Personal Development

7 Toxic Habits That Can Affect Your Happiness

Do you have any toxic habits? Here is a short list of some of the more common ones to help you recognize if you have a potential toxic habit that you should drop.

It’s surprising how many of us can fail to recognize and, therefore, curb our own destructive toxic habits. It could be that we find ourselves in a state of denial and kid ourselves into thinking that we are still in control.

But before we can recognize these habits, what do we mean by a ‘toxic habit?’ Well, put simply, it is any acquired negative and harmful involuntary behavior pattern.

#1 Drinking too Much

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

In today's increasingly stressful and busy world, it is easy to start over-imbibing. For many people, sitting down and relaxing with a glass of chilled wine after a particularly hard day is the best way to unwind. Right? Unfortunately, it is easy for that occasional drink to turn into a daily habit and that glass to turn into a bottle.

We need to remember that drinking too much is a toxic habit. It’s harmful not just to our health, but can also adversely affect our memory, cognitive abilities, social skills, and, sadly, our relationships.

#2 Overeating

Woman eating a yummy cheeseburger

“Almost everyone I've ever met who overeats is doing so on behalf of an old self (a discouraged child, an unpopular teenager, a self-conscious young adult) who no longer exists.” – Deepak Chopra

Comfort eating is another common trap to fall into in these tough and challenging times.

These days, finding cheap and tasty but really unhealthy snacks and meals couldn't be easier. The temptation is all around us 24/7. But just like booze, overeating is one of those things that can easily creep up on us until we suddenly find ourselves overweight and suffering all the negative side effects.

For a healthy and happy life, it is absolutely essential that we have a healthy and balanced diet.

#3 Being a Walk-Over

“You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” – Tony Gaskins

People pleasing and not standing up for ourselves is an easy and pernicious toxic habit to fall into.

It can start from an early age when, as insecure and vulnerable children, we are told never to question parents, teachers, or anyone in charge. This deep-rooted behavior can continue uninterrupted into a miserable and unfulfilled adulthood.

What are the key signs? Well, the most obvious ones are the inability to say “No,” a history of unbalanced relationships, unsuccessful jobs, and a glaring lack of self-worth.

The good news is that everyone can increase their self-confidence and learn to say “No.” It just takes practice and determination.

#4 Over-Exercising

Tired young woman wiping face while working on row machine in fitness studio

“Let exercise be your stress reliever, not an excuse to harm yourself.” – Mat Hiscox

We have all seen or known someone who lives at the gym, does every class, is stick thin yet literally seems to be falling apart. Obsessive and compulsive over-exercise is an incredibly harmful and toxic habit. Not only can it bring on extreme fatigue, injuries, and long-term health problems, but also a host of mental illnesses, anxiety, relationship problems, and a non-existent social life.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, take heed: Cut down on the exercise and start enjoying life's other pleasures.

#5 Worrying

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” – Leo Buscaglia

Okay, so everyone has a little worry now and again. That's normal. But some people are stuck in this pattern as their default mode.

The truth is that worrying is quite literally a killer. It is a destructive and highly toxic habit that destroys the body, saps our energy, ruins sleep patterns, and stops us from taking decisive action.

But, like most things, there is a way out. If you are a worrier, I suggest you seek help from friends, family, or a professional, so you can start living a full and healthy life again.

#6 Over-Shopping

Woman with bags in shopping mall

“When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking.” – Elayne Boosler

Yes, over-shopping is a toxic habit. People who over-indulge in retail therapy more often than not are trying to purchase happiness. But as much as we would all like, happiness cannot be bought.

When we waste money on things we don’t really need, we can not only end up shackled in debt but also deeply unsatisfied with what we have and forever craving the next spending spree fix.

So, do yourself a favor cut down on the unnecessary spending. If you want to give money away then find a worthwhile charity. You will feel better and so will the planet.

#7 Social Networking Addiction

“These days, most of us have the attention span of a meth-addicted squirrel.” – Kristen Lamb

If you feel uncomfortable that you haven't had a fix of social media for a few hours or need to post at least 10 selfies a day, chances are you probably have a toxic habit. Other tell-tale signs are spending hours every day mindlessly browsing, being obsessed with gathering new ‘friends' or ‘followers,’ feeling the need to report to the world every tiny minutiae of what you have been doing, and posting pictures of every meal and place you have visited.

Perform a reality check from time to time, switch off the internet and go out and start enjoying face-to-face relationships and the joys of the offline world.

So there you have it – a brief overview of just some of the toxic habits that we can have. The good news is that all of them can easily be recognized, and with some attention, self-discipline and perhaps a little help from friends and family, they can all be suitably managed and happily resolved.

About the author

Eleanor Goold

As well as being an avid reader, Eleanor is also a big time animal lover; especially of dogs. If you have a tail, four legs and you bark…. you’re in! In her spare time she enjoys swimming, and vegetable gardening… but not at the same time (it can get a bit messy).

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