With stress and anxiety more prevalent in our society than ever, it’s time to look at the ways our health habits contribute to our state of mind. You know what it takes to be healthy—eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep—but the ability to reduce stress in your life is another important aspect of overall good health.
In fact, there are habits you might be doing on a regular basis that increase your stress and anxiety. Take a look at some of the most common of these bad habits and learn how you can trade them in for healthier options that benefit your mind instead.
1. Practice yoga instead of laying down on the couch.
After a stressful day, nothing sounds better than vegging out on the couch when you get home. While rest is an important component of stress management, laying down and doing nothing actually does more harm than good—you may even disrupt your circadian rhythm and have a hard time sleeping at night. Consider hitting a yoga class instead to reduce stress and calm your mind, while also building up your strength and flexibility.
2. Swap out smoking for vaping.
While not exactly the best solution for stress and anxiety, nicotine is not particularly harmful in and of itself. The danger of inhaling tobacco smoke – the most common way people consume nicotine – is the burnt particles you’re allowing into your lungs. These particles contain dozens of known carcinogens. It’s for this reason that vaping serves as a healthier alternative to smoking. In addition to nicotine levels being adjustable, the catalog of vape flavors as showcased at ZampleBox.com is seemingly endless. Unlike the tobacco in traditional cigarettes, the “e-juice” in “e-cigarettes” is not heated to the point of burning but still hot enough to generate vapor. This enables users to count on nicotine to relieve stress and anxiety without making them inhale dangerous toxins in the process.
3. Play a sport instead of watching one on TV.
As our culture becomes more reliant on technology, we are exercising less and less. Not only has this taken a toll on our waistlines, but our mental health has suffered, too. During the times when you’re not at your computer for work or school, it’s important to fill in these gaps of time with as much physical activity as possible. This includes getting outside and playing a sport in person, rather than sitting down and watching a game on TV. If you simply can’t miss the big game, consider working out while you watch it, whether that’s lifting weights or hitting the treadmill.
4. Trade your afternoon coffee for decaffeinated tea.
If you’re craving coffee throughout the day as you are with cigarettes, you may be addicted to caffeine. This is another type of stimulant that can create a vicious cycle on the mind—not only do you crave the caffeine to stay “awake,” but the caffeine itself is another type of stimulant that can increase your stress and anxiety. Such effects can explain you becoming cranky within a couple of hours after having your afternoon latte. A better solution could be decaffeinated tea—chamomile, hibiscus, and orange blossom are all good options that can fulfill your need for a pick-me-up without the anxiety-inducing caffeine.
5. Hang out with your friends in person instead of online.
Social media has made “staying connected” with our loved ones easier than ever. However, this convenience can also take its toll on your mental health. Despite the fact that you might have more “friends” than ever online, nothing beats an old-fashioned get-together in person. Even a weekly meet-up with a friend will improve your mood significantly.
Stress and anxiety management takes time and effort. By swapping out these five bad habits for healthier versions though, you’re off to a good start to taking better care of your mental health.