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5 Habits That Make You Unhealthy (And How To Fix Them)

5 Habits That Make You Unhealthy (And How To Fix Them)

The New Year is coming, so there are resolutions to be made. But before you start promising yourself you will live healthier, why not start by identifying the bad habits you have right now? Most of us are doing small things we are not even aware of, but which does ourselves a lot of damage. Here are some habits I managed to identify in myself.

1. Faulty sleeping habits

The way you sleep can have a lot to do with your posture and your back pains. There are three main sleeping positions: on the back, on the belly, and on a side. The best of them is on the back, because your entire body is sitting straight. Sleeping on your belly forces you to twist your neck, while sleeping on a side requires more support in order to keep your spine straight.

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Regardless of how you like to sleep, make sure your spine is supported[1] and stays straight. Any unnatural curve can lead to back pains, especially in the long run, so always keep an eye on how your body is supported during sleep.

2. Faulty posture

Look around you. Do it! If you are at the office you will see your colleagues sitting in their chairs with their spine awkwardly twisted and their heads tilted forward. If you are on public transportation, you will see people shrinking their entire body due to cold, or keeping their shoulders and heads rolled forward so they can text on their smartphones. Keeping your body in a faulty posture can to alter your health in dramatic ways,[2] damaging your bones and your muscles.

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To avoid having the posture of an elder in your 30s, you can train yourself to sit upright. This is not going to be easy – I am saying this from my own experience! Exercise by dragging your shoulders downwards and backwards, pushing your chest forward. Keep your chin up and breathe deep, as this will exercise your abs and back muscles, as well as the diaphragm. If you have to text, keep the phone as high as needed, so your chin is not tilted downward, dragging the neck with it.

A good way to relax your muscles and relieve some of the pain you will feel as you start improving your posture is getting a massage, either in a massage chair, or by a professional.

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3. Your breath is too shallow

Singers and athletes know very well how shallow other people breathe, and how damaging this bad habit is in the long run. Most people breathe with their upper chest, which means they don’t use the diaphragm, and they take in small amounts of air. This translates into a poorly oxygenated blood stream and body. The correct way to breathe is using your diaphragm,[3] inflating your belly. This enables you to take in bigger amounts of air, inflating the lungs completely. As you do so, your body is going to receive more oxygen, promoting better functions of the internal organs, especially the brain.

4. You’re not getting massages

Getting a massage is often considered a habit of the rich and famous, but in fact you should schedule a massage session from time to time, regardless your revenue. Nowadays, massages are available for everyone, and you can also get your own massage chair[4] or portable massager to help you unwind after a long day. A massage can help your muscles relax, which is going to ease your aches, especially if you are used to going to the gym. Stretching is another important thing to do, as it helps improve your mobility and provides muscle strength. Stretching and massages help you get rid of the lactic acid that builds up in the muscles after a workout. The best way to benefit from stretching and massages is to stretch before and after each workout, and get a massage once a week or twice a month.

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5. Listening to loud music

Remember when your mother told you to stop listening to loud music? Well, she was right! Listening to loud music is a bad habit[5] many people have, especially millennials. However, this habit can lower your hearing sensitivity, and can even lead to hearing phantom sounds, or ear pain. This happens because our ears are not built for listening to loud sounds for extended periods of time. To avoid damaging your hearing, wear ear plugs at loud concerts, and keep the volume of your music down, especially on headphones.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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