We all have little habits and coping mechanisms that probably aren’t ideal, but it turns out that some of them can actually be hazardous to your health. Let’s take a look at some potentially destructive habits:
- Smoking makes every list of bad habits for good reason. It causes over 6 million deaths annually and directly contributes to numerous life-threatening conditions like heart disease, cancer and COPD. Also, each time you put that cigarette to your lips, you’re ingesting over 7000 potentially harmful chemicals!
- Binge drinking – the occasional social drink should not pose any risks to your health, but if you partake in binge drinking regularly, you are opening the flood gates for many dangers to your wellbeing. Some of which include: depression, cirrhosis of the liver, neurological damage, gastrointestinal disorders, cancer or death by alcohol poisoning. So, if you’re a heavy drinker - get your drinking under control today before it controls you.
- Too much sugar – Are your sweet treats becoming more routine than occasional? You may be hooked on the sweet stuff. Eating too much sugar can directly contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic dysfunction (including high blood pressure and cholesterol).
- Nail biting or picking –This habit may leave you with disfigured nails, damage to your teeth and gums, more skin or intestinal infections, and even psychological issues (it is a behavior that has been linked with obsessive compulsive disorder). Because of all the germs your hands come in contact with daily, nail biting also increases your chances of picking up a cold or flu or other type of highly contagious infection (such as impetigo). Eww!
- Staring endlessly at screens – Excess screen time, whether it’s Netflix or social media binge, can be bad for your health, mental health and social life. Being sedentary for large parts of the day without a break is never good news for your overall health. And many studies also illustrate a strong correlation between excess social media use and depression and anxiety, especially in young people.
- Sleeping too much or too little – the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep nightly for adults 18-65 and 7-8 hours for those over 65. Are you getting as much sleep as you should be getting each night? If not, you should recheck your sleeping habits. Perpetually depriving yourself of sleep because of work or social reasons can actually induce insomnia and misalign your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Long-term, this can help contribute to many health issues such as depression, high blood pressure or metabolic disorders.
- Biting the inside of your mouth – this not-so-harmless habit is often equated to nail-biting as they are often both mindless habits that can be linked to underlying anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder. Other dangers that cheek-biting may lead to include scar tissue, lesions or ulcers of the mouth. Some healthcare professionals even argue chronic cheek-biting could potentially be linked with oral cancer. Whether or not the cancer link is a sure thing, it’s best to err on the side of caution and try to stop this nervous habit!
- Popping too many OTC meds – If you reach for OTC painkillers too easily, you should put a hold on it. Some of these OTC medications can be hard on your liver and stomach. It is also too easy to overdose on these medications without even realizing it. Acetaminophen, for example, is hiding in over 600 OTC medications and is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States. So, pace yourself.
- Wearing high heels – you’re not only doing your feet a disservice by wearing high heels on the regular, you’re also causing problems for your ankles, knees, hips and spine. Walking in heels alters your normal gait as your skeleton and muscles must compensate for the unnatural alteration.
- Mindless snacking – most of us are guilty of grabbing for the nachos or chocolate bars during Netflix binges or movie night, but mindless snacking isn’t doing any of us any favors when it comes to our weight or our health. You can easily add a whopping 500+ calories to your day while snacking mindlessly on junk-food as you’re working, surfing the net or watching TV. Eeek! This habit can definitely add up over time putting you at risk for such conditions as type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. If you find it hard to break the habit, at least switch to fat-free popcorn, fruit and veggie platters to make those mindless calories count for the good!
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