If you practice dance moves in the grocery store or belt out songs at top volume while driving, well, you're probably in a great head space. As it turns out, if you do some of these weird things, it's actually a sign of emotional health. Maybe weird is really the new normal, after all.
It's easy to feel self-conscious about your own quirks and daily habits. I talk to my cats as though they understand every word, for instance, and would be mortified if a stranger happened in upon one of these conversations. (Friends and family are totally used to it by now.) But surprisingly, odd little behaviors like these often show that people are comfortable in their own skin, and probably pretty happy as well.
To learn more about the normality of strange behaviors, Romper reached out to a variety of mental health experts, counselors, and life coaches. They were all pretty reassuring about these weird things you probably don't want to neighbors to see you doing. Whether you routinely talk to yourself or wear basically the same thing every day, you're probably not all that weird at all. Honestly? I want to do all of these things at once to have a freaking awesome day.
1. Scream Into Pillows
Sometimes it's OK to take out your frustrations on inanimate objects. Expressing anger by screaming into a pillow, ripping up a letter, or even breaking something can be a healthy sign, says life coach Meg Coogan. That anger has to go somewhere.
2. Interact With Nature
Don't be shy to express your connection with the natural world. "For example, if you have an impulse to say hi to a little bird, say hi to it," says Coogan. Take a moment to really enjoy nature whenever you're outside.
3. Dance Anywhere
The world is your dance floor. "If you find yourself dancing or skipping as you amble down the street, it's a great sign," says Rev. Connie L. Habash, MA, a licensed marriage and family therapist, yoga teacher, and interfaith minister. "First of all, it reflects that you know and like yourself - high self-esteem - at least enough to not care what anyone else thinks!" So don't be afraid to bust a move in the middle of the sidewalk if you feel like it.
4. Schedule Worry Time
Do you specifically schedule worry time into your planner? It's a healthy idea. "By having a plan in place for dealing with stress you are demonstrating the importance of having control over your worry rather than having it control you," says Jessica Singh, MSW, mental health therapist and founder of Transcendence Counseling Center. "This way you can still address your negative thoughts, but on your terms." So go ahead and write "worry" in your bullet journal.
5. Talk To Yourself
Thinking out loud might be a very healthy habit. "Studies show that thinking out loud or talking to oneself can have remarkable physical and psychological benefits," says Samantha Morrison, a health and wellness expert for Glacier Wellness. "Besides for its calming effect, talking to yourself can even increase your likelihood of success. In fact, verbal self-expression has been found to boost memory, alleviate stress, and even regulate blood pressure." Go ahead and chat away, even if no one else is in the room at the moment.
6. Pause Before Responding
It's OK if you don't respond to every conversation with fast and snappy replies. "In this fast-paced culture, it's customary to have a quick, clever response every time we're spoken to (or emailed or texted). It may seem weird when someone takes a while to respond because they are thinking about their response," says Karen R. Koenig, MEd, LCSW. "This pause is often due to people reflecting on what they want to say because they care about you or the subject and the fact is that psychological reflection is often a sign of good mental health." Don't pressure yourself to have rapid-fire conversations when you really just need a few seconds to think.
7. Ignore Social Media
Don't feel bad if your own Facebook or Insta posts are few and far between. "Likewise, not being on or using social media frequently can be viewed today as a sign that there's something wrong with a person, when they may be very emotionally healthy, preferring to see friends in person or avoid the superficiality and complications built into social media usage," says Koenig. Face-to-face communication is so much more fulfilling, right?
8. Put Your Phone Down
If you're not that into your phone, then here's some positive news. "On a similar note, not having a cell phone or only using it in emergencies (as I tend to), can seem just plain weird to people who can't imagine leaving home without it," says Koenig. Of course, it's a perfectly fine decision. "We need to be careful not to confuse a culture norm with psychological health." Honestly, I'd like to be less infatuated with my smartphone, so I admire people who aren't as obsessed with the things.
9. Wear A Limited Wardrobe
There's nothing wrong with finding a signature style and sticking to it. "Keeping our closet limited to only a few items that we actually wear is a sign of emotional health," says Shannon Thomas of Shannon Thomas Counseling, Inc. "Streamlining our wardrobe choices allows us to use our mental energy somewhere else in life and keeps us from being disappointed if certain items don't fit anymore or hold negative memories." Marie Kondo would definitely approve of this minimalist approach to dressing.
10. Keep Few Phone Contacts
It's cool if your contacts list doesn't go into the triple digits. "Having a small number of contacts in our personal phone is a sign of emotional health because it shows we are not hanging onto relationship connects that are long gone," says Thomas. It's actually a good sign if you regularly clear out your contacts list.
Sometimes letting your mind wander is a very healthy habit. "Pausing and daydreaming about our future hopes and goals is a sign of emotional health," says Thomas. "These small snippets of mediation allow our body and mind to pause, get quiet and tap into how we would like our future to look." It's OK to indulge in fantasies about your future.
12. Take Long Baths
Soaking in the tub won't solve all of your problems, but it certainly doesn't hurt. "Allowing your body to decompress helps support emotional health," says Katrina Pointer, licensed therapist, relationship coach, and owner of Love Therapy. Pour in the bubble bath and chill for a bit.
13. Sing In The Car
Go ahead and perfect your imaginary Broadway audition at that red light. "People connect with music and its lyrics. This is emotionally healthy to unplug in that moment," says Pointer. Whether you're singing in traffic or sashaying down the sidewalk, enjoy your weird but healthy quirks.