When you were growing up, adults probably warned you about picking up on all sorts of bad habits. Perhaps you were forbidden from cracking your knuckles or ever wearing a bra to sleep. As it turns out, however, plenty of these apparently bad habits are actually OK for you. Yes, you can mentally say "I told you so!" to that person who always berated your love of gum chewing.
For the most part, these not-so-bad habits were probably discouraged because they might seem destructive. For instance, some people can crack their knuckles so loudly it sounds like their hand is getting broken. Of course others would assume that the cracking was doing some damage. Chances are, most of these habits were deemed bad by people who honestly meant well.
However, most people are already concerned about avoiding the habits that are actually destructive or harmful. Hey, the whole healthy living business can take a lot of work and self-restraint. So if chewing on gum or sipping down a second coffee helps you get through the day, well, go ahead and enjoy those guiltless pleasures. Here are a few habits that don't do any harm, so go ahead and indulge if you wish.
1. Wearing A Bra To Bed
Really, choosing whether to sleep in a bra is just a matter of personal preference. "Sleeping in a bra will not make a girl's breasts perkier or prevent them from getting saggy. And it will not cause a girl to develop cancer or stunt her breast growth," according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Wear a comfy bra at night if that's what works for you, or just go au naturale.
2. Cracking Your Knuckles
As a kid, you were likely warned about the dangers of cracking your knuckles time and time again. However, it won't actually damage your hands for life. "Cracking your knuckles does no harm at all to our joints," said Dr. Robert Klapper, orthopaedic surgeon and co-director of the Joint Replacement Program at Cedars-Sinai. "It does not lead to arthritis." The sound does bother some people, though, so keep this in mind if you want to crack knuckles in public.
3. Dropping Swear Words
A foul mouth may have some benefits. "There’s great research coming out of Australia and New Zealand, which is perhaps not surprising, that says that jocular abuse, particularly swearing among friends, is a strong signal of the degree of trust that those friends share," said Emma Byrne, author of Swearing Is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language, in National Geographic. By dropping an expletive here and there, you're possibly displaying trust to close friends and family. (Plus, some situations just call for strong language.)
4. Chewing Gum
Gnawing on gum might help improve focus. "There is evidence that chewing increases blood flow to the brain, and this may contribute to the increase in alertness that is consistently associated with gum chewing," said Dr. Andrew Scholey, co-author of a gum-chewing study in Physiology & Behavior, in TIME. If powering through a pack of gum helps you complete the task at hand, then chew away.
Maybe sitting still is overrated. "It turns out that there was a positive correlation between fidgeting and longevity and that the correlation was strong enough even to cancel out the increased mortality associated with prolonged sitting," as Heidi Moawad, MD., explained in Modern Medicine Network. The fidgeting and longevity study she mentioned followed 12,778 women for an average of 12 years, according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Squirming around in your seat could be a healthy habit after all.
6. Drinking Coffee
A moderate coffee habit is probably not doing you any harm. "Recent studies have generally found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of heart disease or cancer," according to Donald Hensrud, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic. "In fact, some studies have found an association between coffee consumption and decreased overall mortality and possibly cardiovascular mortality, although this may not be true in younger people who drink large amounts of coffee." But for the most part, a cup or two a day is likely fine. Really, it turns out that a lot of so-called bad habits are actually pretty harmless, or even beneficial in some cases.
7. Using Filler Words
Filler words, such as like, um, and ah, are often accused of making a person sound less competent when speaking. But really, they're just another form of verbal expression. In fact, recent studies have found that filler words can help give a speaker personality, improve listener comprehension, and even aid with recall, as Susmita Baral explained in Quartz. "These studies give merit to the notion that using filler words in moderation can be a strategic tool," explained Baral. Filler words give you time to think, and they may help keep your listener's attention.