Sometimes, bad is good

I SWEAR

Sometimes, bad is good

Most of us have grown up with mothers who have constantly rebuked us for certain practices. “Don’t frown! Your face will freeze that way,” your mother must have said, or “Don’t read lying down; you’ll spoil your eyes.”  Now experts tell us that some of these “bad habits” mother warned us against are not so bad for us after all.  Let us take a quick look at some of them here.

Snacking

This “habit” leads the list because it is associated with so much guilt.  We are all familiar with the line, “Stop snacking! you’ll spoil your appetite.”  We were so attuned to try and break this habit that most of us succeeded.  Now we can break the shackles of guilt attached to this practice.

“I don’t believe in cheating; I believe in indulging.”  This is the mantra not of an obese person, rather a diet guru Dr Joey Shulman.  According to him, indulging a little now and then keeps him from binge eating.  The important aspect of this indulgence is to do it openly and without any accompanying guilt.

Dr Shulman points to the French “who are masters at taking a forkful of something and walking away.  They don’t eat pounds of chocolate; they have one square and they savour it.”  This is a habit to practice and to cultivate.  So the next time your mother looks shocked at your snacking you can defy her with the authority of experts behind you!

Swearing

“Aiyo! That hurts like #@*&!” You just hit your head against the door and the words spew out of you.  But, hang on a minute, being foul-mouthed may actually ease pain.  This was proven experimentally at England’s Keale University. It has also been confirmed by Frances Abbott, a Canadian professor of neuroscience specialising in pain research.  According to her, the intensity of pain doesn’t change but swearing helps you endure it easier!

Fidgeting

This one came as a surprise to me.  For years I have been trying to get my kid to stop fidgeting. Now the Mayo clinic has carried out a study on “Non-exercise activity thermo genesis.”  Simply put they calculated calories burned during routine activities.  The findings were that ‘slim fidgeters’ used 350 more calories a day and sat for 150 minutes less than their obese sedentary counterparts.

This habit is so effective in weight loss that a hospital in Ottawa, Canada is trying to treat childhood obesity by teaching the affected children some fidgeting!

Being a slob

This one is guaranteed to drive mothers all over the world crazy. Yes it has been proven that being a slob has some merit!  A Northwestern University study of 1,500 children showed that the more dirt pathogens a child is exposed to in early life, the less is the risk of chronic inflammations in later life.  So, no need to constantly bug someone to “clean your room!”

Grumbling

You may have heard a lot about the power of positive thinking and it is indeed great. But, remember it works only if you already have a very high self-esteem. In this case you feel even better with positive thinking.  However if you are one of the many with low self-esteem, trying to think positive thoughts could drive you into deep despair.  For such people, a little venting or good old fashioned grumbling could help ease anxiety and stress.

Napping

This habit is already being hailed as a great aid in improving concentration, and reducing tension in the late afternoons. Leonardo da Vinci, Winston Churchill, and Thomas Edison were some of the famous people who shared this “bad habit,” and we know how productive they were.  Need we say more?  One word of caution though.  An afternoon siesta should not last more than half an hour.  A good idea is to drink a cup of coffee just before you settle down for your nap.  The caffeine in your coffee will kick in about half an hour later ensuring you wake up ready to take on the world!

Habits are an important part of life.  It is advisable to be careful what habits one gets into, because breaking them are difficult. The consensus is that it takes 21 days of repetition to get into a habit.  So, if you want to start a new habit hang in there for 21 days and then it’ll become routine.

And, relax!  Much of what you thought was bad isn’t so bad after all, you can actually “keep the bad habits” listed above and research others you are worried about — they may be harmless after all!

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