No matter how health conscious you try to be, everyone has bad habits. It’s a normal part of life! But the longer you participate in these bad habits—like stress eating or sitting too much—the harder they are to quit. Don’t put yourself down. Make a positive change in your life by kicking the bad habits and picking up healthy ones instead.
Ditch: Stress Eating
Emotional eating, or stress eating, is a common bad habit. For many, food is comforting. Eating ice cream when you’re sad is okay on occasion, but if you find yourself reaching for an unhealthy snack every time you’re upset, it could turn into a larger problem. In the long run, stress eating could lead to weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Try: Healthy Eating Habits
If you feel the urge to start eating during a stressful situation, take a step back and switch up your eating habits.
- Wait a few minutes. When you find yourself rushing to the pantry for a snack, take a few minutes to stop and think. Are you hungry, or are you feeling angry, anxious, stressed, or bored? If you’re not hungry, address your feelings in a different way.
- Eat consistent meals. Eating balanced meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can help prevent binge eating. Try to avoid snacking and wait until meal times to eat.
- Pick healthy snacks. Instead of grabbing a bag of potato chips, pick a healthier snack. Fruits and vegetables help fill you up and give you energy—two things you likely won’t get from an unhealthy snack.
Ditch: Sitting Too Much
Whether you’re sitting at a desk, behind the wheel, or on the couch, any extended sitting can be harmful. According to Mayo Clinic, sitting for long periods of time is linked to a number of health conditions like obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol levels, and cardiovascular disease.
Try: Moving More
If you have a job that requires you to work at a computer, you may sit for upwards of eight hours per day. While you can’t ditch sitting altogether, start integrating some healthy habits into your work day:
- Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes
- Go on a walk during your lunch break
- Try a standing desk
- Stand while watching TV or talking on the phone
Ditch: Focusing on the Negatives
Being upset or in a bad mood occasionally is a completely normal human response. In fact, research shows that 95% of our thoughts are repetitive, and of those thoughts, 80% are negative. Not everything in life goes to plan, and that’s okay. But for those who have low self-esteem and/or struggle with depression, looking at things with a glass-half-full perspective can be daunting and extremely difficult.
Try: Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Sometimes, little things can go a long way in terms of our outlook on life. Here are a few ways to help you think positively:
- Make a list. Start or end your day by listing things you’re grateful for.
- Meditate. Meditation can help you find inner peace and reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression.
- Replace negative influences. Identify the sources of your negative thoughts—this could be social media platforms, people, etc., and try to replace them with sources of positivity.
Bad habits are hard to break. It may take some time, but if you try to focus on replacing these habits with healthy actions, it will be easier to move toward a healthier and happier you.