Your daily habits are little decisions that make up the sum of your life. If you add too many of these unhealthy habits to your lifestyle, they add up over time, and can be destructive to your life, rather than helping you thrive. Still, many of us adopt these toxic habits and have no idea that they’re lessening our quality of life. Here are the top everyday habits that might be taking a toll on you and preventing you from reaching your potential.
1. Constantly being on your phone
We get it — it’s 2021 and everyone is always on their phones. But controlling screen-time is key to your happiness. With new notifications and updates on peoples’ lives, it’s information overload. This can make it hard to live your own, and focus on the present. If you get the urge to constantly check that bright screen, take a walk outside instead, or grab a coffee with a partner. Connect in real time!
2. Watching TV all day
Binging your favorite Netflix show has never been easier. But maybe try to limit that watching session to an hour or two, so you don’t lose your entire day. Going into a YouTube click-hole or watching a whole season in a day can fade time away in the wrong way.
3. Focusing on others over yourself
It can be tempting to solve other people’s problems, and focus on their lives rather than ours. Social media makes it even more tempting. These things might be entertaining and allow you to compare to your own life, but they don’t help you take control of your own narrative. Focusing on the drama of others is toxic and doesn’t help you move forward to solve your own.
4. Obsessing over your body
Constantly dieting and going to the gym is something that society encourages us to do, but it can be really detrimental to our mental health. Even if you finally get your waist or thigh size down to where you want it, constantly counting calories and worrying about how others will see you causes food anxiety and social anxiety. Next time you go out with friends, have that mac and cheese, and don’t feel guilty about it!
5. Sitting too much
Whether you drive all the time or work an office jobs, too much sitting can kill you! Only 20% of Americans get enough exercise to be considered healthy. When you don’t get your steps in and sit all day, knee and lower back pain won’t just set in — you increase your risk for dementia, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Social connection is the key to living long, but it can be kind of hard as we’re living through unprecedented times and a pandemic. But there’s another pandemic going on that’s contagious — loneliness. Feeling too lonely can cause a stress response and inflammation. In turn, this had poor effects on our mind, heart, and immune capabilities. Lonely people have a higher risk of developing diseases, so remember to make that FaceTime call every day.
7. Not enough sleep
It can be tempting to stay up late on our phone, or wake up extra early to get our work done. But too much of that insomnia, when left unresolved, can heighten the risk of you getting heart disease, cancer, and other dire illnesses. No sleep means that your brain, heart, and immune system aren’t able to adequately maintain themselves. Keep that sleep between 7 and 9 hours nightly to stay healthy.
Every time you put yourself down, see flaws in yourself, or are too hard on yourself after making a mistake, your mental health struggles. On the other end of the spectrum, self-compassion is connected to optimal mental health. Consider changing that perspective and be kind to not just others, but yourself.
9. Eating when bored
We’ve all been guilty of this at one point or another. Grabbing for an extra portion or snack when you don’t really need it is known as both emotional eating and nighttime eating. Doing this in the long run means a heightened risk of obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even sleep apnea.
10. Listening to music too loud
As humans, we love to blast our music — it’s common for us to want to tune out the world by turning the volume up to 100. However, if you do this all the time (especially with noise-canceling over the ear headphones) it can damage your hearing, and in older adults, that loss of hearings also has links to brain problems such as Alzheimer’s.