What exactly constitutes a bad habit? To some, it's being impunctual, but some will consider that as being 'fashionably late.' There are others who will say a messy apartment shows that the person isn't clean; a counter-argument would be that messiness can be subjective, no one likes a clean freak either. Or take for example a daring hairstyle; some consider it unprofessional, others will laud the person for expressing themselves.
What we're trying to say is there are plenty of 'bad habits' out there that your parents, teachers, and elders, from the goodness of their hearts, have told you to strive away from. Of course, they mean well. But a wide range of studies over the years have shown that certain 'bad habits' if taken in moderation can be good for you. If you commonly display any of the following ten traits, you might be a cut above the rest.
#10 Chewing gum
Studies have shown that chewing gum when you're sitting alone could prove key to improving relaxation and productivity. These studies also show that gum makes you feel more alert, with one showing so far as to prove that people who chewed gum performed better on an intelligence test than people who didn't.
Further research shows that chewing gum boosts the person's mood and reduces the levels of the hormone cortisol, which is released in response to stress and low blood-glucose concentration.
#9 Running late
There's almost no occasion where it's okay to keep another person waiting. Impunctuality is a terrible trait to have, no matter how much you parade the 'fashionably late' argument; it makes you seem unprofessional, disorganized, and disrespectful. However, as the author of Never Be Late Again Diana DeLonzor pointed out, there is a silver lining to it.
As reported by the New York Times, the book suggests that late people, in general, tend to be more optimistic and unrealistic. They genuinely believe that they can carry out a large number of seemingly time-consuming tasks within a short span of time. The faith that they have in themselves, as well as the attitude of 'hope and expect for the best', can prove useful in many situations and, of course, disastrous in others.
A nervous tick many people often display is that they twiddle their thumbs, or play with a pen, or constantly adjust their shirt. While doing so gives the other person the impression that you have low self-confidence, studies show that tapping your leg or wiggling your finger while you're seated at your desk can actually help you stay healthy.
One study, in particular, found that women who fidgeted more at work had a lower mortality risk than those who didn't. It went so far as to even claim that fidgeting canceled out the association between sitting for long periods of time and increased risk of mortality.
The concept of procrastination has come a long way. From being derided as a fancy term for laziness, there is now an increasingly large library of literature that aims to explain away why people procrastinate and why it might not be such a bad thing. Wharton professor Adam Grant strongly feels that the definition of the term must be expanded to include not only laziness but also being an opportunist and waiting for the right time.
He points to the example of Apple founder and revolutionary, Steve Jobs as justification for his argument. He says that Jobs put things off constantly so more divergent ideas would emerge and they would not be stuck following the conventional and the familiar.
#6 Having a messy desk
When the accusation of a messy desk is thrown at you, your first response will most likely be 'Who cares as long as I know where everything is!' Studies have shown that as long as you cordon off the mess and keep it to only your table, there are tangible benefits to being disorganized. It suggests that the messiness prompts people to be goal-oriented as they become motivated to seek order someplace else.
Simply put, keeping a messy desk could lead to increased productivity! Now you know what to do the next time your co-worker accuses you of being sloppy!
#5 Using filler words
People use filler words when they're trying to pad up a sentence or when they aren't really sure what they're talking about. 'Um,' 'err,' 'uh,' all help us help us get our point across, but make us look unprofessional in the process. However, according to a recent Quartz article, these filler words actually help the listeners understand and remember what you're trying to convey.
Another parallel study found that highly conscientious, hardworking people are more likely to use fillers in a conversation.
#4 Biting your nails
To test the adverse effects of biting your nails and sucking your thumb, researchers followed 1,000 kids starting from the age of five. When the kids reached the ages of 13 and 32, they conducted allergy tests on them. They found that children who either bit their nail or sucked on their thumb when they were younger were less susceptible to developing allergies.
However, on the flip side, nail-biting can damage the skin around the nail, making the person more likely to catch infections. Similarly, if the child continues sucking on the thumb after the permanent teeth come in, it can affect how the teeth line up.
Daydreaming can often be an exhilarating experience, allowing you to think and revel in your deepest wants and desires. However, in 2010, researchers published findings that suggested mind-wandering can make the person unhappy. But spending a few minutes here and there zoning out can make you more productive and creative.
One study cited in The Harvard Business Review found that allowing your mind to wander for around 12 minutes while you're working on a difficult task can help you reach a solution when you return to it.
Nobody likes a person who constantly complains about everything. Being around such people can often be a taxing experience. However, recent research cited in The Atlantic found that those who complain mindfully, with a specific objective in mind, are happier than those who vent for the sake of it. A complaint is considered to be effective if it is about an issue that has a viable solution and is directed at a person who has the means to fix it; so no, you can't complain about the weather.
A good complaint effectively has three layers. First, ease into the complaint such that the person listening doesn't get defensive. Second, present the complaint in a nonhostile way. And third, be sure to tell the person that any action they can take to help you will be appreciated.
No one likes a person who constantly gossips about other people. These people give off the vibe of being inherently untrustworthy; after all, what's stopping them from gossiping about you at some point. However, research suggests that gossiping to help someone else can make you feel better. For example, people who gossiped about another person's cheating ways felt much better about themselves.
Researchers call this type of information transmission 'pro-social gossip.' It was found that once people engaged in pro-social gossip, they felt much better and that their heart-rates decreased.
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