From biting your nails to being late, how so-called bad habits actually might be good for you

July 26, 2022

Nobody’s perfect, but researcher’s at Britain’s Oxford University have some good news for us: Some bad habits and bad manners might actually be good for us, according to a report by The Sun.

Below, are six things that we might not want to be caught doing in polite company, but that really could help, not hurt, according to researchers:

  • Biting nails–boosts immune system: Gnawing at your fingernails might make some people shudder, but biters have the last laugh. Some scientists believe such nibbling can keep you healthy. The theory is that introducing new bacteria into your body could help your immune system learn to recognize it in the future—like a vaccination.
  • Chewing gum—sharpens memory: Chewing on a stick of gum might get you a lecture from the dentist, but it could be worth it. Chewing is more effective than caffeine at helping with focus and memory, according to research. It raises levels of stress hormone cortisol, which keeps you on your toes and concentrating for longer.
  • Not tidying up—a sign of intelligence: If you constantly find yourself tripping over your kids’ shoes or standing on their Legos, your child might be a genius. Being messy is a sign of intelligence, according to the University of Minnesota.  Smarter people don’t waste time tidying or organizing things, they say (which may not “spark joy” for Marie Kondo). The chaotic clutter also boosts creativity.
  • Bad posture—can benefit your spine: The next time someone ticks you off for bad posture after a long day, tell them this: After hard physical work, leaning forward for a bit can benefit your spine, says University Hospital of North Tees. The position helps alleviate back stiffness by allowing fluid to grease up spinal discs, its study discovered.
  • Being late—makes you happy: Arriving late to parties might infuriate hostsm, but it keeps guests easy-going. Those with a relaxed approach to timekeeping are likely to have lower stress levels, says a study by Harvard Medical School. They are also more likely to lead a healthier, happier lifestyle.
  • Playing with your hair—stops boredom: Next time you find yourself zoning out, twiddling with your hair could help. A 2014 study found that playing with your locks can alleviate boredom when your concentration is waning. Messing with your tresses can even reduce anxiety and help you to wind down before going to bed.

Research contact: @TheSun