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Habits are routine behaviours or practices which we have acquired over a period of time from frequent repetitions and now subconsciously do on a regular basis making them hard to give up. Phew! Sounds like a handful, right?

This applies to good and bad habits alike. Good habits are encouraged because they have a positive impact on your life and ultimately make you a better person. Toxic habits, on the other hand, have a negative impact on your life – mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically as well. You must quit them immediately to lead a happy life.

Every one of us have some bad habits that we knowingly or unknowingly practice. These habits could range from something as small as nose picking in public to one that is detrimental to your health like chain smoking. The faster you give up the bad or harmful ones, the faster you will be on the road to a happier, healthier and more successful life.

So, what are these bad habits that I’m talking about?

#1 Comparing yourself to others

toxic habits
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How many times have you heard your parent or another parent say, “Why didn’t you get as many marks as ABC” or “Why didn’t you get chosen to play in the school team like XYZ?”

All kids have been compared with their peers by their parents at some point in their lives. Some more than others. We have been compared with other children our age or even to kids older than us. This conditions us into thinking that is what we are supposed to be doing even after we grow up so we carry this bad habit with us throughout our lives.

We start comparing ourselves with others to measure success and that is a really bad mindset. Then we might do the same to our children and the cycle will continue.

Comparison only brings with it jealousy and self-pity. This is a bad habit that must be gotten rid of. Your path is different than others. Your life is different than others. Each person is unique in their own way and that is how you should treat yourself as well.

Compare yourself to your past to get better but do not compare yourself to a colleague who got a raise before you even though you have been working for longer or your friend who got married and had kids at an earlier age than you.

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#2 Not getting enough sleep.

toxic habits
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How many times have you stayed up till late to study for your exams or to complete work even when we have to get up early the next day to get to school or work? I know I have been guilty of it on several occasions. We might even think that it won’t affect our body in the long run.

We think it is all good till we do not see any physical repercussions of our actions. But that is not true. Sleeping for less than 6-8 hours (depending on if you’re a child, an adolescent or an adult it varies) is your body’s time to recuperate and heal. You may not notice anything on the outside but your body does a lot of processing and healing inside when you are resting.

With inadequate sleep, chances are high that you will weaken your immunity and other bodily processes. Your body’s ability to produce germ fighters will decrease, hence, making it more prone to infections and diseases.

So, sleeping for the correct amount of time that your body needs is essential for maintaining good health.

#3 Focusing on negative thoughts

toxic habits
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Being positive and spreading positivity might be considered a hype because, let’s face it, we hear a person speaking about positivity at least once a day. But that is not without reason.

You should change your mindset to think positive and be positive and see the wonders that happen. Since a while now, my Instagram is clear of anything that gave me negative vibes and I have started following and interacting with people and pages that spread positivity.

Now every time I scroll through my feed I am met with good vibes that uplift me, motivate me and encourage me to do better than I did yesterday. You should definitely try it too.

#4 Seeking external validation.

toxic habits
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Aren’t we all guilty of this? Social media has been set up in such a way that makes you miss or crave what others have. But you should know that someone’s highlight reel on social media is not a reflection of their entire life. It is only a glimpse into a small part of their lives or a happy fleeting moment that they want to portray.

In recent times, there have been numerous cases where a seemingly happy person on social media has gone through depression or committed suicide. So, what does that tell you?

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Seeking approvals from a virtual social family in some cases where you want their opinions is okay but to constantly seek validation from them is bad. It will only leave you with self-pity and a doubting mindset if what you put out there is not met with the expectations you have from it.

This is a bad habit that you have to definitely give up soon before it messes with and destroys your mental peace.

#5 Holding on to the past

toxic habits

Your past may have shaped you and made you the person you are today but holding onto your past is a bad habit that will have a negative impact and disturb your peace. It will cause you pain, one that you will be self-inflicting on yourself.

Past mistakes of your life are meant to be learnt from, not lived repeatedly time and again. Do not allow your past to dictate your present and your future. What good will you achieve by holding onto something that you cannot change?

Moving on with your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Live life in the present.

#6 Binge-eating when stressed

toxic habits
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Many of us are guilty of stuffing our faces with food when we are stressed, unhappy, or even disappointed. This is a bad habit that will only provide you with temporary relief or comfort.

Stress eating is harmful for not only your physical health in terms of causing obesity or diabetes but is also for bad your mental health. Bingeing on food to get your mind off issues or gorging to gain temporary comfort from stress will only lead you deep into depression and low self-esteem.

Every time you feel like heading to the kitchen, find a way for you to take your mind off of it. Build healthy eating habits and manage your stress in other ways.

#7 Procrastination

toxic habits

There is a saying in Hindi that goes like “Kal kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab” which translates to “What you can tomorrow, do today and what you can do today, do it now”. This saying is so apt for procrastinators.

You might have your reasons to procrastinate. Either you are lazy to do a particular thing now or you don’t have the inclination to complete the task or you might be striving for perfectionism and waiting for the right moment. But whatever your reason, procrastination is a bad habit that needs to go.

Complete your tasks or chores that you’ve been trying to put off first. Is browsing through social media more important than completing your chores? You can go back to indulgence after you’re done. Better yet keep it as a reward so that you will complete your chores quicker.

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#8 Not drinking Enough Water

toxic habits to quit
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Drinking enough water is something that our mothers have drilled into us since we were kids but we are all still guilty of not following it daily. It may seem like a trivial issue because we don’t see its repercussions immediately but by keeping your body hydrated your bodily functions will work like clockwork internally.

Dehydration occurs when you lose more water than your intake which might happen during summers or if you have been in the sun for extensive periods of time on extremely hot days. Your bodily fluid balance is affected which then affects your internal mechanisms.

Drinking 8 glasses of water is the recommended quantity and if you do this on a daily basis, you will feel the difference. It is crucial for your health so get up, drink a glass of water and come back to finish this article.

#9 Not Being On Time

toxic habits to quit

When you are supposed to meet someone at a particular time and you arrive fashionably late it disrespects the other person and the time that they have taken out for you. It is also rude to keep people waiting especially if they have taken the effort to reach on time.

If it is a rare occurrence that you are running late, then call ahead and inform the person you are meeting with. If you delay your meeting, you are messing with their schedule as well. Maybe they had another meeting planned out for later which they will have to cancel or reschedule just because you wanted to spend some extra time in the shower that morning.

Stop this bad habit immediately and start being punctual and arriving early. If you think you are going to be stuck in traffic, provide a later time to meet. Or if you think your earlier appointment might take longer than usual, schedule your next one with a buffer in mind.

Condition yourself to leave 15 minutes earlier to negate sudden hold-ups or try to arrive 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time. The person you are to meet with will appreciate the gesture and you won’t have to apologise at the start of every meeting.

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