10 Bad Habits You Need to Break…Today

Bad habits are hard to break.  However, the long term ramifications of bad habits are often harder to mend.  So why not nip it in the bud?

1. Smoking

This is literally a no-brainer.  Smoking is a risk factor for almost every disease process we have a name for.  It destroys the lungs, slows healing, impedes blood flow, takes your money, and makes you smell.  Cut it out.

2.  One-upping everybody

Did you ever tell a story and someone in the room says “That’s nothing!” and continues to explain how something similar happened to him yet his situation was way worse, thus minimizing what you had to say?  It’s annoying, isn’t it?  Don’t be annoying.  Listen to what people have to say, instead of just waiting for your turn to talk.  People will like you more.  You will have more friends.

3.  Falling asleep on the couch

When have you EVER fallen asleep on the couch and thought “Wow, that felt great!  Why don’t I sleep here more often?  My back feels sooooo much better than when I sleep in my bed!” I didn’t think so.  Couches are meant for sitting and relaxing, but they do not offer enough support for you to spend 8 hours there sleeping.  If you are feeling tired, your body is telling you something!  Turn off the television and go to bed.

4.  Forgetting to brush your teeth before bed

You’re exhausted.  You’re already in your bedroom and don’t want to take the time or expend the effort to walk all the way back to the bathroom.  Oh, well…you can just brush your teeth in the morning, right?  Wrong.  Allowing food particles to stick to your teeth for hours and hours causes bacteria build up.  This leads to cavities and gum disease.  Research has shown that an unhealthy mouth can cause other health problems, as well.  And who wants a mouth full of cavities?

5.   Rationalizing bad behavior

If you do something you know is wrong, own it.  Mistakes and bad decisions happen.  Nobody’s perfect.  But by rationalizing bad choices, you will keep making them.  You don’t have to beat yourself up when you “cheat” on your “diet,” tell a harmless fib, or gossip about your neighbors.  But don’t rationalize it with some crazy mental gymnastics.  Call yourself on your bad behavior and do better in the future.

6.  Inhaling your food like you’re a competitive eater

Chewing your food properly not only makes you look more civilized, but it is better for your digestion!  Chewing allows you to break down the food in order to increase it’s surface area, which allows your digestive juices to more effectively do their job.  The act of chewing also causes a release of a hormone called CCK which tells your brain that you are eating, which allows you to feel “full.”  This will help you to avoid overeating.  So slow down and enjoy your food.

7.  Tailgating

I’m not talking about eating some brats before a football game.  I’m all for that (just hold the bun).  I’m talking about following someone on the highway with nothing but an inch between your front bumper and the rear bumper of the guy in front of you.  You are NOT Mario Andretti.  You are NOT going to make him drive faster.  You are only going to make him nervous or mad, which makes for a dangerous situation.  And if he has to hit the brakes because someone pulls out in front of him, you’re going to have an accident.  Getting to your destination three minutes earlier is not worth it.

8.  Failing to plan out your meals ahead of time

When you don’t plan ahead, you are forced to make decisions on the fly.  These decisions are often done when you are hungry…and when you are hungry, you make bad food choices.  This is why there is a McDonald’s near every major intersection.  Their stockholders are banking on the fact that you’ll drive by one while you are hungry, leading to a questionable food choice…only for you to regret it later.  People are busy and don’t have time to run to the grocery store, get ingredients, and cook a meal after a long work day.  However, if you plan out your meals ahead of time, you will have all the ingredients you need already.You could also consider cooking things in bulk ahead of time.  This has been a great tactic for my own family. We will cook large portions of food on Sunday afternoon and reheat it during the week.  Freezing these meals will allow them to last even longer.  Eating real food is always better than eating processed food and a little planning goes a long way in avoiding quick and easy (and less nutritious) meals.

9.  Putting off your health problems

We see this in our chiropractic office quite often.  A person injures his/her neck after a slip and fall.  The pain persists for weeks, but rather than get it checked out, they suffer with it, resorting to self-medication and other tactics to trick their bodies into feeling better, instead of actually fixing the problem.  The longer a problem is there, the worse it gets.  In the case of a spinal problem, joints break down, tissue gets tight and dysfunctional, movement patterns are altered, and nerves get damaged.  None of this is good.  Getting your problem fixed sooner is always easier (and cheaper) than waiting for it to completely debilitate you, which will force you into getting it fixed. Sometimes, by the time you actually break down and seek help, it is too late…

10.  Worrying too much

It is said that 95% of the things you worry about never happen, and you can’t do much about the other 5%, anyway.  If there is something bothering you, be proactive and make change.  If the problem is out of your hands…LET IT GO!  Worrying causes a stress response in the body.  Chronic stress causes adrenal burnout, leading to fatigue, decreased immunity, impaired mental function, indigestion, and weight gain…to name a few.  It’s much better to make like a duck and let it roll of your back.

Breaking these habits can make you healthier, happier, and more productive.  So make a commitment to yourself and live a better life.  You will be glad you did.

By Dr. Jared Plemon

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