Watching television can make you smarter. Gossiping can make you less critical of yourself. And coffee can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Yes, some bad habits — in moderation — may actually be good for you. Obviously, chewing your nails to the quick or being tardy most of the time are still bad habits, but Ladies’ Home Journal reports that some bad habits can have surprisingly good effects. Here are five that get a bad rap, but can be good for you.
The good: When you watch shows that exercise your mind, it can actually make you smarter. Some shows can give you a cognitive workout, while others will encourage you to reflect on your marriage and family life. Still others will almost always teach you something new. The bad: If you turn into a couch potato and watch TV excessively while your family does other things, it’s a problem. Sitting in front of the TV for too long can drain your energy. If you watch more than two hours a day, it’s time to dial down the habit.
The good: Facebook can help you deepen relationships and connect with people from your past with whom you long ago lost touch. It can be a valuable resource for information, too. Posting a message that you need the name of a good plumber or tips for planting a vegetable garden can result in information you would not have otherwise received. The bad: When you spend so much time on Facebook that you neglect your work, family or household chores, you may need to restrict your use by building it into your schedule. Be disciplined and only check in at those times.
The good: When we gossip about other people, it can make us less critical of our own lives. A celebrity’s third trip to rehab or the neighbor’s failed marriage can make you realize you’re doing just fine. Gossip, which is human nature, also relieves stress and can create a culture of closeness. The bad: If you purposely spread vicious stories about someone else that could be potentially damaging, it’s time to stop. Too much gossiping can make you seem insecure or egocentric.
The good: Regular coffee consumption is actually good for you! Numerous studies have shown multiple health benefits, including a lower risk for stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, liver cancer and gallstones. The bad: If you indulge in fancy, high-calorie java drinks, they can make you fat since they’re not only packed with caffeine, but also calories. And pregnant women shouldn’t drink coffee at all because it can increase the risk of miscarriage.
5. Being Messy
The good: So what if your desk is a pile of papers and the junk drawer is so crammed with stuff it won’t open? Moderately disorganized people also tend to be more creative and efficient than those who are obsessively neat. The bad: When the boss looks at you like your desk is a fire hazard or you can’t find your favorite jeans in your closet, it’s time to clean up. Being messy is fine–to a point. Complete disorder is a problem. Schedule weekly tidy-up sessions to keep things under control.