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You Booze Every NightYou know the drill. After a grueling commute home from work wherein everyone on the road sucks at driving except you, your only recourse is to crack open a very cold beer and hope it stops your shakes. Eight beers/hours later, you stumble into your office again and start your mental countdown to the weekend.
Friday night floats by in a haze of Old Fashioneds and Jack & Dianes, but when you crawl out of bed the next afternoon, only a Laura Palmer will ease the throbbing in your frontal lobe. And then a mimosa. And then... four Mai Tais? Sure, why not. Before you know it, it's Monday morning again, and you've alienated your entire family and all your friends. The only reason you don't dump an entire handle of Jameson into your morning coffee is because you can't muster up the strength (and you nurse both way too long for it not to become stale).
Why Drinking Makes You Run Faster, Jump Higher, and Live Forever:
OK, that might be overselling it. But in moderation, some of this is true. A 1967 study of over 6,000 participants showed that people who consumed between 1 and 30 alcohol drinks per week had significantly greater cognitive functioning than teetotalers.
The research team drew the conclusion that alcohol (beer, wine, or liquor) improves thought processes because it increases blood flow to the brain. Another study at the University of Auckland found that moderate amounts of alcohol improved the memories of lab rats - and may even protect against diseases like Alzheimer's. And we don't just mean a glass of wine at dinner. A 2013 study found that doubling down at brunch can help too. Or at least, drinking up to three glasses of champagne a week can help "delay the onset of degenerative brain disorders, such as dementia."
As if that's not proof enough that you should imbibe at will, a 20-year study of 1,824 participants proved that heavy drinkers outlive those who abstain. So drink up!
(Disclaimer: I feel it's my duty to point out that the researchers linked the alcohol / longer lives connection to more active social lives, which means downing a bottle of vodka by yourself during a "Friday Night Lights" marathon doesn't count.)
You Smoke Like a Choo-ChooYour teeth are yellowing, your skin is dry and leathery, your clothes smell like Satan's ashtray... and you're spending upwards of $50 per paycheck on something you kind of hate. Lung, throat, and mouth cancer aside (not to mention emphysema, COPD, and birth defects), smokers are jokers. It's gross. And it's annoying. You know when you're in the middle of a conversation and you suddenly turn around and disappear out to the alley to suck poison into your face and play Words With Friends for 10 minutes? Yeah, non-smokers hate that. Also, you stink.
How Nicotine Helps Your Brain:
In one blind study of elderly non-smoking subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), participants who were given nicotine patches for 6 months were shown to have improved attention and psychomotor speed. They also regained 46% of normal longterm memory for their age. The control group who had placebo patches got 26% worse. Of course, here we're talking about patches, not cigarettes - which means it may be time to ditch your Pall Malls for one of those fancy new e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine but fewer poisonous additives. To ease your cravings, you can even get them flavored like tobacco.
You Sleep Til NoonThe next time you walk down a residential street late at night, think about the scenes in each of those dark rooms with drawn curtains that you pass by. Inside, one or more people is lying on a raised platform (a "bed," if you will) maybe flat on his or her back, maybe curled up on his side, breathing deeply, completely still, completely unconscious, at a reasonable hour - like a creepy humanoid robot on a lab table, only temporarily unplugged.
Also, they'll be like that for about 8 whole hours, which is a third of their day/life (and they'll also probably wake up at a reasonable time). And also, since you're going to be up so late tonight, you'll probably be asleep tomorrow when that guy is up, about, and eating lunch (not to mention his breakfast).
You'll sleep right through the LA Marathon, through Saturday morning cartoons, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and a pick-up game with your friends. You won't be able to stop your mom from telling you how the whole world is going on without you, passing by right outside your window. Get out of bed already, she'll say. Get a job.
Why You Shouldn't Get Out of Bed:
While scientists don't fully understand the nuances of sleep or exactly how it affects our bodies, they do know that a lack of sleep can have many detrimental side effects.
A 2000 study in new Zealand found that people who drove vehicles after being awake for 17-19 hours performed worse than those with blood alcohol levels of .05 - the legal limit for drunk driving in most Western European countries.
Getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night can affect reaction time, coordination, and judgment - and can increase anxiety, stress, and depression. Scientists call sleep an "anabolic" (building) process, and it is the time when our bodies rebuild and restore muscle tissue, among other things.
Adequate sleep affects our personalities, memories, tolerance levels - even our sense of humor. And have you ever looked hard in the mirror at the tail-end of an all-nighter? Yikes. So remind your mom that you were awake much later than she was and, by all means, get some rest.
You Touch Yourself Every Chance You GetImagine this: You reach down and push a tiny button hidden under your favorite stuffed leather chair. As the seat reclines, a bottle of lotion (with aloe) rises from a small table on one side of you; from the other, a box of Kleenex. In front of you, the walls split to reveal a massive hi-def screen on which a naked chick (or dude), the kind you like, writhes and moans through the surround sound speakers installed in every wall and in the ceiling. The best part: There's no one else home.
If you imagine this kind of James Bond villain-style wank den every time you hear your roommates' wheels back out of the driveway, you're not alone. If you need a letter opener to physically pry apart the monitor and keyboard every time you open your laptop, you might be overdoing it, though, and you should probably wash... well... something. And if your girlfriend is going to bed frustrated and angry every night because you pay more attention to RedTube than you do to the warm human body beside you, you might have a real problem.
Why Masturbation Is, Like, Really Really Good for You
But don't fret! There is such thing as a healthy amount of masturbation - and it's probably more than you think. Through a 2003 study, a team of Australian scientists concluded, in their upside down lab, that the more men ejaculate between ages 20 and 50, the less likely they are to develop prostate cancer. More specifically: Men in their 20s who ejaculate 5+ times a week are one-third less likely to develop prostate cancer later in life. So just think about how much prostate cancer you're preventing!
Earlier studies had linked frequent sexual activity to an increase in risk of prostate cancer, but the variable here was the second party. There's a lesson here. To preserve your health, do it yourself.
You Can't Put Down Your ControllerVideo games have been linked to everything from childhood aggression, to teenage acne, to late onset virginity. For many, the term "gamer" brings to mind a sweaty basement-dwelling mouthbreather with a neckbeard swearing at racist, Southern third-graders through his XBox Live. Have you ever stood in line outside your local Gamestop for a midnight release? Have you ever built a rage comic about something that happened while you were looking for Alduin? If you've ever skipped a shower or two because you just had to "kill this guy," congratulations, you have a disgusting habit.
Why Gaming Makes You Smarter:
Here is why that disgusting habit rules.
According to , video games can change your brain into a more effective thinking machine. in one study, adults who played action-based games were able to make quick - and accurate - decisions 25% faster than others, and more practiced gamers were able to pay attention to more than 6 things at once without getting confused. Another study found that female gamers were able to manipulate 3D objects better than non-gamers, and a third found that children who played video games scored higher on a standardized test of creativity.
Due to the positive results of these studies, scientists are researching how video games affect perception, attention, hand-eye coordination, and many other brain functions not including the proclivity for Cheetos.
Coffee Makes Your World Go 'RoundIs it hard for you to imagine a world without coffee? Once, when I was staying in a bed & breakfast, I heard a woman refuse to come out of her room until her husband went to the breakfast area and brought her back a cup of coffee. It was embarrassing for everyone.
The effects of java addiction can be ugly, with jittery jonesing, immediate high highs, and miserable low crashes. Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, intestinal frustration, moodiness, and irritability.
Life Pro Tip: Never go camping with a coffee drinker. It's just not the same.
Why Coffee Will Keep You Alive
You don't have to quit cold turkey. Everything in moderation.
After all, Starbucks doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon, and K-Cups come in something like 3,000 flavors that you can make at home.
Anyway, researchers at Harvard say compared to those who skip caffeine, coffee drinkers have fewer instances of stroke and some cancers, and they are less likely to develop dementia, Parkinson's disease, and type 2 diabetes.
A 2005 study at the University of Scranton concluded that coffee is America's #1 source of antioxidants, which protect your body from disease. So drink up. Just make sure you have enough on hand for tomorrow morning.
You Never Watch the NewsRemember the time you had Hanukkah dinner at your cousin's house, and everything was going fine until her upstairs neighbor started talking about the situation in Egypt? It's hard to chime into a conversation like this if you don't even know how to pronounce Tahrir (you can do this). Worse, over time, acquaintances (like your cousin's neighbor) will start to recognize the deer-in-the-headlights expression you make every time someone says the word "debates." If you don't consume the nightly news, they'll have you believe that you're part of the problem, just one of the millions of uninformed masses who heads out to screw up the elections every few years by voting in people that are as dumb as they are.
Why You Really Don't Have to Watch the News:
A November 2011 poll of 600 New Jerseyans proved that sometimes, watching the news can actually make you dumber.
Results showed that people who regularly watched Fox News - the #1 cable news channel in the country (I know, I know)- were less informed about current events than those who said they don't watch any news at all.
You're probably reading this article on a computer (or smartphone) with half a dozen other tabs already open to the front pages of many too-frequently-updated "information"-based sources. And you've got the gist and unless it's your job, these aren't things that will always necessarily make you smarter. Watching the news (or even reading it) doesn't equal being informed. Sometimes being overinformed can be a bit of a social drawback and other it can help. So seek out what you care about and just leave it at that. You'll half ass the rest anyway. You're an adult, you can do this.
At the very least, you've seen a few top headlines. I bet you even know who is running for the Republican nomination - and who is most likely to win. In a time when it's no longer "cool" to be ignorant of what's happening in the world, the media you absorb every day is designed does a pretty good job of keeping you informed about the things that are really important to you. So use that instead, because you'll be less likely to hear sensationalist headlines and if you care about something you'll naturally become more well-informed about it.