50 Mistakes That Hinder Your Happiness

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Camille Noe for Fitness Magazine

Your mind and spirit may be the most overlooked—and underappreciated—components of your well-being. But research has shown that nourishing them not only lowers stress, lifts mood and improves relationships but can also protect your health. "Mind, body and spirit are interdependent, so if you take care of your spirit, your body and mind will reap the rewards," says Linda Sapadin, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of It's About Time! The Six Styles of Procrastination (Penguin, 1997). "And if you nurture your body, your mind and spirit."

1. You don’t breathe deeply.

It sounds simple, but studies show that taking deep breaths keeps you alert and relaxed. Make an effort to inhale and exhale for two to three counts each throughout the day.

2. You don’t get enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation can leave you feeling jumpy, disoriented and unable to cope, says Rosalind Cartwright, Ph.D., director of the Sleep Disorder Center at Chicago’s Rush Presbyterian Medical Center. She recommends that you lighten your mood before bed—by reading a humorous book, for example—since being cranky can lead to less- rejuvenating sleep.

3. You've banned chocolate.

"Chocolate stimulates mood-enhancing brain chemicals like serotonin," says Debra Waterhouse, author of Why Women Need Chocolate (Hyperion, 1995). The amount in just two Hershey's kisses will do the trick, she adds.

4. You neglect to exercise

Working out can significantly ease depression, according to a recent study from Duke University. To get the feel-good chemicals flowing, aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week.

5. You stay indoors all day

Lack of sunlight, even during summer, can leave you lethargic and depressed. Just 20 minutes is enough to brighten your outlook, so if you work inside, take a brisk walk outside at lunch.

6. You eat only fat-free food

"Bad" fats, like saturated fat, can lead to high cholesterol and heart damage. But "good fats," such as omega 3's, keep your memory sharp and your mood steady. Good sources include tuna, salmon, flaxseed oil, walnuts and beans.

7. You skimp on calories

Eating too little-less than 1,200 calories a day-can make you tired and irritable, says Kelley Brownell, Ph.D., director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders. Eat a healthy, balanced diet of at least 1,500 calories to maintain energy.

8. You skip breakfast

A recent Canadian study found that having a morning meal of carbohydrates, protein and fat (such as bran cereal with one percent milk) enhances memory. If you're on the run, at least grab a meal-replacement bar.

9. You're still smoking

If the threat of lung damage hasn't convinced you to quit, a new study from the Kentucky Center for Reproductive Medicine discovered that chemicals in cigarettes may lower your libido-and less sex makes for an unhappy relationship. For help kicking the habit, go to quitnet.org.

10. You don't make time for sex

"It's believed that having sex stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins," says Constance Ahrons, Ph.D., director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Southern California in TK. Plus, the intimacy it fosters is the glue that binds couples together. Make time by scheduling a "date" with your partner at least twice a week.

11. You have more than two alcoholic drinks a day

A new study found that women who drink excessively may suffer permanent memory damage. Alcohol also acts as a depressant, ultimately lowering your mood. Stick to one glass of wine at dinner.

Next Up: Mistakes in Career, Relationships, and Emotions!

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Are you guilty of any of these mistakes? Which ones?

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1LIFE4ME1 11/17/2017
I can only find the 1st 11 mistakes in this article and then it ends .....no next page. The title is "50 mistakes" so I assume I am missing 39? Report
ROCKS8ROX 9/14/2017
My number 1 problem is not getting enough sleep. When I don't, I feel less motivated, I tend to eat more(like I'm almost looking to satisfy something). Not good! Great article! Report
I have a hard time with eating properly. I am trying to incorporate fruits and veggies in, but I wind up overloading on carbs. Plus, 1200 calories makes me gain weight. I don't like how people make generalizations about weight loss and seem to think that's the rule for everyone.... Report
Breathing control is important... Report
Not scheduling a time for my spouse and I Report
This list, and the full list is great! Perspective is always a good thing and the little things do make a difference.

Maybe chocolate isn't for everybody, but sometimes having something that is a treat can boost the mood. It can be something you really like, such as orange juice, taking a hike, watching one TV program or reading a book (some of my treats). Treats don't have to be bad or 'off limits' but just taking the time to enjoy something I enjoy is a treat.

I also agree about sex (though I think it's best in a committed monogamous relationship). A long time ago, in some magazine, which I think was woman's day, I read an article about marital advice. A grandmother had told her grand daughter that 'to live your life without a fight, have sex every night'. The article was about this woman trying out this advice after years of marriage and finding the joy it brought her. I think if people are in a committed and monogamous relationship benefit from intimacy and it's one of the things that can become extra effort and extra time, when we feel like we don't have it. Report
Reading this list was an eye opener. So many of these things I really struggle with! I guess one at a time... Report
I do neglect exercise, far more, now, than I ever did. My husband will tell you, that we need to schedule, more "date" nights. Report
I too would like to see the whole list. Report
I like this list--what I can see of it. Where are the other 39? The link to "Next Up: Mistakes in Career, Relationships, and Emotions!" doesn't work, so I can't see them if they're behind it. Report
Sometimes I forget to 'breathe', and then, when I become aware that I need a deep breath and take one, my husband thinks there's something wrong. I can't explain to him or to myself why this occurs. Like a mini-hibernation state or something. I also am a bit of a hermit and have to force myself to go outside ('cause I don't like my neighborhood, so...). Interesting about the chocolate as it's not a go-to food for me though I like it.

Good blog. Thanks! Report
Whenever I breath deeply my daughter thinks something is wrong. I'll need to show her this article... Report
I've never cared anything about chocolate, and Dark Chocolate I hate the taste of for sure. I do Yoga breathing, so that certainly is a positive. Report
Chocolate, Sunshine, Cup of Tea, and a close Friend - WOW brightens my life. Report
Chocolate is medicine and if you add almonds it becomes medicine and nutrition! Report
I love chocolate, I agree getting outdoors even a little bit increases your happiness, great tips. Report
I'm all about chocolate and sex.
The morning would have been a perfect time for me to read this article today, but some deep breathing for the rest of the evening might have to be in order for this kind of rough day. Report
I took some deep breaths after reading this, cause I needed it today!! Report
my cure for "bags" of chocolate is to convert to only eating the really expensive exotic and dark chocolate, so you can't *afford* whole bags at a time, and you savor each little tidbit for the treasure that it is... :^) Report
My husband actually tells me to breathe when we're walking or doing strenuous work around the house because he knows I'll hold my breath without knowing it. If a bag of chocolate comes to my house...my willpower goes out the window and I have to finish off the bag ASAP. Report
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