Toxic Triggers: Damaging Habits You Need to Fix July 27, 2017 12:17

Over worked
1: Your tendency to overwork

Being ambitious and driven could mean you're in overdrive nearly all the time. That means your sympathetic nervous system could be stuck in that classic fight-or-flight state that taxes the adrenal system and pumps cortisol and adrenaline into the body.

This leads to weight gain over time, along with shallow breathing, anxiety, higher pulse rate, and an increase in vascular tone...all migraine stage setters, if not outright triggers.

Avoid It: Stimulate your body's natural antidote, the calming parasympathetic nervous system, so you're not constantly stuck in overdrive. Meditation is the gold-standard practice for relaxation and perspective. The health benefits are innumerable and are being borne out by study after study showing that it promotes very real and beneficial changes in body and brain.

lack of sleep

2: Your lack of sleep

For your body's innate processes of detoxification to work at their best, you need plenty of rest. If you're ruthless with yourself and wake up at 5 a.m. every morning to squeeze in a two-hour cardio workout, work intensely late and into the night, and only allow yourself four hours or so of sleep—as one of my patients did—you're not allowing your body's innate detoxification system to work at its best.

Avoid It: To be your healthiest, aim to get eight hours of sleep a night. If you wake in the night, practice dream remembrance, that is, as soon as you start to feel that you are going to wake, instead reject conscious thinking and keep your attention on the dream as tenaciously as you can.

social isolation

3: Your tendency toward social isolation

Loneliness is one of those ubiquitous toxins that fly under the radar, but its effects can nonetheless be devastating. Every day, new studies are confirming that social isolation leads to degenerative health conditions, most notably depression and heart disease.

Avoid It: Make time for friends weekly (and, no, Facebook updates will not do). If you're facing a crisis, try to find a support group with whom to share your feelings.