I think most of us try to make good choices when it comes to our health and wellness, or at least try to avoid making bad choices on a regular basis. But unfortunately for us, even choices that seem fairly harmless can have unforeseen consequences!
In fact, I recently learned about a whole set of choices that happen to share the same unfortunate consequence of accelerated aging. And I have to say, finding out that some of my habits were undermining the efforts I make to take care of my overall health was initially pretty distressing!
However, becoming aware of the hidden consequences of those habits enabled me to start correcting them, so it was ultimately a positive thing in the long run. And to help ensure that you are all aware of habits that can contribute to accelerated aging too, that’s exactly what we’ll be exploring in today’s post.
So let’s get right into it, because I think you’ll find this information as enlightening as I did!
13 Surprising Habits That Can Lead To Faster Aging
1. Not Wearing Sunscreen
If you don’t take the time to apply sunscreen before spending time outside, your skin has no protection from the sun’s rays. Over time, sun exposure worsens things like wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin, and other signs of aging.
Make sure your face is always protected from the sun by adding a daily moisturizer with SPF to your beauty routine. And always apply sunscreen to all of your skin before heading outside!
2. Sleeping On A Rough Pillowcase
Our skin gets thinner and more sensitive as we age, and that can amplify the impact of the choice you make that affect your skin. One such choice that can make a surprisingly big difference to your skin is the material of your pillowcase!
Sleeping on a rough or cheap pillowcase can form creases and lines on your skin as you sleep, and even contribute to fine lines and wrinkles. Consider swapping your old pillowcase out for a silk pillowcase, which is much gentler on thin and sensitive skin.
3. Being A Perfectionist
The idealized depictions we see of other people’s lives on social media can form unrealistic expectations about who we “should” be. Attempting to be a “perfect” mom, wife, friend, or employee is not only setting yourself up to fail, but it can even contribute to aging too.
Perfectionists are constantly plagued by swirling doubts and negative thoughts that can trigger the production of stress hormones. Over time, elevated stress hormones can take a physical toll in the form of aging.
4. Not Taking Care Of Your Teeth
I was surprised to learn that our teeth are one of the first things to start showing signs of aging, particularly if you’re not taking very good care of them. To keep your mouth healthy and your smile nice and white, make sure to brush and floss daily and get regular dental checkups.
You can also try a homemade teeth whitening treatment, like the one I shared in this post!
5. Ignoring Your Mental Health
As if struggling with mental health problems like depression or anxiety weren’t already unpleasant enough, psychological distress can also lead to accelerated aging. Our mental health and physical health are linked in all sorts of complex ways, so it’s important to take care of both!
If you’ve been struggling with your mental health recently, don’t wait to reach out and get the help you need. Your primary care provider and the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline (1-800-662-HELP) are great resources for information about mental health services near you.
6. Always Staying In
I’m sure we’ve all had our fill of “staying in” over the past year, but there are other reasons to look forward to getting together for a girls’ night again! Those with a strong social network of friends and family tend to live longer (and happier!) lives than those who don’t have strong social support systems.
So make sure to accept those Facetime calls or invites to lunch on occasion, especially if you tend to something of a homebody. Because maintaining your relationships with your friends and family is good for your health! 🙂
7. Eating Junk Food
Overindulging on junk food may be hurting more than just your waistline! Getting more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet will help lower your risk of heart disease and protect against degenerative diseases.
8. Having A Loaded To-Do List
As I mentioned previously, stress can have all sorts of negative impacts that can contribute to aging. Stress can increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and even stroke. Find ways to relax, and ask for help when you need it!
9. Starting Every Day With Coffee
Starting your mornings with a cup of coffee may not be the best choice. Coffee lowers levels of DHEA, a hormone that reduces inflammation and keeps your skin looking youthful. If you don’t want to cut out coffee completely, try swapping it out for a cup of green tea a few times a week!
10. Hunching Over Your Computer
Hunching over a computer all day puts stress on your spine and can even lead to arthritis. Make sure to practice good posture if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer like I do!
11. Using A Straw
I never thought that sipping from a straw could contribute to aging, but it’s true! Regularly using a straw can contribute to wrinkles around your mouth, so opt to sip straight from the cup instead.
12. Not Wearing Sunglasses
There are more benefits to wearing sunglasses than just looking cool. 😉 Sunglasses help shield the skin around your eyes from the sun, which can result in fewer wrinkles and protection against cancer and cataracts. Keep a comfortable pair of polarized sunglasses in your purse or car so you don’t forget to use them!
13. Not Spending Time On Hobbies
When you have a lot on your plate, hobbies and pastimes often fall by the wayside. But researchers from George Washington University found that people who regularly engaged in a hobby had fewer doctor’s visits and needed less medication than their hobby-less peers. Spending time on your hobbies is good for your health, and you’ll be happier for it too!