Bad habits? Not anymore!

>> Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Do you have any bad habits? I'll admit it, I do. Like gossip, wow can I get caught up in that! Procrastination is another bad habit of mine. Really bad. And don't believe me when I use the excuse that I work better under pressure, cause that's not really the truth.

Guess what? Some of our bad habits actually have positives! Surely that old adage "everything in moderation" probably applies, isn't that always such a drag? Anyway, I read about this in "O" magazine written by a professor in social psychology. (Confession: I don't watch Oprah. I'm not even sure that I like her. Sorry. But I do love magazines).

Since we all probably feel guilty about a bad habit or ten, I want to share the good news with you!

Bad Habit: Anger.
The Old Thinking: It's unhealthy and causes high blood pressure.
The New Wisdom: We get angry because we feel we've been wronged. Reacting with controlled anger is good. When we hold it in, it causes anxiety. In return our body releases the body's stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol can cause depression, obesity and bone density loss.

Bad Habit: Negativity.
The Old Thinking: Pessimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Debbie Downers are annoying and less likely to prosper.
The New Wisdom: Pessimists are more likely to foresee and overcome potential future problems. It can turn anxiety into action.

Bad Habit: Cursing.
The Old Thinking: Cursing is trashy.
The New Wisdom: Using your favorite four letter word at the right time can alleviate pain. Researchers speculate that cursing activates the stress response, boosting the body's pain threshold to deal with crisis.

Bad Habit: Doodling.
The Old Thinking: Doodling means you have trouble focusing.
The New Wisdom: Doodling can boost the ability to notice and remember mundane information. The act of drawing can make use of parts of the brain that might otherwise be used for daydreaming. So instead of a wandering mind, you are actually retaining more information.

Bad Habit: Procrastination.
The Old Thinking: Procrastination keeps you from getting anything done.
The New Wisdom: In short bursts dilly-dallying can increase your overall productivity. It is hard to maintain high levels of concentration after an hour or so. Research has shown that people who check their email or Facebook throughout the day are on average about 10% more productive than those who don't.

Bad Habit: Gossip.
The Old Thinking: Gossiping is a sign of insecurity.
The New Wisdom: Gossiping can strengthen friendships and our moral compasses by informing us what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Just be sure to be careful about what you say and whom you say it to. Dishing about Tiger Wood's latest mistress with your friend-is OK, spreading false rumors about your boss to coworkers-not OK.

So there you have it...I feel less guilty about my bad habits already!


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