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4 Things That Attract Bugs and How to Repel Them

4 Things That Attract Bugs and How to Repel Them

Summer is great, except for bugs. When you are out, sporting a sexy dress over your tanned skin, your skin lightly sparkling from the sweat, you feel like a goddess – until you hear a buzz and you realize mosquitoes have just started to feast on you. Besides, gnats are all over the place, joining their forces with bees.

Yes, summer is amazing, but it’s also rich in bugs of all types, from flies to mosquitoes and gnats. In order to avoid them, you have to know how bugs find you. Your body releases a lot of smells, which humans can’t detect, but insects can. On top of this, you use a lot of perfumed lotions, deodorants, detergents and so on, which add to the fragrance footprint of your body.

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Your diet also has a lot to do with how you smell to bugs: what you eat is detectable in your sweat. Apart from smells, mosquitoes and other bugs detect humans by their breath and the colors they are wearing. Light colors make you invisible for bugs, while dark colors turn you into a target. The same is valid for your skin tone: the darker, the more attractive for bugs. Your blood type also matters, but that is something you can’t change, yet I wanted to mention it. To make sure you stay bug bite free, here is a list of things to avoid, followed by a list of bug repellent scents.

1. Floral perfumes

If you like floral scents, you should choose between becoming a big mosquito target and smelling like flowers. Leave the rose fragrance perfume, lotion, etc. at home and avoid it for the entire summer time as bugs are attracted by floral scents.

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2. Go sock-less

Remember how bugs are attracted by sweat and body heat? Closed shoes and socks are full of sweat and tend to be really hot, so they make you more attractive to a lot of bugs, including mosquitoes. For the summer, pick open sandals and leave the socks at home.

3. Quit drinking beer

Beer is one of the drinks that attract bugs, according to an interesting study. In fact, all sugary drinks are very attractive to bugs and these make your sweat equally attractive. So it is better you drink more water. There is also a 4th item to avoid, but I can’t actually number it: men. Yes, men are bigger and sweat more, so they tend to attract more bugs. If you can’t avoid them this summer (I am kidding, you know, right?), just keep away from large gatherings, where there are many hot, sweaty people who look like a feast for most bugs.

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Another reason you want to avoid large crowds is the fact that beer and soda are always present at gatherings. As we’ve seen, these drinks attract both mosquitoes and other type of bugs, such as gnats, flies and bees. If you want to get rid of gnats, bees and mosquitoes, drink water. Now that you know what attracts bugs, you need to know what repels them, so here is the list of fragrances you should stock on for a bug-bite free summer.

Bug Repellants

1. Lavender

Instead of a flower-scented lotion, opt for a lavender scented one, which is going to make you repellant to bugs. You can also pick a no fragrance lotion or spray and mix it with couple of lavender essential oil drops to create your own repellent. Lavender plant also works great at repelling bugs, so plant them in your garden.

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2. Peppermint and Eucalyptus

All bugs hate peppermint smell, so you can make your own bug barrier by crushing peppermint leaves and rubbing them on your body. Another way to hide yourself from bugs is by using a homemade peppermint spray, using peppermint essential oil. Eucalyptus has the same effect, so you can either use both or pick one of them.

3. Citronella

Citronella is another great bug repellent that smells amazing, but you need to be careful with this one, as it can easily irritate your skin. Lemongrass also contains citronella, so you can use that instead, if your skin is not sensitive to it.

4. Cooking repellents

When you want to organize a grill, make sure to use rosemary, basil and garlic, which are natural bug repellents and can add a great delicious taste to your food. As for rosemary, you can also make a DIY repellent perfume. If none of these repellents works for you, just go for the posh version: there is a Victoria’s Secret perfume that is actually a bug repellent in disguise. It may not be natural, but you can proudly tell your friends that you are wearing a great bug repellent.

Featured photo credit: Cara/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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