There was a new study conducted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that focused on building healthy routines. According to Huffington Post on Tuesday, May 28 researchers of this study from the University of Southern California showed data that stress can trigger us to act mindlessly and engage in unhealthy eating habits.
The unhealthy eating habits triggered from stress typically involves eating junk food or zoning out in front of the television. The study further stipulates that it’s possible to also turn to familiar healthy habits when stressed out of a sense of routine.
“We try to change our behavior, we strategize about our motivation and self-control. But what we should be thinking about instead is how to set up new habits,” study researcher Wendy Wood, a professor of psychology and business at the university, said in a statement. “Habits persist even when we’re tired and don’t have the energy to exert self-control.”
In order to participate in the study, students allowed researchers to follow them for a semester throughout stressful and non-stressful times to observe their habits. It was noted that when students encountered stressful issues they were susceptible to mindless habits, whether they were positive or negative.
For example, if students typically ate donuts for breakfast, they ate even more donuts when they were stressed out by exams. But the same went for students with more healthy breakfast picks — those who typically ate oatmeal for breakfast stuck with that choice during the stressful times. A similar phenomenon occurred for participants who regularly exercised, and who regularly read the newspaper editorial pages.
“So, the central question for behavior change efforts should be, how can you form healthy, productive habits? What we know about habit formation is that you want to make the behavior easy to perform, so that people repeat it often and it becomes part of their daily routine,” Wood said in the statement.
Unhealthy eating habits add up to a lot of extra money. Students are for the most part on a budget and should focus on saving. It’s also possible for them to use online coupons for their shopping such as Behind the Counter. Being able to save money during shopping may help them make more positive food choices.
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