Keen to start off the year on a good note? Totally understandable. But, before you start making a list of New Year's Resolutions - stop swearing so much, keep the house clean - you may want to have a look at these bad habits that are actually good for you. So often, we end up feeling guilty about our bad habits or 'weaknesses', thinking that they do us harm rather than good. But, psychologist and life coach Jivan Dempsey believes some of our 'bad' habits could actually work in our favour. Maybe it's time to ditch the guilt and see the positive side of these frowned-upon habits...
6 bad habits that are actually good for you
Used to always having a pack of gum with you? It's not necessarily a bad thing. It's been said that chewing gum helps improve thinking and alertness by increasing blood oxygen levels in the key brain structures. Next time you're about to tackle a demanding cognitive task, grab a piece of chewing gum to give learning and memory centres a boost. Some dentists say it can even help prevent cavities through the flow of saliva. As long as it's sugar free.
For the foot-tappers and thumb-twiddlers out there. How many times have colleagues, family members and friends asked you to please just sit still? This kind of fidgeting comes with a bad stigma, because it suggests a lack of focus. But, sometimes it's quite the opposite. This kind of constant movement can help you concentrate better. Another benefit is that any activity that's not eating, sleeping or sport is considered NEAT - Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It helps you burn up to 1 465kJ a day. Feel free to fidget away.
Not that we're promoting foul-mouthed conversations, but the rare four-letter expletive isn't all that bad. In fact, in the recent Netflix series History of Swear Words, a test shows that cursing can potentially increase your tolerance for pain. The famous 'hand in ice water' experiment shows that those who curse their way through it can withstand the cold water for longer. But, according to the University of Keele in England, swearing is only effective for reducing pain if you don't do it every day. So, if you clean up that pottymouth on a regular basis, feel free to curse when you really need to. Then, it'll be worth it.
If you're often off in your own world, it's time to stop apologising for it. Business coach Ruth Kudzi says daydreaming can help you solve a problem that has you stumped. 'Your unconscious brain can guide you to look at things that you haven't had the time and emotional space to consider. Plus, it can increase your motivation to think about possibilities and a bigger goal and vision,' she says. So hop in the shower - a relaxed space where the hormone dopamine is most likely to be released - and daydream away. You might step out with an innovative solution to something that's been bothering you.
Was one of your goals for 2021 to be less messy? Ditch it and embrace the freedom and creativity chaos provides. In an experiment run by esteemed journal, Psychological Science, 48 people were split between tidy and messy rooms and asked to come up with as many uses for ping pong balls as possible. While both groups generated the same number of ideas, the ideas from the messy room were 28% more creative. So think twice before making your room too tidy. The mess is likely to help get those creative juices flowing.
Skipping the shower
Not for several days in a row. But maybe on a midweek 'work from home' day or a Sunday when you know there are no plans. Embracing this 'bad habit' could do wonders for your skin, as washing daily can strip the skin of natural oils that help keep it healthy and supple. While neglecting general hygiene is never a good idea, the occasional shower-free day isn't all that bad. Stock up on deodorant spray if you're worried.