10 "Bad Habits" That Are Actually Good For Your Health, According to Science

10 “Bad Habits” That Are Actually Good For Your Health, According to Science

We grew up hearing our parents yell at us for playing video games for too long or for not cleaning our rooms. Well, it turns out that some of those things actually benefit us in the long run. Many of the activities that our parents considered to be “destructive”, actually have a positive effect on our mood as well as our brain. Here, we are listing some of those unexpected everyday habits that are actually good for your health.

1. Skipping a shower: Retains useful bacteria, thus keeping the skin healthy and soft.

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Image: Ximena Mora

Cleanliness is good for our health and so is skipping a shower every now and then. For some, showers are like a cup of coffee, and taking one relieves stress. However, taking one or more showers every day can have a negative impact on your health. According to Dr. Casey Carlos, assistant professor of medicine in the division of dermatology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, your skin actually has effective ways of cleaning itself.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, two dermatologists told readers that washing your skin every day removes the good, useful bacteria that keep your skin healthy. This bacteria acts like a shield against harmful bacteria. It also helps keep out toxins from chemical soaps, shampoos, perfumes, and other personal care products. Apart from that, showering every other day allows your skin to restore the necessary natural oils, making your skin softer and more radiant. Frequent showers, especially with hot water, can get rid of useful bacteria and can also lead to flaky, peeling, and dry skin. (source)

2. Sleeping in: Reduces high blood pressure, chances of heart attack, stroke and hypertension.

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FMany times, we have been told that rising early is good for our health. Studies however, show that early risers have a higher risk of medical conditions that can lead to heart attack and stroke. A Japanese study found that those who get out of bed before 5 a.m. have a 1.7 times greater risk of high blood pressure and hardening of arteries than those who wake up two to three hours later. The study conducted by researchers in Kyoto was performed on 3,017 healthy adults aged 23 to 90. Their study strongly and clearly shows that there is a link between wake up times and vascular disease.

“The results are contrary to the commonly held belief that early birds are in better health,” said Mayuko Kadono, a physician at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, who led the study. “We need to find what the causes of this are, and whether exercising after waking early is beneficial.”

Meanwhile, those who wake up at 7 or later have lower blood pressure, less risk of hardening of arteries, heart attack, stroke and hypertension, and more satisfaction with their lives. Researchers presented their findings at the Fifth Congress of the World Federation of Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine Societies in Australia. (source)

3. Gossiping: Helps maintain relationships and relieves stress.

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Image: Ben White

While we consider those who gossip to be untrustworthy, studies show that gossiping with our friends can in fact boost our mood. A psychological study conducted by researchers at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Stanford University, found that when friends gossip with each other, it releases oxytocin, a feel good hormone, that is also responsible for relieving stress. Gossiping also improves the bond between the friends, allowing the friendship to flourish. It was also noted that those who gossiped more often had better control over their anxiety levels. (source)

4. Using social media: Allows you to connect with a variety of people, thus providing emotional support.

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Today, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t own at least one smartphone. With more than 2.1 billions smartphones in the world and close to 3 billion social media accounts, studies show that technology is making us depressed, anti-social and depriving us of our sleep. However, not everything is bad news since studies also show that social media and technology does help the elderly feel less isolated. For many of us, not enough reactions to our posts can be depressing, but a study conducted in the UK found that just one positive reaction for an elderly person, improves their mood by ten-folds.

The study focused on adults aged between 60-95 and found that those who regularly used social media experienced heightened feelings of self-competence, participated more in social activity, had improved cognitive capacity and showed a better sense of personal identity. “People who are socially isolated or who experience loneliness are more vulnerable to disease and decline,” explained Dr. Thomas Morton, the project lead. “For these reasons finding ways to support people’s social connections is a really important goal. This study shows how technology can be a useful tool for enabling social connections, and that supporting older people in our community to use technology effectively can have important benefits for their health and well-being”. (source)

5. Burping: Aids the process of digestion and helps relieve pain in the stomach.

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Image: Pixabay

The process of burping in front of others might be something we find to be absolutely disgusting but it helps us in many ways. Consuming carbonated beverages, eating gas-promoting foods and something as simple as moving can trigger a burp. While it’s annoying, the process is a natural part of the body’s digestive system that helps relieve bloating. The unwanted gas collected inside the stomach is released during the process, thus promoting good gastric health. (source)

6. Chewing gum: Reduces anxiety and even improves the mood.

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When we are having one of those days where we are on the low-side, something as simple as chewing gum can change your mood. In fact, research suggests that chomping on a piece of chewing gum may help reduce anxiety and even improve your mood. Not only that, studies show that it can also help to increase alertness and blood flow in the brain. When we chew gum, it stimulates our senses by involving smell, taste, and touch; thus increasing our alertness and mood. If you’re going to take up the habit of relieving stress by chewing gum, just make sure that you stick with sugar-free gum; which contains fewer calories and sugar. (source 1, 2)

7. Playing video games: Enhances decision making and the ability to adapt quickly.

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Image: JE

It has been said many times that video games are bad for us. Scientists would disagree with this myth though, since studies show otherwise. Fast-paced action video games overload our brains with peripheral images and events at a quick manner. This forces our brain to increase the reaction time so we can be better at the game. Not only does it help with the game, it helps in real-life since the alertness can assist us in making quick decisions, as well as increase our reaction times.

According to a new study in Current Biology, people who played action video games for 50 hours were just as accurate and significantly faster at making decisions, compared to gamers who played strategy-oriented or role-playing video games for the same amount of time. “Action video games are fast-paced, and there are peripheral images and events popping up, and disappearing,” says study researcher C. Shawn Green, PhD, a postdoctoral associate at the Kersten Computational Vision Lab at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “These video games are teaching people to become better at taking sensory data in, and translating it into correct decisions,” he says. (source)

8. Being messy: Improves creativity.

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Image: Robert Bye

Sometimes, society judges people depending on their tidiness or messiness. Most people that live a tidy life are thought to be successful and more creative whereas it is believed that messy people live a sedentary life. Studies however show that messiness can actually be good for you. Researchers at the University of Minnesota, studied the relationship between messiness and creativity. The findings, which were published in the Psychological Science magazine, show that while tidy environments are good for some things, they don’t promote creative thinking or stimulate new ideas.

The study, which was conducted on 50 individuals, found that creativity suffers if you live in a clutter-free environment. Meanwhile, messy-room thinkers found innovative ways to tackle problems they faced during the study. However, scientists also discovered that 82% of people in the tidy room were more generous compared with 47% in the messy one. (source)

9. Drinking coffee: Reduces the risk of cancer.

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Image: Nathan Dumlao

Extensive scientific research on coffee suggests that drinking brewed coffee reduces the risk of cancer, as well as a range of other health benefits; such as protecting against diabetes and boosting heart health. One recent study indicates that caffeine improves certain types of memory in some, as well as the mood. Even though too much of any stimulant can make people anxious and irritable, consuming coffee mildly has been shown to boost mood due to the same adenosine-blocking effect that makes you feel alert. Doctors recommend that you limit your caffeine intake to 400 milligrams per day, or about 3 to 4 standard cups of drip coffee. (source)

10. Taking cold showers instead of hot: Improves blood circulation and aids in weight loss.

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Image: Pexels

Of course it’s hard to take cold showers, especially in the mornings but studies show that taking a cold shower, instead of hot, can boost health. Some of the advantages of taking cold showers include increased alertness, it refines hair and skin, improves immunity and blood circulation, speeds muscle soreness and recovery, eases stress and relieves depression. Apart from those, cold showers also boost the levels of glutathione, an antioxidant that keeps all other antioxidants performing at their optimal levels. (source)

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