Advertising
Advertising

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

In my latest book with Life Hack, 10 Rules of Super Productive People, I discuss the importance of creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy, so as you get 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

Woman 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, and I have 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 my emotional eating series to stop stress eating once and for all.

    2. Nail biting

    Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teethpotentially cause stomach problems, 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.

    Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. 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. Read: How a Relapse Begins: The Key To Removing Bad Habits From Your Life

    3. Hanging out with naysayers

    Naysayer

      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.

      Advertising

      Read: 8 Tips To Tackle Naysayers

      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.

      5. Smoking

      Smoking risks

        Image source: CDC Vital Signs, Sep 2010 issue

        Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally. 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. (Source: Health effects and regulation of smoking)

        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. (Source: Passive smoking)

        6. Excessive drinking

        Beer

          Image by: QuinnDombrowski

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

          Advertising

          • Brain:
            • Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
          • Heart:
            • Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
            • Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
            • Stroke
            • High blood pressure
          • Liver:
            • Steatosis, or fatty liver
            • Alcoholic hepatitis
            • Fibrosis
            • Cirrhosis
          • Pancreas:
            • Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
          • Cancer:
            • Mouth
            • Esophagus
            • Throat
            • Liver
            • Breast

          You can read more about alcohol’s effects on our body here.

          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

            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. “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.

            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. 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! (Source: Potential health risks of red meat)

            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.”

            9. Watching too much TV

            Advertising

            Watch 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.

              Read: 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 practice… not being punctual, but 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). Now you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

              11. Being in bad relationships

              Move on

                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 jerks, 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.

                Read:

                Advertising

                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.

                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.

                Read: 10 Surefire Ways To Be Unhappy in Life

                Get 20% Off: 10 Rules of Super Productive People

                If you find yourself nodding to the ideas in this post, you’ll love 10 Rules of Super Productive People. Chocked full of practical tips and advice, this book is about the 10 critical principles of productivity that I have identified from my years of coaching others and myself to achieve peak results in less time. From practical how-tos, to concrete tips, to real-life examples, this book will help YOU to achieve your maximum productivity.

                For a limited time from now to July 21, 2014, the book is available for purchase at a special 20% off discount. Simply key in the coupon READNOW at checkout to enjoy this discount. Hurry, as the offer will expire soon!

                Featured photo credit: Pretty girl with long hair walking away on a bridge via shutterstock.com

                More by this author

                Celestine Chua

                Life Coach, Blogger

                20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity 11 Practical Ways To Stop Procrastination Hate Awkward Silences? 10 Essential Tips To Be a Great Conversationalist 9 Helpful Tips To Deal With Negative People 9 Ways To Manage People Who Bother You

                Trending in Health

                1Science Says Screaming Is Good For You 2What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively 310 Benefits of Sleeping Naked You Probably Didn’t Know 47 Super Fast Remedies for a Pulled Muscle in Neck 5Signs Your Lack of Sleep Is Slowly Killing You (And How to Turn Around)

                Read Next

                Advertising
                Advertising

                Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

                Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

                There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

                “For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

                Primal Therapy

                Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

                Advertising

                How it Started

                “During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

                It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

                “I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

                Delving deeper

                Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

                Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

                Some Methods To Practice Screaming

                If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

                Advertising

                • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
                • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
                • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
                • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

                After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

                Scream Sing

                Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

                Advertising

                • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
                • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
                • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
                • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
                • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
                • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
                • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

                If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

                Scream into a pillow

                Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

                Advertising

                Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

                Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

                Read Next