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7 Seemingly Small Yet Insanely Destructive Lifestyle Choices

7 Seemingly Small Yet Insanely Destructive Lifestyle Choices

We often do harmful things to ourselves because we’re not aware of their consequences. Even the smallest decisions that we make in a nanosecond on a daily basis, like drinking another cup of coffee with the hope that it will make us energized or spending another minute on Facebook instead of going to sleep can be severely destructive if we take a look at the long-term effects.

Somehow, people find it easy to be ignorant when it comes to their body and mind – I’m sure you’ve managed to shush that voice that says you’re tired, hungry or thirsty in time. By doing that, you’re actually neglecting your basic needs and it’s not necessary for you to be a medical expert to understand how bad that can turn out.

The first step towards ending your self-destructive behavior is developing awareness.

1. Physical and Mental Negligence

Ignoring that constant pain in your neck or trying to drown the very same thoughts that pop in your mind each night before you go to sleep won’t make them go away. It’s the very same with cleaning – if you cover up all the dirt with a carpet, that doesn’t mean your home is clean. As a matter of fact, it means it will only get dirtier in time.

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Listen to what your body is trying to tell you in both physical and mental terms. The human body has its own natural alarms like the ones you install in your home, e.g. smoke detectors or those for household security. I’m sure you wouldn’t let an intruder come into your home, steal your stuff and harm you physically – you should simply react the same way to the signals that your body is sending to you.

2. Antisocial Behavior

Spending quality time with your mind is one thing, but being way too much inside your own head is not exactly healthy. Saying “no” to a cup of coffee and skipping a pleasant talk with a friend because you’re nervous can only make things worse – you’re not filtering out your anxiety, you’re allowing it to grow and multiply inside of your head.

There’s an opposite extreme to this behavior and that’s being too social – avoiding solitude can imply that you’re avoiding a problem that needs to be solved. Obviously, moderation is the key and you should try to find a balance here.

3. Acting a Martyr

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    Blaming the whole universe by asking why does everything always happen to me only magnifies your problems. We live in a world where good things happen to bad people – it’s not fair, but we need to deal with that harsh truth.

    That being said, you should take responsibility and take action, because no one will live your life instead of you, nor fix your problems.

    4. Over/Under Eating

    Unhealthy eating habits are a disease of the modern society – food became irrelevant at some point and we just forgot about its main purpose altogether. Starving yourself because you have a busy schedule and simply not enough time, or perhaps because you’re trying to achieve an unrealistic body figure that’s reflected on covers of magazines isn’t a price worthy enough, because you’re paying with your health. Your eating habits affect the quality of your sleep, especially if you try to replace a full meal with energizing beverages or junk food.

    The same thing goes with overeating – you can start small, by having an innocent snack at four AM, but it can end with high blood pressure, cholesterol issues and heart problems. If you’d put in some effort in preparing healthy meals and work out a schedule that meets the needs of your body, you’d feel more energized and more capable throughout the whole day.

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    5. Substance Abuse Instead of Coping

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      Another very efficient way to silence your mind and forget all about your problems is substance abuse. If you’re prone to alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, you’re on a certain path that leads to serious health issues – the longer you stay on that path, the more severe the consequences that lay in front of you.

      The fact you refuse to be present in your own life and you’re trying to escape into the world of vices doesn’t at all mean that everything you don’t like about it will disappear or get improved by itself. Those problems that banished you to a dark place will only get bigger if you stay there.

      Facing your demons is never easy, and if you can’t do it by yourself you should turn to members of your family and close friends. For some people it’s hard to have their loved ones watching them trying to fight addictions – if you’re one of them, you should turn to professionals and medical experts who are trained to guide and help you.

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      6. Careless Spending

      Having a problem with money management isn’t uncommon – a significant percentage of people have serious issues with handling their income. However, if your debts are only increasing and if you’re in serious situations where your paycheck can’t cover your expenses, it may mean that you don’t have respect towards your own effort.

      Each paycheck is a reward for your month’s work and the next time you start thinking about purchasing an overpriced item that you don’t really need, remember to remind yourself how much time and skill is invested in that price tag.

      7. Denying Help Completely

      There’s strength to independence, I won’t argue about that – being on your own is tough and it requires both physical and mental preparedness. However, there’s an extreme to this behavior; if you insist on doing everything on your own, even if it’s not on your list of responsibilities, and you deny every bit of help offered along the way, you have a problem.

      Wasting your time and energy because you’re stubborn or spiteful will come back to haunt you, have no doubt about that. Allow people to get closer to you by accepting their help. It will be beneficial on many different levels for the quality of your life – just try and see.

      Having introspectiveness in your set of skills is a smart thing to do – being transparent with yourself will help you realize what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. When that becomes clear, you should be able to steer clear of all the destructiveness that you bring into your life, and that’s something you should be able to live without.

      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/jim-jackson-8721/ via pexels.com

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      Nemanja Manojlovic

      Editor at MyCity Web

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      Last Updated on January 15, 2019

      How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

      How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

      Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

      In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

      Step right up, don’t be shy!

      Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

      The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

      Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

      Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
      So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

      A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

      Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

      Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

      When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

      Culturally Conditioned

      We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

      I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

      The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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      Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

      Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

      Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

      1. Broadens Your Network

      After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

      2. Improves Your Communication Skills

      I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

      Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

      3. Continually Learning

      So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

      Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

      4. Increases Self Confidence

      Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

      Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

      So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

      How to Talk to Strangers

      Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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      1. Say Hello

      Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

      Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

      Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

      2. Ask About Them

      Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

      You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

      As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

      3. Just Do It

      One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

      When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

      Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

      4. Don’t Take It Personal

      One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

      When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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      5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

      I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

      One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

      6. Detach

      A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

      Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

      7. Share Your Stories

      Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

      To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

      So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

      8. Give a Compliment

      Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

      When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

      9. Relax Your Body Language

      If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

      When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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      If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

      10. Practice, Practice, Practice

      Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

      Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

      After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

      The Bottom Line

      As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

      There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

      Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

      Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

      More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

      Reference

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