How to Break Those Unhealthy Habits

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We’re all guilty of having a few bad habits every now and then – it’s inevitable – but what happens when those bad habits become detrimental to your health?

In this article, Dr. Ali Ghahary outlines some of the most common bad habits, how they can impact your health, and what you can do to break them once and for all.

Nail Biting
We all know someone who is a nail biter or have been guilty of it ourselves. Not only is it one of the most common bad habits – it’s an unhealthy one, at that. For example, biting your nails can lead to paronychia – an infection that occurs around the finger nails and causes pain, redness and swelling. Being a nail biter also increases your risk of catching a cold or the flu – especially if you don’t wash your hands frequently.

There are many factors that contribute to nail biting. Stress and anxiety, for example, is a common cause, and can lead to compulsive nail biting. In order to stop nail biting, it’s important that you determine what the underlying issue is and treat it. If mental health is a contributing factor, then cognitive behavioural therapy may be beneficial. If you are struggling with a serious mental illness, such as depression, you may need to be prescribed medications.

Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is considered to be a highly addictive substance. When you inhale cigarette smoke, it travels to the brain and provides you with a temporary feeling of stress relief and relaxation, and that is a feeling you will often want more of, which is how it ultimately turns into a habit – and it can be a difficult one to break.

While some of today’s younger generation might think smoking looks cool and sophisticated, it’s anything but. Tobacco use can have a severe impact on your health. Not only does it smell bad, but it can age your appearance, and can lead to other health problems such as COPD and even cancer.

Readers can find some helpful tips on how to quit smoking in Dr. Ali Ghahary’s article on smoking cessation at

Eating Fast Food
After a long day at work or a grueling day at school full of lectures and quizzes, the last thing most of us want to do is go home to cook dinner. Instead, we’ll head to the nearest drive-through and order a juicy burger and some greasy French fries. While it’s not recommended, you can still indulge in a burger and fries once in a blue moon. That being said, eating fast food can quickly become habit-forming due to how easy it is to get.

If you eat fast food on a regular basis, you’re at risk of gaining weight, which can lead to obesity, as well as cardiovascular problems. So while you may not want to cook, your health will be better off for it.

For ideas on how to eat healthy including tips on meal-prepping, click here.

The bad habits mentioned above are just a few from a much longer list, including lack of exercise, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, emotional shopping, and trichotillomania (pulling out your hair.) Remember, many of these bad habits often occur as a result of an underlying problem, so it’s important to speak with your family physician about anything that might be bothering you. Sometimes getting to the root of the problem can be simple, and you can even notice some immediate (positive) results once you start to break those bad habits.


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