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20 Body Hacks That Will Make Your Life Better

20 Body Hacks That Will Make Your Life Better

1. Condition Yourself to Fall Asleep Quickly

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    Stop hanging out and watching TV in your bed! When you wake up in the morning, get out of bed immediately and don’t go back to bed until you are ready to go to sleep. This will help you to subconsciously associate your bed with sleeping and, over time, it will help you to fall asleep more quickly when you hit the pillow.

    2. Prevent or Force a Sneeze

    To prevent sneezing at an inopportune time, with your mouth closed, try pressing your tongue firmly against the back of your teeth to help prevent your sneeze. While preventing a sneeze is great, there is nothing more annoying than a sneeze that you can feel as a tickle in the back of your throat but never actually initiates. To force a sneeze, try staring up into a bright light.

    3. Stop “Brain Freeze” Fast

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      Brain freeze, the intense pain that we experience after eating very cold foods, is a nerve response to cold food touching the soft palette toward the back of the mouth, especially when that cold food is eaten rapidly. To stop the sensation of brain freeze, try warming up that soft palette with your tongue by pushing it up, flat against the roof of your mouth.

      4. Prevent Acid Reflux

      While there are a number of potential reasons for acid reflux, one very preventable cause is sleeping on your right side. When you lay on your right side, your stomach is higher than your esophagus, which allows gravity to cause acid reflux. Try sleeping on your left side to reduce night time discomfort.

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      5. Hold Your Breath Longer

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        You can hold your breath a bit longer if you hyperventilate first. By taking several short breaths in quick succession, you trick your body into thinking it has a larger oxygen supply giving you more time before your brain starts freaking out.

        6. Remember Data and Solve Problems in Your Sleep

        Research shows that most memory consolidation happens when your mind is in a resting state and as such, reviewing raw material or the details of a complicated problem before going to bed can help you to better remember the data or even devise a solution to the problem.

        7. Improve Your Hearing

        Having trouble hearing a conversation in a crowded place? Lean in with your right ear, it is better at picking up the rhythms of speech. Can’t tell what song is playing softly in the supermarket? Let your left ear do the work, it is better at picking up musical tones.

        8. Reduce Toothache Pain

        Holding an ice cube firmly on the v-shaped area between your thumb and index finger on the back of your hand can reduce toothache pain by around 50% according to one Canadian study.

        9. Reduce Side Pain when Running

        Most people, when running, tend to exhale when their right foot strikes the ground, which actually puts pressure on the liver and causes the dreaded “side stitch” in many runners. Try simply training yourself to exhale when your left foot strikes the ground and take the pressure off your poor liver… which probably takes enough abuse as it is.

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        10. Improve Your Long Distance Vision

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          One potential cause for nearsightedness is what optometrists call near point stress that occurs from staring for hours on end at an up close item like your computer’s monitor. One way to combat this and improve your long distance vision after sitting at your desk all day is to periodically close your eyes, take a deep breath and flex your major muscle groups. Doing this will help the involuntary muscles in your eyes to relax.

          11. Wake a Sleeping Limb

          To revive an arm that has fallen asleep, try rocking your head from side to side, which will reduce tension in your neck and help to ease the pins and needles sensation in your arm. For a leg that has fallen asleep, walking around a bit is still your best option.

          12. Scratch The Itch in Your Throat

          Few things are more frustrating than an itch that lies right outside your grasp and cannot be scratched. Instead of reaching your hand down your throat, try scratching your ear. When the nerves of the ear are stimulated, muscles in the throat spasm, which often relieves the itch in your throat.

          13. Hold Back Tears

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            To avoid publicly weeping, hold your eyes open without blinking and you can usually hold back the tears. If you have already starting to cry, try looking upward without tilting your head to stop up the waterworks.

            14. Clear Your Sinuses

            Alternate thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth and pressing firmly with your finger on the space between your eyebrows (note, if you don’t have a gap between your eyebrows, rethink your grooming routine) which moves the vomer bone back and forth, aiding the sinus passages to clear.

            15. Avoid Blisters When You Burn Your Fingers

            Typically, if you touch something hot, the initial reaction is to reach for some ice, and while that may ease your pain quickly, that’s not necessarily what’s best for your skin as you are going from one temperature extreme to another. Try cleaning the affected area and applying pressure against the palm of your uninjured hand to prevent the burn from turning into a blister.

            16. Prevent a Yawn

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              If you are about to yawn, try touching the tip of your tongue just as your mouth opens to stop this embarrassing display dead in its tracks.

              17. Get Rid of the Hiccups

              There are a million and one home remedies for the hiccups and we all have our personal method of choice, but if you ever find that your go-to technique just isn’t cutting it, give this a shot: hold a breath as long as possible and when you just can’t hold it any longer, exhale as slowly as you can.

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              18. Suppress your Gag Reflex

              The next time you feel the urge to gag, try gripping your thumb firmly within your closed fist to help suppress your gag reflex.

              19. Increase your Memory with Cinnamon

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                Cinnamon is taken by many as a supplement to aid in weight loss, but did you know that just smelling cinnamon can improve both your memory and cognition. Try keeping a few cinnamon sticks in a cotton sachet by your desk and take a deep whiff whenever you need a quick mental pick-me-up.

                20. Keep yourself Awake (without caffeine)

                Before you guzzle that Red Bull or force down another cup of coffee, consider a natural way to keep yourself awake, blue light. Scientists have found that blue light keeps people awake more so than any other color.

                Featured photo credit: Model Man at Central Market, Austin via flic.kr

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                Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

                13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

                Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

                Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

                Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

                1. Stress Eating

                I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

                While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

                I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

                If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

                How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

                2. Nail Biting

                Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

                People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

                Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

                For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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                3. Hanging out with Naysayers

                We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

                Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

                Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

                4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

                Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

                While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

                Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

                Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

                5. Smoking

                Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

                In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

                Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

                Smoking risks

                  6. Excessive Drinking

                  All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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                  According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

                  • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
                  • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
                  • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
                  • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
                  • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

                  If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

                  If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

                  7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

                  Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

                  If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

                  A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

                  “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

                  And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

                  While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

                  Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

                  Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

                  8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

                  There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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                  In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

                  Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

                  Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

                  9. Watching Too Much TV

                  I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

                  Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

                  Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

                  It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

                  10. Being Late

                  Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

                  Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

                  Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

                  11. Being in Bad Relationships

                  Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

                  I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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                  Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

                  12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

                  Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

                  Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

                  Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

                  By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

                  Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

                  13. Focusing on the Negatives

                  In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

                  Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

                  Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

                  And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

                  The Bottom Line

                  So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

                  Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

                  Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                  Reference

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