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Living With A Roommate Might Help You Become Healthier – Here’s Why

Living With A Roommate Might Help You Become Healthier – Here’s Why

Whether it’s for a few years in college, to save money by choosing a shared housing option, or just as a lifestyle choice, many of us will live with a roommate at some stage. Occasionally, there can be friction. Who hasn’t had an argument about whose turn it is to take out the trash, or who should be the one to clear up after dinner? However, living with another person also comes with many benefits.

You know that there’s always someone else around, which can help you feel safer and more secure. There’s always someone to talk to, so you need never be lonely. Beyond these obvious advantages are some less readily apparent benefits. For instance, did you know that living with someone else means that your diet is likely to be better than if you lived alone?

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Why Living With Someone Else Will Improve Your Diet

We’ve all seen stereotypes in the media that depict roommates chilling out together over pizza, beer, and other kinds of junk food. However, scientific research paints a rather different picture of the effect a roommate can have on your diet. It seems that we are actually more likely to eat healthier foods and stick to healthier eating patterns when living with others.

To examine the effect of living alone on diet, Australian university researchers looked at 41 scientific studies on the subject. They found that people living alone tended to eat lower quantities of fresh food including fruits and vegetables, which can have a significant negative impact on long-term health. Everyone needs the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that these foods provide, so this is concerning for those who do not live with a partner, relatives, or roommates.

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Interestingly, the authors of the study found that this trend could be seen across various demographic groups. Whether rich or poor, those who lived with others generally benefited from a more varied diet compared to those in single-occupancy homes. When the results were broken down by gender, men have more to be worried about compared with women. Males tend to consume an even worse diet when they live by themselves.

What could explain these findings? The researchers believe that the social and cultural roles played by cooking, food preparation, and eating may be important considerations. For example, those who live with friends or a partner typically have someone else to go shopping with, and this may mean that they are likely to go out and buy higher-quality fresh food on a regular basis.

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Cooking skills may be another factor. If a person living alone finds they do not have the knowledge required to prepare a particular dish or cook a certain food, they may fall back on ready-made, less healthy food. However, if they lived with at least one other person, they may be able to ask for help.

The power of routine is another relevant consideration. A person living alone can eat whatever they want at any time of the day or night without attracting comment or criticism. Whilst this may be very liberating, it can actually be helpful from a health point of view to have someone around who questions your decision to eat frozen pizza at 3am for the third night in a row. In other words, roommates can draw your attention to unhealthy or abnormal routines. Humans are social creatures after all, and most of us crave the approval of others.

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So, if you have a roommate, be thankful for the positive effect they could be having on your diet. If you currently live alone and find yourself fighting a losing battle against poor eating habits, why not consider sharing a home with someone else? You could encourage one another on to greater health and well-being.

Featured photo credit: Robert Judge via flickr.com

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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