Here’s another reason to quit our bad habits: Researchers say they put us in a bad mood.
First: Being a couch potato can boost our odds of depression and anxiety. A long-term study found that low levels of exercise and watching loads of TV were linked to depression. That’s because, our brain, heart, nerves, pancreas, kidney, liver, and muscle cells need a large amount of energy to perform their functions properly. And when they don’t get, we feel lethargic and depressed. But the fix is as simple as lacing up your sneakers. Research shows that exercise floods our brain with feel-good endorphins for hours. Regular exercise also has a positive effect on brain chemicals and mood-related hormones. And you don’t need to kill yourself at the gym to get a mental health boost. Studies show that a 15-minute walk is enough to improve your mood.
Another bad habit that hurts our mental health: Skimping on sleep. Researchers say chronic sleep deprivation dramatically increases our risk of developing stress and depression. That’s because sleep regulates just about every function in our body, so without it, we’re completely out of whack, from our hormones to our brain chemicals. So get at least 7 hours a night.
Then, are you a packrat? Studies link clutter to depression and anxiety. Just looking at clutter makes people feel tired because the eye has nowhere to land. It also raises your stress hormones, which can wear you out. An easy way to declutter is toT ask yourself if you’ve used or worn the item in the last year. If you haven’t, odds are, you won’t, so you won’t miss it.
And the final bad habit that hurts our mood: Keeping up with the Joneses. Researchers say that obsessively comparing our income or possessions makes us depressed. And Facebook only makes it worse, since we’re bombarded 24/7 with announcements from friends getting new cars, new jobs or going on vacation. Instead, experts say be grateful for what you already have. Studies show that keeping a gratitude journal boosts optimism and happiness.