These Daily Habits Are Just As Bad For You As Smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is a terrible habit. In fact, you can’t turn on the television these days without seeing an anti-smoking commercial. However, there are many other habits we create in daily life that are incredibly dangerous to our health, too. How many of these 15 habits do you have?

Sitting at a desk all day

Senior teacher at desk talking to adult education students

It’s important to get up and move. | monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

You’ve probably heard at some point in your life that it’s bad to spend too many hours sitting. But that’s because it can truly wreak havoc on your body. Mayo Clinic reports that those who spend the majority of their lives sedentary had an increased risk of death that was similar to risks posed by obesity and smoking. Experts suggest taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes or purchasing a standing desk for work.

Next: Consuming this is a bad habit. 

Eating fried foods

KFC Popcorn chicken

Fried foods contain trans fat. | Mike Mozart/Wikimedia Commons

Fried foods might be delicious, but your body won’t thank you for eating them. There are some exceptions, but most fried foods are high in trans fats. Trans fats are made when oil reaches very high temperatures. Frying foods means ingesting trans fats, and they’re very hard for the body to break down. As a result, they lead to weight gain, which could turn into an obesity problem. Try eating baked foods instead of fried foods to cut down on the fat content.

Next: Too many people have this habit. 

Not getting enough sleep

Senior woman sleeping on bed in bedroom at home

Getting too little sleep is a bad habit. | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

Studies suggest a good night’s sleep matters just as much as exercising and eating healthy. Sleep is the body’s way of rehabilitating itself; when you don’t get enough, it makes it difficult for your body to perform properly. A lack of sleep can mess with your digestive system, immune system, and mental health, among other things. It can lead to weight gain and put you at a greater risk of getting sick. Aim for seven to nine hours of shuteye each night.

Next: If you do this when you don’t need to, you’re compromising your health. 

Eating when you’re not hungry

fast food

Eating when you’re not hungry paves the way for obesity. | Mukhina1/Getty Images

Eating out of boredom is a bad habit that can literally take years off of your life. When you eat without thinking, you’re consuming calories for no real reason. Excessive calorie intake leads to weight gain, and obesity often leads to further problems such as diabetes and heart disease. It can do similar damage to your body as smoking. Most people need around 2,000 calories or day, but that can vary depending on your size and level of activity.

Next: This is also an eating habit to avoid. 


Eating festive breakfast

Don’t eat more than you need to. | Shironosov/Getty Images

Eating when you’re not hungry paves the way for general overeating. Have you ever been full but your meal was so delicious you just couldn’t stop eating it? That is overeating. If you’re worried about eating too much when you go out, immediately save half of your meal for later. This way, you know you’ll only eat half now, but you’ll still have more to enjoy later or the following day.

Next: Your eyes suffer the most from this habit. 

Staring at a screen for hours

Overweight woman working on her computer

Too much screen time can damage your eyes. | Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images

Spending too much time on your phone or in front of the computer isn’t good for you, either. While it may not have the effects smoking has on your body, it can cause serious eye damage down the road. This includes blurred vision and trouble focusing. Staring at a screen for too long can also lead to chronic headache, neck, and shoulder pain, according to WebMD. Take a break from the screen every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds.

Next: Don’t put too much of these in your diet. 

Eating foods high in sodium

fast food burger and fries

High-sodium foods are bad for you. | Digital Vision./Getty Images

Sodium, which is found in salty foods, can cause major cardiovascular problems. Sodium affects the kidneys’ ability to work properly, which can leave your blood cells retaining water. This makes it harder for oxygenated blood to travel through the body. It eventually leads to thicker artery walls, which can cause heart disease or a heart attack. Stick to a diet of no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day — the average American eats about 3,400 milligrams daily.

Next: Doing this too much can be bad for your mental health. 

Spending too much money

happy woman with shopping bags

Shopping is fun, but debt is dangerous. | yuriyzhuravov/iStock/Getty Images

Driving yourself into major debt is another horrible habit. In addition to running your bank account dry, debt can have serious emotional effects. A study out of the United Kingdom found that half of all people who were in debt also had poor mental health. In terms of lifespan, mental health is just as important as physical health. Not getting your brain the help it needs can lower your lifespan in the same way obesity and smoking can.

Next: This is fine in moderation — but too much is a very bad thing. 

Drinking too much

That drink may hit you harder than you think.

Too much alcohol is bad for you. | Bogdanhoda/Getty images

In moderation, alcohol can be good for you. But too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing. Drinking too much alcohol can have negative effects on your health. According to Healthline, chronic alcohol abuse can lead to permanent negative effects on the brain’s function. Alcohol is also a depressant, which means it can negatively affect your mental health. Only consume alcoholic beverages in moderation.

Next: This can lead to a deadly form of cancer.

Forgetting to wear sunscreen

Woman choosing sunscreen

Don’t leave the house without sunscreen. | RossHelen/Getty Images

Everyone gets sunburn every now and then. But if you never leave the house with sunscreen, you’re doing serious damage to your skin. And that damage may show itself in the form of cancer. Failure to use sunscreen can lead to melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. Besides promoting premature wrinkles, a lack of sunscreen could cost you your life.

Next: If you’re sick and always do this, you’re forming a dangerous habit. 

Using medication when you don’t need it

medication on a table

If you don’t need prescription medication, don’t take it. | DedMityay/iStock/Getty Images

Using any form of prescription medication that you don’t need can lead to serious problems. If you’re using antibiotics you don’t need, you’re contributing to antibiotic resistance — the action that’s responsible for the creation of superbugs such as MRSA. Using painkillers when you don’t need them may make you develop an opioid addiction, which is a serious issue in the U.S. Opioid overdose rates have skyrocketed over the past two decades.

Next: This can have an extremely negative impact on mental health. 

Constantly comparing yourself to others

brunette looking at her reflection

Don’t over-analyze yourself. |

This habit impacts mental health more than physical and may relate more to the younger generation. With social media in full force, it’s nearly impossible not to look at others and feel down about yourself. But constant negative thoughts can impact the quality of your life and even affect your performance at work or school. It can also lead to mental illnesses such as serious anxiety and depression, which can impact your lifespan.

Next: If you sweat the small stuff, you could take years off your life. 

Getting stressed over small problems


Don’t sweat the small things. | Amazingmikael/iStock/Getty Images

Worrying about the small things can create a stressful lifestyle. Too much stress can negatively impact your mental health as well as potentially increase your blood pressure. High blood pressure has a direct negative effect on heart health and may lead to heart disease. Plus, stressful situations may lead to stress eating, which can cause weight problems.

Next: Don’t skip this. 

Skipping breakfast

Porridge from oatmeal

Don’t skip breakfast. | ArtCookStudio/iStock/Getty Images

You’ve heard the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And this is actually true. Breakfast literally breaks the fast that your body was in overnight. If you don’t eat in the morning, you don’t start your body off with the fuel it needs. Studies have shown that those who skip breakfast are more likely to overeat throughout the day. This can cause the metabolism to become confused and may lead to weight issues down the road.

Next: Failing to do this can actually kill you. 

Failing to spend time with friends and family

Family arriving at vacation rental

Family and friends are so important. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Relationships are important to quality of life. A recent study that analyzed three million participants found that loneliness was a large contributing factor in deaths of those under 65 years old. People who cultivate deep relationships are more likely to live a longer life than those who only socialize on the surface. Failing to keep up a relationship with family and close friends can actually take years off your life.

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