Beauty Psychology

10 Toxic Habits That Age You Faster

Written by Dana Peterson

When you think of toxic habits, what comes to mind: Smoking, stress, and not getting enough sleep? Definitely that one too, but what other kinds of everyday habits that age us faster? that’s exactly what we’re exploring through this article.

Holding on to grudges

Life is too short to have your happiness hinge on someone else's self-revelation (Freepik image)

Many people fail to recognize forgiveness, this has nothing to do with the person you’re upset with, and everything has to do with you.

It’s about giving yourself permission to be at peace, which like not gonna lie, it’s definitely easier said than done, but oftentimes especially within certain family or friend groups, holding a grudge seems almost natural, sooner or later, the other person will see, they were wrong and apologize, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.

Life is too short to have your happiness hinge on someone else’s self-revelation it essentially places them in control, and this is your life, not theirs. This negative loop does nothing, but keep your moods foul and stress hormones high, aging you big time in the process of a lengthy grudge.

It’s time to realize that it’s more harmful to you than it is to them, ask yourself: who am I really punishing?


This one’s a hard one to crack, isn’t it? Many of us are our own worst critics. Truthfully, the habit usually begins in childhood when a kid feels like they can never measure up to the expectations set by their parents.

In adulthood, this often manifests as setting the bar very high for yourself, and then punishing yourself greatly when you miss the mark.

This cycle is downright toxic when you consider the amount of stress it adds to an already stressful existence, which is why it’s important to practice giving yourself grace. By no means are we suggesting you avoid setting high standards for yourself? Just know that your value or worth is not attached to those standards.

According to psychotherapist Dr, Michael Dao who literally wrote a book about “training your brain to be your own therapist”

Perfectionism plagues the brain with negative thoughts, which cause a release of stress hormones and that can actually accelerate aging

Michael Dao

Only focusing on the negatives when we mess up, also eliminates any chance to learn from the situation, and the lessons are what will keep you from messing up the same way twice.

Once you understand the whys of perfectionism, it gets a lot easier to negotiate a healthier balance in your mind

Consuming too much sugar

As much as it hurts my candy-loving self to acknowledge this one damn, it is the truth, consuming foods and drinks high in sugars will definitely cause you to age faster, and there’s a science to back this up.

A study was done by the Laden Longevity Group that looked at photographs of 602 people’s faces with varying blood glucose levels and were tasked with guessing their age. Straight across the board those with higher blood sugar were perceived by others to be older than their true age, and it’s because of a process called glycation, the simplified explanation of the process is this : all that glucose in the body adheres to collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis, which essentially destroys the support cushion for your skin, making it look more dull and deflated.

Excess sugar in your diet, especially after your 30s, will probably have you being mistaken for your mom’s sister in a less than flattering way. On top of that, there’s research to suggest that eating a large meal more than twice a week, can also age you faster, as too much at once can put your cells under oxidative stress.

Basically, your body is working so hard to digest all that food, it doesn’t have enough fuel in the tank to take care of other metabolic processes that improve cell and organ health, that’s why smaller more frequent meals trumps one to two big ones a day.

Crash dieting

Truthfully, diet culture as a whole is incredibly toxic on many levels, but especially crash diets, sure, it’s really tempting to want to drop 10 pounds in a hurry before that vacation you just booked, but look at it this way, you didn’t gain those 10 pounds in two weeks, how on earth could it be healthy or even possible to lose 10 pounds in two weeks? these plants derive you of so much you’re not even losing fat, you’re dropping water weight and muscle mass, while also sending your hormones out of whack from a sudden change in diet, putting your body under extra stress and causing your skin to suffer as a result of it all.

At the end of the day nothing we do to our bodies should be extreme except maybe sports but even then it’s questionable

Not moving your body enough

In this day and age, it’s actually pretty easy to avoid moving your body all that much, most people don’t even have to go that far to use the bathroom, not like in those pre-pandemic days, when all those office pee breaks accounted for about 20 minutes of walking, and maybe even a flight of stairs, but the truth is : not exercising is one of the quickest ways to age your body, it’s basically the “use it or lose it” principle, but with your muscles. Now a lot of us, don’t exercise regularly, because it feels like such a chore but really that’s more of a social construct and it’s lying to you.

Exercise doesn’t have to be intense or extreme to produce results. Something as simple as going for a 30-minute walk a few times a week, is an excellent place to start, and it brings a lot of benefits. With that said though, it’s advised to not skip out on any body weight exercises, or lifting weights. Muscle strength directly correlates to how well your body will age. Keeping the muscles strong keeps the heart and brain healthy on top of protecting your bones, and joints from injury.

The fastest way to feel 70 when you’re 30 is to never exercise, and if you feel like you have the best intentions, but fail to follow through, you just need to break down and set goals with all the tools you have to achieve them like never before.

Ignoring your depression

Given the state of the world right now, it’s pretty safe to say we all have our down days, but the thing is: If you’ve had more bad days than good for more than two weeks straight, you could be venturing into some murky depressed waters, and it’s really important, you don’t ignore it.

Feeling this way and just hoping it’ll get better or clear up on its own, is not only a dangerous game to play, but it too will age you faster. A research team at Yale University discovered that major depression and chronic stress can cause the brain to actually shrink. Basically, as a result of sustained stress hormones, the brain loses volume, and it leads to both emotional and cognitive impairment, something like cognitive behavioral therapy can be a game-changer in this case, it’s based on identifying and challenging negative thoughts as they come up, instead of just believing them and acting on them as if they were fact.

Too much alcohol, not enough water

Those who indulge more in wine are aging themselves faster. Many studies have concluded that excessive alcohol consumption leads to a neurodegenerative decline in brain hormone, imbalances sleep, disruptions, and even things like extra body fat, and on this note skipping the agua because it’s boring and you don’t like it is really childish.

Honestly, there are lots of things in life we do because we have to not because we enjoy them you’re an adult who knows water and being well hydrated is absolutely vital to being healthy and aging more slowly not liking a clear flavorless liquid makes no sense its time to grow up and make drinking water a priority it really is the most adult beverage out there.

Avoiding your friends

Enjoying your time alone, gives you an edge over others, but there needs to be a balance of course, avoiding your friends and spending all of your time alone is toxic, in the sense it leaves you very vulnerable to depression, which will age the heck out of you.

Maintaining friendships isn’t always easy when everyone has their own hectic life, and schedules rarely align, but there are some major anti-aging benefits when you do.

Many studies have confirmed that connecting with friends, even virtually, is a big stress reliever, it allows you to talk things outdo an activity, and perhaps most importantly laugh laughing and enjoying.

The company of a friend releases all kinds of happy hormones in the brain, to at least start combating those stress hormones that you’ve gotten so good at producing.


It’s almost inevitable with how much time we have to spend at our desks, or in front of a screen, but allowing your posture to go to, will 100% age you faster.

Gone are the days when only octogenarians had that hunched over back, that’s been happening too for younger generations in the past few decades. For us younger folk, it’s called tech neck, and it’s not a good look.

This forward-leaning head posture puts a lot of pressure on the upper spine, causing it to curve, weakening the spine structure, and will eventually lead to things like arthritis, degenerative discs, and painful subluxations, that’s when vertebrae is out of place none of which should be happening in your 20s and 30s, but if tech got you into this mess maybe tech can get you out.

There are wearable devices that will jolt you when you slouch, reminding you to sit up straight. It’s not a perfect solution, but it can help right

Neglecting your oral hygiene

It’s not something that often comes to mind, but our teeth are actually one of the first places to show signs of aging, things like smoking, drinking lots of coffee, Cola and red wine will do a number on your smile, and if you avoid the dentist, it can end up doing a number on your health too.

Not brushing or flossing regularly and skipping checkups leaves you vulnerable to not only cavities, but also gum disease, which will actually leave you at a higher risk for developing other issues, like stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, and besides you only get one set of chompers. If you think you feel old now, throw in a set of dentures, and then tell us how old you feel.

What do you think of this list of toxic habits that age you faster, is there anything you would add to the list share your ideas in the comments.

About the author

Dana Peterson

I'm Dana Peterson, a freelance writer, serial blogger, self-published author of 7 books, and speaker who enjoys enlightening others about unknown and little-known facts.

I'm a mother of two kids, but I've also been a typographer, a film composer, a piano player, a singer in an all-girl rock band. I love writing on cruise ships, or late nights, but also at home in my sunny southern California garden.

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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