5 Habits That Can Ruin Your Mental and Physical Health

So often we form life long habits from small lapses in behavior that just seem to stick. These habits can be unhealthy and if not recognized can lead to real issues with your lifestyle.

They might seem small, but if you have a tendency to routinely find yourself doing any of the following, it might be time to think about making a few small changes in your life. Here are 5 of the worst habits for your mental and physical health:

Excessive Snacking on Junk:
This is a very common one that can rapidly become somewhat of a slippery slope. Snacking often becomes habitual when it is associated with a certain time of day rather than being a response to your bodies natural hunger.

Snacking on even the smallest bit of sugary badness can quickly lead to unhealthy weight gain and in turn diabetes, heart disease, and other serious conditions.  Rather than snacking according to the clock, listen to your body and its hunger signals and rather than sugary treats, turn to healthy alternatives if you want to avoid those unwelcome slumps in energy.

Poor Quality of Sleep:
While our understanding of sleep is still relatively little, we do have plenty of evidence to suggest that not getting enough quality sleep, leads to fatigue, lack of focus, a short temper and a higher risk of depression. Poor quality of sleep can also interfere with the immune function, disrupting the body’s ability to fight pathogens, can lead to high blood pressure and cause excessive production of cortisol, which increases stress and favors weight gain.

Overusing Pain Killers and Sedatives:
This might sound alarming, but this is a habit that can form very easily and covertly over time. If not taken according to need, habitual use of painkillers and sedatives can be extremely damaging to both mind and body. Regular use of ibuprofen, paracetamol, and aspirin over time can increase the risk for ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, high blood pressure, and heart attacks, not to mention the effect it has on reducing your natural tolerance to pain.

The whole point of medication is to make you feel better, but it is important to remember that these drugs must be respected, so if you ever feel like you are coming to rely on them too much or are regularly taking medication that hasn’t been prescribed by your clinical team, that it might be wise to seek some help.

Not Drinking Enough Water:
If we don’t drink enough water, we face dehydration. Keeping the body in a state of dehydration is extremely damaging to our bodies. It can not only cause fatigue and dry skin but impaired kidney and immune functions due to the accumulation of toxins. Dehydration also affects our mental capabilities and can have a bearing on our ability to focus thus hampering our concentration and productivity.

Living A Sedentary Lifestyle:
This may seem like common sense, but researchers at University College London established a link between lack of physical activity and high rates of depression. Physical activity comes in many different forms, but the research found that even just going out for a walk 3 times a week reduces your propensity for depression by up to 20%.

More often than not, those living a sedentary lifestyle find themselves watching endless amounts of TV and this is bad for two reasons. Not only does it support a sedentary lifestyle, but it also reduces your brain activity and over time can lead to memory loss and impaired brain activity.

Habits are easy to form, but hard to break, so think about which ones apply to you and get off the sofa or up from the breakfast table and make positive steps to #winthegame.