In my recent articles, I wrote about things we can do in our lives that have a positive impact on our health. With the “Do’s” hopefully still fresh in our mind I’m going to now put up my “Don’t’s” that I believe to have the most negative effects on our long term health.
In 1964 the Surgeon General put a warning on cigarette packs that smoking can be detrimental to your health. The tobacco companies, just like the one in our county, were very powerful and influential companies. To be able to make such a statement on the product of these companies goes to show the serious risk one was taking when they smoked. Fifty-five years later, these risks have not changed. Cigarette smoking has so many negative side effects on acute and chronic health that it needs to be at the top of all our lists of habits we shouldn’t do. E-cigarettes have been a so-called healthy alternative to smoking; however, several studies I’ve read about link using e-cigarettes to a high risk of depression and heart disease. The best choice for your health is, if you put something in your mouth, you shouldn’t have to add fire to make it enjoyable.
Next, on the don’t list is drinking high sugar beverages. Recent studies are now becoming more consistent and conclusive that sugar-sweetened beverages can influence kidney disease risk. While further research is necessary to comprehensively evaluate all types of beverages in association with kidney disease risk, there’s little doubt that drinking water would not only be healthier but could also initiate losing a few unwanted pounds.
Not getting enough sleep is another no-no on my list. Poor sleep has been linked to heart-related deaths, but the impact it can have on how long we go about our daily lives can also be significant. Some sleep problems are severe enough that medical attention is required, but for many of us living in today’s world it all comes down to what’s going on in our mind when we decide it’s time to shut down for the day. After a car crash that nearly took my life when I was in my early 40s, I made a promise to myself to be thankful for every day and not let the little stressors in life get to me. I put my life into God’s hands on that day, and after he brought me through that, I realized there wasn’t a problem or issue I faced that was worth taking to bed at night. I sleep like a baby and wake up feeling like a million dollars! Get your rest and you will, too.
Don’t spend the majority of your day with your head looking down at your computer or phone. There are those that might find it necessary due to their jobs, and while there may be some chronic health issues associated with constant screen watching (such as neck pain), this is not what I’m referring to. The rise of the smartphone has completely changed the way we live. The younger generations have become addicted to social media, games, and the many other things they do on their phones. Every time I go out to eat, I watch parents with children pull out their smartphones and neglect the little family time we seem to have. Now you might not think this is a health risk, but there, too, you may be wrong. Studies suggest too much screen time could trigger insomnia and depression. It’s also highly likely that if you do have this addiction, there’s probably going to be use while driving, working, and other times that put you at risk.
In conclusion, I do want you to understand that while this list is somewhat my opinion, I am constantly reading up on the most recent research done in all areas of health. This, along with 60 years of living and watching the changes throughout my lifetime, has allowed me to form reasonable opinions that I would ask you to think about.