Side Effects That Will Make You Think Twice About These 17 Nasty Habits

Many people in the world struggle with a bad habit or two. On the surface or in the short term, these behaviors may not seem too bad. But the longer a habit exists, the harder it is to break and the long-term effects can be detrimental to your mind and body. "Our behaviors don't just impact our physical health, they affect our mental well-being, too," psychologist Dr. William Orme told Houston Methodist.


There are many bad habits that are either accompanied by or are the direct cause of harmful side effects, some of which you might not even be fully aware of at first. It's important to remember, though, that every single thing we do in this life comes with a consequence. 

Depending on the habit you are struggling with, be it fingernail biting, drinking too much coffee, or even binge-watching too many TV shows, you may be at risk of developing various health issues. Here's what you should know about the most worrisome side effects of some of your bad habits.

Side effects of fingernail biting

Fingernail biting is incredibly common among children and adults who deal with anxiety as it is their way to attempt to cope with challenging emotions. But as common as fingernail biting might be, it still isn't a habit that should be normalized or accepted due to its nasty side effects. 


Nail biters tend to have more oral cavities than those who don't bite their nails. Think about it, when it comes to normal everyday activities, you use your hands for so many things, leaving germs on your hands and under the edges of your fingernails. Every time you put your fingers in your mouth, you're consuming all of the germs that have been collected there since the last time you thoroughly washed your hands.

Nail biting can even lead to aesthetic damage around your nail beds. Weirdly enough, it also causes your nails to grow much more rapidly, according to a study published in the "Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences" (via The National Library of Medicine). The reason for this is that when you physically manipulate your nails through biting, it metabolically stimulates your growth plates to become way more active than they would've naturally been. 


Side effects of drinking too much coffee

Plenty of people consider coffee to be a magical drink that helps wake them up when they're feeling drowsy. If you need to light a metaphorical fire underneath you in the middle of a slow workday, a cup of coffee might be the first thing that comes to mind. Because coffee contains caffeine, daily drinkers should be aware that they're continually consuming a stimulant that has been known to disrupt peaceful sleep.


If you're the type of person who already struggles with insomnia, then a caffeinated cup of coffee is the last thing you'll want to sip on as your day comes to an end. If you drink coffee too late in the day, it's very possible that it'll be way too difficult for you to fall asleep when you lay your head down at night. To make matters worse, drinking too much coffee can also cause anxiety, heart, palpitations, jitteriness, and intense panic attacks. Those who are already prone to natural feelings of apprehension and worry might want to steer clear of coffee on a regular basis.

Side effects of binge-watching TV shows

Relaxing in bed or on the sofa with your favorite TV show playing out in front of you is considered one of the more common ways to wind down whenever you're spending time at home. Streaming platforms such as Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime are filled with an abundance of options for your viewing pleasure that you can access whenever you choose. However, that endless stream of entertainment can quickly become problematic.


Verywell Health notes that people who spend way too much time binge-watching TV shows may deal with health issues such as blood clots, fatigue, insomnia, heart problems, and cognitive decline, which are all medical problems that can occur if you are too sedentary. To make matters worse, binge-watching TV is also linked to social isolation. If you feel like you're getting your social interactions from fictional characters or random reality TV personalities, it could make you feel less inclined to connect with people in the real world on a face-to-face basis. 

When binge-watching, you're also more likely to make poor diet choices. If you're distracted while eating sugary treats and other junk food items, you might not be aware of how many carbs and calories you're consuming in one sitting.


Side effects of binge-eating fast food

Pulling up to a fast food window drive-through is incredibly easy and convenient, but the side effects of eating too much fast food are alarming. Fast food is appealing due to its availability, affordability, and labor-free ease. You can have a full meal to eat in less than five minutes, for less than $5, without having to spend any time at all preparing a recipe in your kitchen. 


Unfortunately, though, because most fast food is typically made with processed ingredients, eating it excessively can be harmful to your health. Fast food items are low in fiber, which means they aren't doing your digestive system any favors. They are also filled with saturated fat, salt, and sugar. 

Cooking healthy meals at home takes more time and effort, but according to Medical News Today, chowing down on an unbalanced diet of fast food too often can lead to everything from a weakened immune system and inflammation, to being at higher risk for Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer. Fast food meals might seem easy in the moment, but they can end up costing you significantly in the long haul. 


Side effects of binge-drinking alcohol

Enjoying an alcoholic beverage every once in a while isn't a huge deal. Drinking alcohol only becomes a serious health issue if you're consuming way too much of it on a consistent basis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies excessive drinking as eight drinks or more per week for women and 15 drinks or more per week for men. 


The risks related to the overconsumption of alcohol are serious. Binge-drinking alcohol leads to short-term health risks, including injuries from falling down, drowning, or getting into car accidents, and alcohol poisoning. It's also linked to violent acts including sexual assault, suicide, and homicide. Drinking too much alcohol can also cause miscarriages in women who are pregnant, and due to lowering your inhibitions, riskier sexual decisions that may lead to sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancies. 

When it comes to long-term side effects, drinking too much alcohol is linked to heart disease, liver disease, strokes, high blood pressure, and cancer. It can also destroy your mental health and has been known to cause anxiety, depression, and addiction.


Side effects of social media addiction

If you're the type of person who occasionally scrolls through social media to see what's going on with your friends, then chances are you don't have a social media addiction. If you're the type of person who obsessively scrolls through social media in a way that deeply takes away from your happiness, then you might have a serious problem. Some of the unfortunate side effects that come along with social media addiction include feeling anxious or restless whenever you don't have access to your social media profiles.


Social media addiction can also lead to neglecting your real-life responsibilities so you can spend more time online, which can negatively impact your communication skills as well as your in-person social skills over time.

Since social media tends to be a place for people to share the highlights of their lives, it becomes very easy for you to compare your current circumstances to the happy and blissful posts you're seeing from your friends, family members, and favorite celebrities. Doing so can make you feel like you're not doing well in your own life, which can lead to sudden mood changes, anxiety, and depression. 

Side effects of slouching

Slouching is a habit that most commonly occurs in individuals who hunch over a desk at work all day., but staring down at a mobile device regularly can also negatively impact your posture. If you are someone who slouches when you sit or walk, you likely aren't fully aware of how bad your posture looks from an outsider's perspective. You aren't going to be conscious of the way your shoulders slump when you're completing normal day-to-day activities until someone points it out to you.


Acknowledging your slouching problem is vital because the side effects aren't pleasant to deal with. Better Health Channel notes that poor posture leads to a host of issues, including rounded shoulders, the illusion of a potbelly, a head that leans too far forward or backward, back pain, aches and pains all over your body, muscle fatigue, and headaches. If you let your slouching problem go unchecked for way too long, the unused muscles that are supposed to be strong enough to hold your posture straight will only get weaker and less effective over time.

Side effects of sleeping too much

Having a solid night of sleep is absolutely essential when it comes to good health. For many years, the rule of thumb has been to aim for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep to achieve optimal health and happiness. Shouldn't that mean then that sleeping for a few more hours beyond that can only be even more helpful? It turns out that sleeping too much is actually linked to some serious medical issues, all of which can be avoided if you don't spend too much time in bed. 


WebMD explains that sleeping too much has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and an increased risk of death. Obesity, headaches, back pain, and depression are other possible side effects of spending way too much time oversleeping in bed.

For some, oversleeping is an actual medical disorder called hypersomnia. People suffering from hypersomnia feel extremely fatigued and sleepy throughout the day. Even when they take naps, their sleepy feeling never seems to resolve. Hypersomnia causes memory problems, low energy, and anxiety because people affected by it are never able to feel refreshed, even after getting hours of rest.

Side effects of staying up too late

There's nothing truly beneficial about staying up late when you're supposed to be getting a full night of refreshing sleep. There are several long-term effects that come into play when you force your body into sleep deprivation. Some of those side effects include hypertension, heart attacks, strokes, and obesity, according to Sleep Health Solutions. You're also at risk for diabetes, depression, anxiety, faulty brain function, memory loss, immune system deficiency, decreased fertility, and psychiatric disorders. 


Since there are so many things to be worried about when it comes to sleep deprivation and staying up way too late, it's best to stop binge-watching TV shows or scrolling through social media when it's time to go to bed.

For people struggling with insomnia, the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep isn't always a choice. The good news is that there are several helpful medications that can be prescribed by a doctor, as well as natural bedtime supplements that can help insomniacs successfully fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. For example, melatonin and ashwagandha are two natural supplements you can purchase over the counter to try to get some shut-eye. 

Side effects of living a sedentary lifestyle

Living a sedentary lifestyle isn't a healthy way to do things, even if you absolutely love your job and adore your day-to-day activities. If you spend way too much time sitting down in one place without physical movement, your body is bound to start facing some struggles. Some of the more common side effects that come along with living an inactive lifestyle include higher risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity, colon cancer, high blood pressure, lipid disorders, and diabetes, according to the World Health Organization. Your chances of dealing with depression and anxiety may also increase based on how sedentary your lifestyle actually is. 


Some people fight back against their sedentary lifestyle by adding a rotating stepper or wheel underneath their desks at work. Some people simply do their work on a desk bike or adjustable standing desk with a walking pad underneath. There are ways to make sure that your body is getting enough movement in order to avoid long-term health issues. The rule of thumb is to aim for at least 10,000 steps each day. Even if you fall short by half, you're doing better than you would have if you had stayed seated for the entire duration of your day.

Side effects of wearing high heels

As stunning and as stylish as your favorite pair of high heels might be, the unfortunate truth about wearing high heels is that they aren't healthy for your feet at all. Tons of people rely on their favorite high heels for date nights, professional business meetings, and more. Those who are petite may even depend on high heels to add a few inches of height to their physique. Wearing high heels in moderation isn't the biggest deal in the world, but the side effects start to get pretty serious if you choose to wear high heels on a regular basis. 


Sutter Health reveals that wearing high heels frequently can lead to the shortening of your calf muscles, a stiffer Achilles tendon, ankle instability, and increased pressure on the balls of your feet. Since high heels are known to alter your center of gravity, it's also possible that you'll deal with back, hip, and knee pain that hurts you just as much as the pain you'd feel in your feet and ankles.

To make matters worse, wearing high heels too often can lead to deformities such as clawed toes, calluses, ingrown toenails, hammertoes, corns, and bunions.

Side effects of wearing headphones

It's enjoyable to listen to your favorite songs through your headphones while traveling on public transportation, working out at the gym, or taking a stroll through the park. A lot of people depend on their headphones as an easy way to listen to all of their favorite music. For people who aren't obsessed with any musicians or bands, it's also pleasurable to listen to podcasts and audiobooks every now and then too. 


It's important to be wary of how damaging headphones can be to your eardrums before you start using them too frequently, though. Manipal Hospitals notes that the prolonged use of headphones can lead to noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis, dizziness, infections, excessive earwax, pain inside your ear canal, and, in the worst case scenarios, you can even cause harmful effects to your brain.

To use headphones safely, be sure to keep the volume at a low to medium decibel level and take breaks while wearing them.

Side effects of texting while driving

Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous habits to have due to the fact that it can lead to serious and life-altering accidents. Ever since cell phones rose in popularity in the early 2000s, it's become beyond difficult for tons of people to put down their devices and focus during moments when they need to be giving their undivided attention. Laws have been put in place to prevent drivers from picking up their phones while behind the wheel, but that doesn't mean everyone is willing to listen. 


Some drivers get extremely bored and mindlessly grab their phones to text friends, scroll through social media, or play mobile games to pass the time. This bad habit is so alarmingly scary because all it takes is a couple of distracted seconds on the road for life to be forever changed. Distracted driving can lead to car crashes that end your life, the lives of people you love in the car with you, or the lives of perfect strangers who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is definitely one habit you want to stop immediately.

Side effects of negative self-talk

Some people are naturally inclined to build themselves up whenever they see their reflection in the mirror. Other people are more inclined to tear themselves down with negative self-talk, choosing to focus on all the things they dislike about themselves. Negative self-talk is something that can be done out loud or in your head. However it's being done, it's something that needs to be stopped in its tracks right away. Some examples of negative self-talk include, "I've never been good at anything, so why even try?" or "I'm always going to be single and alone because it's too difficult to find someone."


Negative self-talk is especially dangerous because it blocks you from being able to raise your self-esteem and reach the highest possible level of your potential. The smartest way to stop negative self-talk from occurring is by paying attention to your triggers and turning the criticisms you have against yourself upside down. Reversing your negative self-talk in your head means reminding yourself that you are worthy of true happiness in life. This is an important step to take for anyone struggling with depression or engrained beliefs of low self-worth. If you struggle with negative self-talk to a great degree, you may consider speaking with a counselor or therapist to learn methods to help improve your state of mind.


Side effects of smoking cigarettes

Most people are fully aware of the negative health effects smoking cigarettes has on the human body. The danger of cigarette smoke hasn't been a secret for a while now. Still, some folks are hooked on cigarettes and struggling to let go of the habit. The good news is that knowing exactly how cigarettes impact you from the inside out might help encourage you to break free of the habit if it's something you're currently grappling with. 


Smoking harms almost every single organ inside the body and causes several smoke-related illnesses. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking can cause cancer, heart disease, strokes, lung disease, chronic pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and diabetes. Additionally, smokers are more at risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis, immune system issues, tuberculosis, and certain eye diseases. One of the scariest facts about smoking is that it not only hurts the person who is smoking; secondhand smoke exposure can cause the same deadly diseases in the people who are closest to you if they're constantly inhaling the smoke you're blowing out.

Side effects of hair twirling

Are you the type of person who innocently twirls the strands of your hair whenever you're feeling bored or nervous? If so, you're certainly not alone. The bad habit of twirling your hair might seem super common and unproblematic, but it's actually a little more serious than you think. When you twirl your hair way too often, it can lead to significant breakage since the strands of your hair get weaker with each pull and tug. 


The repetitive nature of twirling your hair causes split ends that wouldn't have shown up otherwise. Twirling your hair in different directions can also cause it to get tangled up and knotted. If strands of your hair become knotted past the point of return, you'll have no choice but to chop sections off in order to prevent the knots from getting bigger. Twirling your hair frequently can create bald patches and premature hair loss in different areas around your head as well. 

Side effects of picking your nose

Although you might not think of this habit as being the biggest deal ever, nose picking is actually a worse habit than you think. A large majority of people simply stopped picking their noses beyond early childhood after coming to the conclusion that it isn't exactly socially acceptable in public or in front of other people. It turns out that you might want to ditch this habit if you're still doing it when you're by yourself too.


When you use your fingernail to dig inside your nose, you can potentially scratch the inside of your nostrils. If your nostrils are scraped up from the inside, the skin there can take a very long time to properly heal. The risk of catching viral illnesses, such as the cold or flu, also increases when the skin inside your nostrils has been scraped up.

Nose picking becomes an even greater issue if you're picking your nose with fingernails that are filled with bad bacteria. No one wants to deal with infections in places that are as delicate as your nostrils. Unfortunately, picking your nose can create that exact issue.