According to Aristotle, "We are what we repeatedly do." Given this, it's disturbing how much most people do wrong. People assume that just because everyone does something a certain way, and have for a long time, that it's the correct way to do it. Well, that isn't always the case. Here are six things that you're probably doing wrong.
Although you breathe roughly 17,000 times per day, most of those breaths are probably "chest breaths," a quick shallow breath that is associated with anxiety.
Instead, try cultivating an intentional, deep breath from the diaphragm. Deep breathing helps you relax, lowers your blood pressure, reduces fatigue and increases athletic performance, making it well worth the effort to reform your breathing habits.
Human beings were not evolved to sit in offices all day (check back in a few millennia and see if that's changed). As a result, sitting for extended periods of time can be enough to increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes — even if you work out regularly.
One solution might be to get a standing desk or an exercise ball. However, if neither of these is an option, you can greatly increase your blood flow by simply standing up and walking around every hour, or taking some basic stretches regularly throughout the day. You could also fix your posture and, you know, sit correctly. Your choice.
While on the topic of sitting: Sitting on the toilet (rather than squatting in a field) may cause a variety of health problems. Proponents of squatting over sitting claim that squatting allows you to more fully evacuate the colon, which rids the body of harmful toxins. This remains unproven.
However, a 2003 study revealed that squatting is easier, and thus makes bowel movements less of a strain, which could help prevent hemorrhoids. If you're interested in squatting, check out a product called "Nature's Platform." It's a $150 homemade device that fits around your toilet to make it more like using the outdoors.
According to Time magazine, only 5% of Americans wash their hands correctly. In the study, only 5-out-of-100 people observed washed their hands for 15 seconds (a standard that doesn't even meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended 20 seconds). Twenty-three percent of those observed didn't use soap, and 10% didn't wash their hands at all.
The lesson here: Wash your hands, people. Sing "Happy Birthday" twice to measure the amount of time, and use soap.
According to Business New Daily, Americans spend an average of 23 hours per week on the Internet. That's almost an entire day per week devoted to online time.
This time includes everything from checking email to watching TV and playing online games. If you're going to spend this much of your life on something, make sure you're doing it right. Choose activities you really enjoy, and research sites before subscribing. Maybe use that some of that time for a little mental workout — for example, AARP.com has a brain game section that can help you work on your memory, attention and problem-solving skills.
Did you know that it's impossible to truly multitask? Those who come closest are actually switching their attention back and forth really quickly. However, this creates a constant, low-level distraction that can keep you from being as productive as you could be.
Instead, try working in intensely focused, but short, intervals. The brain needs breaks, so even though listening to music might help you work for hours at a time, it's actually more productive to work intensely for 30 to 45 minutes, and then take a 10-minute break. (Just be sure that when your break is over you go back to work!)
As you can see, there are many ways that making small changes to your routines can make a big difference in your life. So why not try a few? Pick two or three life hacks and really commit to them for a week, or a month, and see how your life improves. Then, if you like the results, pick a few more. What do you have to lose? It's free!