How to Break Unhealthy Habits
Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - April 22, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —For sure everyone has at least a habit that he or she wants to break, realizing that it is not healthy for him. Breaking an unwanted habit is much more a challenge than acquiring it. Most unhealthy habits tend to develop on their own, without conscious effort on the part of the person to acquire them.

An unhealthy habit often starts as something harmless. It may be prompted by two extremes – boredom or stress. Biting one’s fingernails, for example, does not require conscious decision to do; it just happens when there’s not a thing to do to fill one’s time or there’s a lot to worry about.

When one’s habitual nail biting comes to the person’s attention, she has an unhealthy habit to break. And she becomes anxious realizing that the habit is causing her sore fingertips and that biting her fingernails can cause nail deformation and infection of the gums. To break the habit she may have to learn anti-stress techniques or wear fake nails or keep her nails always groomed or paint on bad-tasting polish.

There are ways to get one out of unhealthy habits that she has unwittingly eased herself into. But then now she has to consciously decide to stop doing it. It takes a firm decision, because habits having become habits already have “a life of their own.”

First of all, it will help a lot to be aware that there is an unhealthy habit that needs to stop. It is said that “the solution to any problem begins by acknowledging that the problem exists.” It is certainly worth the time investment to spend a few minutes for one to figure out any habit that may be compromising his health now or in the near future.

Drinking alcohol. Too much alcohol can trigger fatigue, lightheadedness and high blood pressure.

Health experts recommend setting a limit to the amount of alcohol one consumes, letting friends know that he is cutting down, drinking water before starting a drinking session, and substituting alcohol with a juice drink.

Smoking tobacco. Health hazards associated with smoking are heart attack, breathing difficulty, cancers of the mouth, lungs, throat, stomach, bladder, kidney and cervix. Health officials warn that even occasional smoking is harmful. The person better reminds himself always why to quit and get inspired by others who have benefitted from quitting the habit.

Overeating. The habit can cause unwanted weight gain and high blood pressure. It can be prevented by not skipping meals, eating every four-to-five hours – and understanding one’s hunger, whether it’s real hunger or simply a byproduct of boredom or stress.

Eating junk food. Too much junk food can cause obesity and the consumption of sugary, fizzy drinks can elevate the risk of diabetes. One shall try to eat in small proportions, swapping a junk food for a salad, and try not to eat directly from the container or the package.

Spending too much time on gadgets. Prolonged staring at the electronic monitor is bad for the eyes, and lack of physical activity while being absorbed with gadgets can also deteriorate one’s physical shape. It is important to take breaks every few minutes and go for a walk outside.

Being lazy. A lazy person risks becoming obese, aside from feeling lethargic most of the time. She is likely to miss a lot of fun with friends and miss a lot out of life because of that “heavy” feeling. The simple remedy would be to work out a little while watching TV – like hitting the dance floor or playing with a pet.

Going to bed late. Lack of sleep can lead to headaches, dizziness and a skewed body clock. A conscious effort to go to sleep on time, watching less TV, switching off all gadgets by 9 p.m. is the key. Also it helps to eat less heavy food and make the bedroom dark enough for a sound night's sleep.

Skipping meals. Skipping meals can lead to a breakdown of a healthy routine. It can bring on body weakness, brain drain and poor performance. By having food that appeals to her taste, one is likely to look forward to mealtime. Or, meals can be broken into small snacks, where time sitting at a full meal is a problem.

Healthful living is attainable. It’s only a matter of reigning in one’s habits so that these bring him closer to – instead of away from – his health goals.

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