7 Things You Do Every Day That Are Actually Really Bad For You

I am not trying to be, like, a fear-monger here–I would never!–but I think we have officially reached the worst time of the year. I mean, yeah, it’s the peak of fall, which is objectively great, but there are a bunch of other, objectively not-so-great things that are also going on. There’s the election, for example, which not many people would fault you for thinking is the scariest part of your Halloween. Hordes of clowns are (allegedly) roaming the streets, too, which is not unique to this part of the year per se, but is symptomatic, I think, of both Halloween and the general air of despair that has permeated all of 2016 and just so happens to be culminating now. It’s also the time of year where everyone–everyone–is getting sick with colds, flus, and other cold weather-related ailments. Your classmates are sick. Your teachers are sick. You might me sick, too, and if you aren’t now, you probably will be soon.

See? Worst time of the year. While there is not much you can do about the clowns and Donald Trump’s general existence (other than voting, which you should do if you can!), there are some things you can do to prevent getting sick by changing some habits that you probably have. So, whether you want to take more control of your overall health or are just, like, really not trying to get sick this year, check out these weird things you do every day that are actually really bad for you:

Biting Your Nails

If the superficial reasons for not biting your nails--ruined manicures, inflamed cuticle, chipped teeth--aren't enough to make you stop doing it, there are definitely some other, more pressing, reasons to hold off. Since your fingernails have a small amount of space, they're basically harbors for bacteria (bad bacteria, like E. coli), meaning that chewing them can lead to sicknesses from colds and flus to hepatitis and HPV facial warts.

Image source: iStock


I don't know if you've noticed, but there have been a number of hyperbolic headlines over the past few years about how sitting (which, I would imagine, is something you are doing right now) can kill you. Exaggerations aside, this, unfortunately, is pretty much true. Will you keel over right now if you happen to be sitting down? No. But being sedentary for six-plus hours a day (which is the average for adults in the United States) can increase your chances of heart disease, diabetes, and blood vessel damage, even if you exercise. This is sort of a frustrating health guideline because, if you're like most people, much of your life probably requires sitting--like, if you're in school, it's going to be hard to explain to your teacher that you can't come to class because "sitting is bad for you"--but just try to be cognizant of how sedentary you are in your free time. If you can, get up and move around a little bit every hour or so.

Image source: iStock

Holding In Your Gas  

You're not the only one who's held in a fart here or there--it's commonly accepted as the polite and self-aware thing to do if you're in a public area, after all--but, as you've might already suspect due to the way it feels, it's not actually great for you. Holding in gas can induce severe bloating and stomach aches. So, let it out! Just try to do it in private, or, at the very least, an area with some moving air.

Image source: iStock

Getting A Salad Instead Of What You Really Want

 Some good news! If you're at a restaurant and you're trying to be healthy, you might be better off getting a burger rather than a salad, because most conventional salads that sound super healthy, like Chicken Caesar and Chef Salad actually have more calories than a Big Mac. Obviously, you shouldn't use calories as your only basis for health, and if you happen to enjoy salad, definitely go ahead and get it. But you shouldn't ever force yourself to get a salad over something else you want more, either, especially since the payoff might not be what you imagine it is.

Image source: iStock

Using Alarm Clocks

If you dread the sound of your alarm going off every morning, this doesn't necessarily mean that you're lazy--rather, it could just be a normal bodily reaction. Basically, alarm clocks mess big time with your circadian rhythm (your internal body clock that tells you when you should feel sleepy and when you should wake up) because they interrupt your own natural patterns of sleep, which leads to feelings of excess fatigue throughout the day. Obviously, it can be hard to get rid of an alarm clock completely, but try to either take breaks from it whenever you can or get an alarm clock that adheres to your circadian rhythm.

Image source: iStock

Showering Too Often

Most people take showering daily for granted. But a lot of hygiene experts actually say that most people shower way too much, and that over-bathing can lead to some serious health issues. It can dry out your skin, for one, which often makes it cracked and thus more susceptible to germs. It can also strip your skin of its natural oils and destroy any good bacteria you have that helps you fight off germs. Because of this, many doctors say that showering once or twice a week is ideal. If that's not ideal for you (or the people around you) try not to lather up your entire body--just pay attention to certain parts that feel dirty.

Image source: iStock

Washing Your Hands With Antibacterial Soap

It would be easy to assume that antibacterial soap, with its fancy, scientific-sounding name, is automatically better for you than regular soap. But this actually isn't the case--first of all, you don't actually want to kill all of the bacteria in and on your body, since some of it is produced naturally and is actually good for you. Plus, not only has antibacterial soap not been proven to be more effective than plain soap, antibacterial soaps can actually create their own antibiotic bacteria, since over-using antibiotics can cause resistance and mutations, and interfere with your body's secretion of the thyroid hormone.

Image source: iStock

Were you surprised by any of these things? Which ones? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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