Living a healthier life doesn’t begin and end with the gym-it starts with taking a look at your habits. If you’re looking to live an overall healthier and happier lifestyle, it starts with getting rid of bad habits that may be responsible for keeping you from seeing the progress you should be seeing. What are some of the habits that we should quit to achieve both health and happiness? Here are 11 common bad habits that you can quickly kick to start seeing a better you.
Being a Couch Potato
Downtime is important for you to recover from the stressors of daily life, but too much can be unhealthy. As a general rule, you should be getting around 150 minutes of moderate exercise, 75 minutes of rigorous exercise, or some combination of the two every week.
Included in your exercise should also be strength training. This doesn’t mean you need to train for the Olympics, but at least two days of strength training a week is better for your overall health. You will also find that strength training increases your metabolism and makes everyday activity easier.
Too Much Booze
Drinking a lot is a quick way to become unhealthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heavy drinking is defined as 15 drinks or more per week for men, and 8 drinks or more for women. Going above these amounts regularly can lead to weight gain, chronic diseases or even cancer.
This doesn’t mean you need to cut out drinking altogether! Moderate drinking is perfectly fine- however, keep in mind it’s not necessarily adding to your health. If you are drinking often enough where you are getting regular hangovers, it’s likely you’re overdoing it. Make sure you’re sticking within the parameters to prevent the detrimental effects drinking too much can have on your health.
If you’re a smoker, you’re lowering your life expectancy every time you light up. Smokers boost their risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and a variety of other health issues that are nothing to turn your nose up to.
Contrary to popular belief, this does include e-cigarettes. E-cigs contain nicotine and several other harmful chemicals that are harmful to your health. If you’ve considered quitting but haven’t followed through, now is the time! While quitting smoking is way easier said than done, it’s completely worth it to improve your overall health.
Not Eating Healthy
This goes without saying, eating well is important for your health. However, there is another aspect to unhealthy eating habits- those who constantly attempt strict diets and end up falling off the wagon time and time again.
Consistently attempting restrictive diets, or “yo-yo dieting”, is not a sustainable method to maintaining a healthy weight and healthy habits. When you inevitably go off your diet, it’s likely that you will gain back the weight you lost, and this type of dieting can cause issues with your health such as heart disease or high blood pressure. Building your life around healthy eating patterns that are not restrictive or rooted in deprivation is going to allow you to maintain the balance your body needs.
Using Screens Before Bed
Putting away the screens before bedtime is critical not just to prevent you from losing sleep, but to increase the quality of your sleep. Lowing your exposure to blue light will prevent your sleep from being disturbed and secure your circadian rhythms.
Put your screens away roughly 20 minutes or so before bed to keep your sleep patterns healthy and allow for better quality rest.
Comparing Yourself to Others
This one is hard with the amount of exposure we have to social media. Seeing people posting constantly can cause you to feel bad about yourself, so it’s important to remember one thing: not everything on social media is what it seems. Social media is a mere fragment of another person’s life, and while some seem to have a plethora of positive changes in their life, you never know what is going on behind closed doors.
If you use social media, browse mindfully. Unfollow accounts that make you question your own choices or make you feel down about yourself. Use social media to follow accounts that allow you to feel connected to people you love and admire.
Worrying Too Much
Anxiety, worry, and stress are all some of the most common and often undetected bad habits that affect your health without you even realizing it. Too much stress can lead to a variety of chronic conditions such as a suppressed immune system or insomnia.
Reducing worry and stress is, of course, easier said than done. But there are a few things to remember. Most of what we worry about is not necessarily true. If you’re caught in tumultuous worry, take a moment, breathe, and ask yourself if there’s any rationale to your worry. It’s also important to ask yourself whether your worry is productive to solving whatever potential problem you have. If this doesn’t help you, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for additional coping mechanisms.
Being Too Negative
When things feel out of control or overly frustrating, complaining makes you feel like you’re doing something about it. Unfortunately, you’re not fixing anything by being negative about the situation. You’re ultimately teaching yourself to seek the negative aspects of a situation rather than the good.
If you find yourself being overly negative or complaining quite a bit, redirect your attention to the positive aspects of the situation. This doesn’t mean you’re accepting something you don’t like, it just means that you’re teaching yourself to look for things that you appreciate.
Not Sleeping Enough
We all know getting enough sleep is important to our health, but it’s common for us to deny ourselves of sleep in order to get everything done in our already busy lives. 1-3 adults currently don’t get enough sleep. However, getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night is vital to your health.
Being well rested doesn’t just keep you from falling asleep at your desk. A lack of sleep could have long-term effects on your cognitive health and prevents your body from recovering. Start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier- you’ll notice that getting enough sleep becomes more of a priority. For details on how sleep deprivation affects your workout, check out our blog.
Being Too Distracted
It’s common for us to enjoy having distractions to keep the negative emotions or feelings at bay- whether it’s scrolling through Facebook, have a few drinks, or turning off our brain to binge a television series. But avoiding the hard things in life is a temporary solution with some dangerous long-term effects.
One of the keys to living a happy life is to face the difficult things head-on with every ounce of strength we have. This will ultimately lead to having better coping mechanisms for when life gets tough rather than turning to a distraction to pretend it’s not. If you find that you have trouble handling the difficult parts of your life, consider talking to a mental health professional.
Setting Unrealistic Expectations
Setting goals is the best way to achieve what we want in life but setting the bar too high for yourself can lead to disaster. Humans are resilient and adaptable, but change is best met with small steps and patience to ensure you develop habits that will cement the habits you need to be successful.
Don’t try to change too much too fast- set realistic goals for the successes you wish to see in your life and continue to make new ones once they’re achieved.
For more health and wellness tips, be sure to check out our blog every week for fitness tips, nutrition, recipes, daily workouts and more!