Remember these words: The poison is in the dose. They apply to all of the following nine items in this rogue's gallery of dangerous things we commonly do to relieve anxiety, stress and boredom. Every one of the following items has a split personality. They may be (and frequently are) a source of pleasure but all have the potential to wreck havoc with your life and health.
Every major study has found a strong relationship between TV watching and obesity. According to research in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for every two-hour increase in TV watching there's a 23 percent increase in obesity and a 14 percent increase in the risk of diabetes. And it's not only because you spend time zoning instead of exercising. TV rewires you to be a passive spectator rather than an active participant in life. It also exposes you to thousands of commercials for junk foods, many of which you consume while watching. Pick a few of your favorite programs and the rest of the time step away from the couch.
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Though (very) moderate drinking has some health benefits, don't overlook the dark side of this drug. Alcohol kills more than 100,000 Americans a year and is a factor in almost 50 percent of all U.S. traffic deaths. Almost 18 million adults in the U.S. abuse it, and almost no one starts out believing they'll be one of the ones who will develop an alcohol problem. Alcohol is highly addictive, depletes nutrients, shortens lives, damages relationships, and usually brings out the worst in people. And if you're drinking to forget, guess what? When you wake up whatever you were trying to forget is still there. Advice: If you're using alcohol to deal with anxiety or stress or other problems, find a better way.
Is there really anyone left on the planet who doesn't know the real deal on smoking? In case you've been out of town for the past few decades, here's the executive summary: Smoking kills ... period. Smokers have twice the risk of heart attack, two to four times the risk of cardiac arrest, and smoking accounts for almost a third of all cancer deaths and 90 percent of deaths from lung cancer. Besides the nicotine and tar, there are a couple of thousand known chemicals in cigarette smoke including 43 known to cause cancer. Guess what — it's just not cool. And, it makes your breath stink.
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Next: Why smoking marijuana is not very relaxing...