While most people know that smoking, excessive drinking, and illicit drug pose a definite health risk, they are often unaware of the effect that a bad habit can have on their mental well-being.
Kick the smoking habit in the ash
Each of these activities begins as a way of altering your physical response to stress. For example, in the beginning, nicotine actually reduces stress, feelings of anger, muscle tension, and appetite. The effect is only temporary, though. The more you smoke, the more the nicotine changes your brain. Eventually (often quickly), smoking becomes a habit. As the nicotine in your system is depleted, you experience withdrawal symptoms, reinforcing the habit. These withdrawal symptoms will leave a smoker feeling anxious and stressed.
Think before you drink
Similarly, alcohol is commonly turned to when tensions run high. In the beginning, it works. As a sedative, alcohol affects your central nervous system as a depressant. It will often boost your mood, temporarily.
Long term alcohol use, especially if it is excessive, will lead to “tolerance.” You will no longer experience the de-stressing effect you are looking for. On top of that, alcohol can lead to dangerous, risk-taking behavior and a host of damaging effects to your health. That’s the last thing you need when you are dealing with a stressful situation, already.
Illicit Drugs will Drag You Down
Like alcohol, illicit drugs are often used as a way to self-medicate anxiety and depression. It can be tempting to turn to them as a means of dulling the pain of watching a loved one suffer. Venturing into this territory is dangerous. It can lead to addiction, overdose, and legal problems down the line. They can also interfere with your ability to cope. In some people, illicit drugs can cause a chemical imbalance, leading to, or exacerbating mental illness.
Could Caffeine be a problem?
Before you think you’re off the hook when it comes to quitting, there is one habit you may not have considered. Your morning cup of coffee can be a problem if it turns into several. Caffeine can interfere with sleep, increase feelings of anxiety, and become addictive.
And caffeine withdrawal is no fun at all. If you are drinking more than one or 2 cups of coffee in the morning, consider cutting back. Do this slowly, though. Caffeine withdrawal can cause fatigue and some of the nastiest headaches ever. Like any withdrawal experience, it may include anxiety, depression, trouble concentrating, and even tremors.
How Can You Quit a Bad Habit More Easily?
Along with cutting back slowly, drink plenty of water to combat dehydration. This will ease headaches and fatigue. Also, get plenty of sleep at the right time of day. And with any habit that you are struggling to quit, seek professional help when you hit a roadblock
Once again I will be doing double duty in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I will be sharing ways to avoid burnout, here at Facing Cancer with Grace. At Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways of thinking creatively, using Brainsparker’s Kickstart Course of A to Z prompts. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites.
Do you have a bad habit you need to quit?
What Are Your Thoughts?
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In 2012 doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan, with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, our family has been learning what it means to face cancer. I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.
My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available on Amazon.com
Also, put your memories into words with The Memory Maker’s Journal.
I also blog at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker