You know how some kids always seem so well-behaved and self-possessed for their age?
Well, I was never like that. As a little girl, I was always getting told off by my mum, my nanny, or one of my teachers for biting my nails, constantly fidgeting (Who needs a fidget spinner when you can keep swinging your legs as you sit?), and for slouching. All of those things, I was told, weren’t very ladylike.
Not so many years later, I don’t do those things quite as often due to my formative years spent correcting such bad habits. (I still fidget in my seat sometimes while writing content, though. Hey, I had to keep myself entertained while writing all those tedious visa articles.) And now, I’ve just found out that some bad habits aren’t actually, well, all that bad for you.
Curious? Read on and see which bad habits can actually provide you with some surprising benefits:
Look, this doesn’t make willfully spreading fake news okay, okay? Nor does it condone prying into people’s private lives, especially if they’re going through something painful, such as a divorce or a separation. However, a bit of harmless gossip can actually help you bond with your peers and relieve stress, anxiety, or tension in the workplace.
Examples of harmless gossip include speculating about what will happen in the upcoming final Game of Thrones season, or as with me and my staff at my day job, discussing which tenant left a paper bag filled with poop on the fire exit landing and why. (True story).
Want more proof that gossip isn’t necessarily bad? If you can tune out all the accompanying noise, office gossip can clue you in on some upcoming events, whose good side you should be on, and who to steer clear of. Accurate information is its own currency, after all, regardless of where it came from.
Ideally, we’d all like to get through our days with laser-sharp focus. While this can certainly get things done a lot faster, letting yourself zone out every now and then isn’t always hindering your productivity.
Obviously, unless you pilot a plane or operate heavy machinery for a living, allowing your mind to wander from time to time boosts creativity and can help you stumble upon a solution you wouldn’t otherwise have thought of. It also gives your mind a break, allowing it to regroup so you can actually focus better afterwards.
Spinning your pen or pencil in your fingers, tapping your foot to some imaginary tune, absentmindedly shaking your knee…these have all been the bane of school teachers even before fidget spinners were a thing, so much so that one of my HS professors tried to convince our class that the latter was a form of involuntary masturbation.
Okay, you still shouldn’t wriggle around during high-pressure meetings because it’s seriously distracting and off-putting, but doing so in the comfort and privacy of your desk and cubicle can actually help you burn an extra 350 calories a day, potentially helping you keep off those excess pounds.
We’re not exactly allowed to cuss on our Skype group chat, but my co-writer and I tend to forget that occasionally. Sometimes, nothing in one’s vocabulary cuts it quite like a well-timed and passionately exclaimed F-word.
But guess what? There are situations where letting loose with an expletive or two can actually be advantageous. Doing so at work (but only in the company of those you trust) can, like harmless gossip, aid employees in coping with stress and letting off steam. Furthermore, researchers at Keele University’s School of Psychology also discovered that swearing can provide short-term pain relief in small doses. (This probably explains why a certain dude in Malacañang likes to do it so much).
Take note, the key term is “in small doses,” and yes, you should probably still abstain from swearing in front of small children, nuns, the elderly (with the exception of the said dude in the past paragraph perhaps), and your dear mother too.
5. Giving in to Your Cravings.
Constantly binging on junk food will sabotage both your health and your figure, but that doesn’t mean you should do without your guilty pleasures (I meant food, not the ex you should be staying away from, by the way) completely.
There’s a reason why successful diet plans allow for cheat days. Allowing yourself a taste of the good stuff can actually reduce your cravings, all while refueling your motivation to keep going.
For instance, if you’ve behaved yourself all week by sticking to your exercise regimen and eating only rabbit food, I mean, fresh greens, you can treat yourself to a nice, gooey chocolate brownie or a big, juicy burger on Sunday. I’m willing to bet that you’ll find it much easier to continue with your wellness program then than if you completely banned fat and sugar from your diet.
6. Playing Video Games.
There are so many arguments against video games out there. Parents believe that some of them are too violent, girlfriends and yes, even boyfriends often don’t like how their significant others spend too much time playing, teachers decry students losing sleep and academic focus due to their engrossing consoles, and so on.
Yet, kids who play video games after chemotherapy often tend to need less pain medication than their peers who don’t. Good old button-bashing has even been shown to improve motor skills, specifically hand-eye coordination, and some gamers have also demonstrated considerable creativity and analytical thinking skills as a result.
As with just about everything on this list, it all comes down to moderation. If you’re always withdrawing from the world and canceling plans with friends and family just to log a few more hours on your favorite MMORPG, you’ve got a problem. But if you’re simply playing video games for a couple of hours on the weekends to unwind after a particularly tough work week or to try and get your creative juices flowing, you should be just fine.
7. Biting Your Nails.
What benefit could nail-biting possibly give you, right?? Though it’s addictive, no one likes the thought of sticking grubby mitts into their mouths, not to mention the pain that comes with biting off too much and ending up with scraggly-looking nails that no amount of nail polish can render presentable. Been there, I get you.
Surprise, surprise. That very thing about nail-biting that makes it so gross is actually what makes it somewhat good for you. Apparently, introducing germs into your body a little bit at a time can build up your immunity to the stuff. Huh, who would have thought?
On the other hand, if you can’t remember the last time your nails had smooth edges and actually grew a little bit past your fingertip, you should still work on kicking this habit and perhaps rely on good old vitamin C instead for an immune system boost.
If you’ve somehow managed to live life without picking up any sort of harmful habits (wow, you must be a paragon of perfection…or Liza Soberano), good for you, of course. That’s certainly something to be commended.
However, if you’re like the rest of us mere mortals and still have some things to improve on, don’t fret either. As the list above shows, there are very few things you can’t turn around somehow for your benefit, so long as you’re willing to adjust your perspective and make some necessary changes.