’ll also reap confidence-boosting rewards like fresher breath, younger-looking skin, and an end to that unpleasant tobacco smell on your clothes.
6. Overspending your way into debt.
Money worries can have serious health consequences. In a Rutgers University telephone survey, responders said financial stress contributed to high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, headaches, digestion troubles, aches and pains, ulcers, excessive smoking and drinking, and gaining or losing weight. You’ll regain a hold on your finances. It’s tough, but getting yourself out of debt is a lot like losing weight. It takes time, can be hard on your ego and your lifestyle, you have to be constantly vigilant, and it’s easy to revert back to old habits. But for those who succeed, and many people do, the results are stunning. You’ll feel more in control of your life with less stress and fewer worries. You’ll be able to sleep better, stop overeating, and have fewer headaches. Finding ways to curb your spending and focus on the simple joys in life will also help improve your relationships.
H/T: Reader’s Digest