Do you bite your nails? Overeat when you are stressed? Perhaps you are a smoker or drink a bit more than you should? Are you guilty of burning the candle at both ends or do you worry that you waste time daydreaming when you could be more productive? We all have bad habits that we have adopted over the years, but are you aware of the bad habits that might actually be OK to keep?
We’ve all left our homes only to be consumed by a nagging doubt that we’ve left a window or door open, or have forgotten to pick something up on our way out. How many times have you turned around and gone back to check before continuing with your journey?
You might have found yourself checking you have definitely switched the iron off or double checking the oven because you’ll know you’ll get that feeling in your tummy or a nagging voice in your head if you don’t.
Worrying about the safety and security of your home is perfectly normal. When you’ve gone back to check the things that are worrying you, they were probably fine. As long as you are not causing yourself distress, then this isn’t a habit to worry about.
Sometimes double checking can actually save your bacon. Such as the time when you were baking a cake and were about to add salt rather than sugar. Or maybe double checking a spreadsheet meant you didn’t give your boss a load of duff data. Checking an email twice could be the difference between sending confidential information to the right or wrong recipient.
Were you constantly told to keep still when you were a child as the grown ups accused you of having ants in your pants? Or maybe as an adult you will find yourself tapping your fingers or waggling your feet?
Many of us have jobs that involve long periods of sitting down or keeping still, so having a good fidget actually has some benefits. A wriggle and a fidget helps increase blood flow. It won’t be as good as getting up and moving about, but it will help.
Fidgeting also burns calories. We aren’t talking the equivalent of a gym session or a brisk walk, but moving about will burn more calories than keeping still.
Losing Your Temper
Holding onto anger and keeping things bottled up is not good for your mental health. All too often we are advised to contain our anger – it can be the ‘grown-up’ thing to do in order for us to maintain control of ourselves or a situation. But keeping anger inside us is not a great thing to do – it can eat away at us, destroying our sleep, affecting our behaviour, blood pressure and heart rate.
Anger can be controlled in a number of ways such as listening to music that will improve our mood or taking some time out to put some distance between us and whatever is fuelling the situation. If you want to get that anger out of you in a controlled way, consider a form of exercise. Pounding the pavement on a good long walk, going for a bike ride, or swimming are all great ways to get the anger out but tame the temper.
To the casual observer, a gamer could almost appear quite sloth-like. It’s easy to dismiss a gamer as a couch potato, when in fact there are some surprising benefits to be had. Games played using a controller can actually be quite good for your hands. In fact, there are some video games that have been created to help stroke victims regain control of their hands and wrists.
Gaming can also help with problem solving as some games require you to make decisions in a fast-paced environment. The decision may not always be the correct one, so games with levels will involve the player having to try again and again until they reach their goal or win the game.
We all know the dangers of sunbathing and must always take great care to look after our skin and ensure we don’t over do it. But sunbathing does come with some healthy benefits and believe it or not, we only need 10-15 minutes each day.
We’ve all felt our mood improve on a sunny day, so it’s no great shock to discover the sun has the ability to ‘absorb’ our stress and ease tension. We also benefit from the vitamin D it provides. Midday sun is the most dangerous for our skin, but did you know the best time of day to absorb sun is at sunrise? What better way to set yourself up for the day?
Did you know that daydreaming actually helps you focus? Letting your mind wander off to it’s own thoughts is sometimes all you need to concentrate on a task and get that blast of inspiration you were looking for. The act of daydreaming also boosts your creativity – experts have described it as ‘thinking for pleasure’ and we are even encouraged to have a go.
Have a go and see what happens, just make sure you are thinking happy thoughts and don’t let your mind wander to your to-do list, or all the chores waiting for you at home – push away the negative thoughts that pop into your mind and then go with the flow. The best time to let your mind wander is when you are doing something that doesn’t need a lot of concentration. Next time you are doing the dishes or folding the washing, stare out of the window, let your mind wander and see where it takes you.
OK, we know swearing is bad. We all know words that are crude, rude and downright offensive, but did you know that there are circumstances where dropping the odd F-bomb could be good for you?
We have all had a bit of a cuss when we have felt angry, in pain or frustrated, enjoying the almost cathartic effect it has on us. We even use swearing to bond with others and will often find that the odd word used here and there with friends or colleagues has helped us to express solidarity in certain situations. Sometimes it even makes us appear more human and relatable, especially when we hear someone cuss unexpectedly. So if it helps a situation and it’s not totally inappropriate, why the fuck not?
Giving in to Cravings
We all have cravings whether they be for a chunk of cheese, a bar of chocolate or a large cold beer. Sadly, many diet plans out there restrict certain foods, making you feel like some things are off limits. Some will even refer to ‘cheat days’ making you feel bad for indulging in something you enjoy. Unfortunately this can backfire, leading to a cycle of guilt as you binge on the things you miss the most.
As soon as you make a food off limits, it becomes something you will want even more. Instead of banning treats from your life, learn to love them in moderation. There is nothing wrong with a couple of biscuits with your mid-morning cuppa, or a slice or two of your favourite pizza occasionally. Instead of cutting out your favourite treats, learn how to incorporate them into a healthy eating plan and instead work on portion control.
If the craving for a family size bar of Galaxy chocolate is driving you insane, stop before you indulge and think about how you really feel and why. If nothing else will do, go ahead and enjoy some chocolate, but manage your portion size and eat it slowly as you enjoy each mouthful.
OK, so working at a tidy desk looks nice and gives an impression of being organised, but did you know that a messy desk actually helps with creativity? Apparently an orderly environment makes us more conventional which means we are less likely to take risks and think outside the box.
Being surrounded by mess encourages our minds to find new ways of working, with chaos increasing our organisational skills. We all know someone who can find ‘that thing’ among piles of clutter because they they really do know where everything is.
We might recommend that you moderate the clutter, as there is a fine line between being untidy and having a house full of dirty laundry and unwashed dishes – decide on the level of chaos you are comfortable with and make sure you feel right at home.
We can too easily overlook the importance of a good night’s sleep. If we don’t get enough we can increase the risk of issues with our hearts or blood pressure. But what about a lazy lie in – is that a bad habit?
Apparently it’s not unhealthy if you’ve run up a ‘sleep debt’ to try and catch a few extra ZZZs when you get a chance to sleep in a bit longer than normal. Obviously if you wake up tired and spend the entire daydreaming about going back to bed, then it’s very likely that you are not getting enough sleep. But having a slow start to your day now and then is no bad thing.
We all know what it’s like to suffer from a short fuse or lack of focus when we are tired, so it’s important to get a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep has many benefits – lack of sleep disrupts our immune system and contributes to weight gain and mood disorders such as anxiety.
Where possible, go to bed when you are tired and try and wake up naturally with no alarm. Your body (or your bladder) will wake you up in the morning. You’ll need anything between 6 and 9 hours sleep and once you get into a good routine you won’t need to sleep in at all.
Don’t get us wrong – nobody likes a nasty gossip, but most gossip isn’t all bad. Most gossip is usually idle chit chat and storytelling. As long as you are not betraying a confidence or being malicious, there is nothing wrong with a good old chinwag.
As humans, we have engaged in idle chit chat for many years now. It can strengthen social bonds, relieve stress and provide us with a fun way to air our grievances. The negative side of gossiping can be hurtful and unproductive, so you should be mindful of what you say and who you say it to.
Gossip away to relieve stress and support good mental health, but always be aware of where the line is and make sure you stop before it becomes cruel.
Hopefully this list of not-so-bad habits will help you ditch the guilt. Sometimes a little bit of what you fancy really does do you the power of good after all!
Use the comments to tell us about the bad habits you will keep or ditch and let us know what else should be on the list.