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Three Habits to Quit That Will Make You Healthier

Many of us are hanging on to habits that are not only unhealthy, but are impairing our quality of life as well. Habits can include everything from poor diet and exercise routines to unnecessary stress in our lives. These habits may also be affecting our family members and other relationships.

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It’s important to apply the principle of mind over matter to work on eradicating these harmful habits from our lives over time. Here are a few habits to quit that will leave you feeling healthier and happier once you knock them out of your life.

Mindless Eating

Why it’s unhealthy:

  • Eating without paying attention to portion sizes may mean that you’re consuming more calories than your body actually needs each day. When we eat mindlessly we tend to tune out our hunger sensors, or even eat when we are not hungry at all. Ignoring our body’s signals that it is not hungry or already full can lead to overeating on a regular basis. This means more calories and packed on pounds over time.
  • With mindless eating or emotional eating there is a tendency to consume unhealthy foods with empty calories. This can lead to malnutrition when we are not maximizing the nutrients contained in the foods we eat each day.
  • Constant snacking means that food and drink is in constant contact with our mouth and teeth as well. This can cause problems like cavities and lead to more serious dental issues.
  • Excess calorie consumption and weight gain has been linked to an increased risk of various diseases and medical issues including cancer and heart disease.

How to beat it:

  • Ration out small portions of both healthy and unhealthy snacks. Keep them readily available when the urge to snack hits. This can help you indulge a craving without going overboard and binging on a whole family size bag of chips or box of cookies in a single sitting!
  • Turn off the screens to eat. Focus on your meal or snack without distracting yourself with television, computer, tablet or phone. If you pay attention to what you eat you are more likely to both enjoy your food, and pay attention to your body’s satiation signals once you’re full.

Extra Stress and Anxiety

Why it’s unhealthy:

  • Constant stress and anxiety raises hormone levels in the body which contribute to various diseases and lower immunity.
  • You may feel angry and grouchy most of the time, which can affect the work you do in all aspects of your life.
  • Constant stress and anxiety can lead to crashes into feelings of sadness and depression.

How to beat it:

  • Work on reframing situations as they happen
  • Find healthy ways of dealing with daily stress that work for you and your lifestyle.
  • Practice meditation on a daily basis. Even 15-20 minutes of meditation each day can contribute to a calmer and more peaceful existence.
  • Keep a daily gratitude journal. Write down things that you are thankful for every day. This will retrain your mind to remember to look for the positives in different situations, instead of the negatives, and get you out of your pessimistic mindset.

Sitting for Long Periods of Time

Why it’s unhealthy:

  • Dr. James A. Levine has been credited with coining the phrase that “sitting is the new smoking.” Research suggests that sitting for more than two hours a day is linked to higher death rates from a variety of conditions and diseases.
  • Sedentary lifestyle increases risk for cardiovascular disease related issues like chest pain and heart attacks.
  • If sitting is done indoors, it also exposes you larger amounts of indoor air pollutants, toxins, fumes, and chemicals which can disrupt hormones and produce symptoms like headaches, allergic reactions, and other symptoms of exposure.

How to beat it:

  • If you work at a computer or need to sit behind a desk, consider switching to a standing desk or even a treadmill desk, to help you get additional exercise each day. This can help make your workspace work for your health, and not against it.
  • Plan walk and talk meetings with colleagues instead of sitting around a desk, computer, or conference room table. This can help you stay healthy at the office.
  • Add outdoor play and movement into your daily schedule. If possible, aim to get some sunlight as well. This will help with Vitamin D production and help beat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). However, avoid going out when the sun is at its peak to minimize skin damage and potential for heat exhaustion.

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