Bright Side

11 Unexpected Habits That Are Actually Good for Your Health

Being a couch potato for an extra hour, playing video games or chewing a bubble gum are, according to strict parents, unhealthy and irresponsible. Well, that's what they say. Apparently, these "destructive" activities and some other unusual habits might have positive effects on our mood, brain, and health. Give them a try, and you won't have to wait long for some interesting results.

The Bright Side team always tries to look at the world from another perspective, that's why we decided to create a list of 11 unexpected habits that are actually useful for your health. Let's get started!

1. Chewing gum: reduces stress levels and boosts memory

Apparently, chewing gum while reading has a bunch of positive effects on our bodies. Among them, it improves memory, attention, alertness, and decision making.

Studies show that people who chewed gum during tests performed 24% better on short-term memory tests and 36% better on long-term memory tests. Another study proved that chewing gum also decreases the feeling of stress, because it reduces levels of the hormone cortisol, which plays a part in the development of stress reactions.

2. Playing video games: enhances your ability to learn and make decisions

Fast-paced action video games with peripheral images and events that pop up help people to take in sensory data and turn it into correct decision making and improved reactions, as proven by the study. Moreover, fast real-time strategy video games enhance our brain's ability and our ability to learn. Though, this trick only works with fast action games, and not with slow time-passers like The Sims.

3. Swearing: reduces stress and increases pain tolerance

Swearing can reduce stress and help to remove frustration. Moreover, it can increase pain tolerance according to a study done by Keele University’s School of Psychology. It's an emotional release, but if you overuse it, swearing will lose its emotional attachment and turn into a bad and unnecessary habit.

4. Being messy: helps to boost creativity

Remember how your mom always told you that being messy is a sign of bad manners, disorganization, and no discipline? Well, actually, our messy habits show the creativity that we have hiding inside.

There was an experiment done by Kathleen Vohs and her colleagues at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. 2 groups of people were put in neat and messy rooms and were told to come up with as many uses for ping-pong balls as they could and to write them down. Results showed that the participants in the messy room produced more creative ideas.

5. Sleeping in: reduces heart attacks and strokes

People who wake up early like to accuse those who like to sleep a bit longer of being lazy and unmotivated. But, this is not true. Early rising might be bad for your health.

According to this study, people who wake up too early can develop a risk for high blood pressure and are likely to experience a hardening of the arteries, heart attack, stroke, and hypertension. So, feel free to follow your body's lead and get some more sleep!

6. Gossiping: helps friendships and relieves stress

Though gossiping is considered to be malevolent or untrustworthy, it also has a positive influence on us. Psychological research shows that gossiping improves our bonds with other people and helps our friendships with them grow. Also, gossiping reduces levels of stress and anxiety. Groups who gossip cooperate, deter selfishness, and exchange social information better.

7. Burping: helps to relieve stomach pain

A burp might sound disgusting, but it's a normal part of our digestion process. It helps to remove unwanted gas that has collected inside the stomach and helps us maintain good gastric health. You have to belch so the gas doesn't stay inside your stomach and sets you free from heartburn. As some people say: “It’s better out than in.”

8. Skipping a shower: softens the skin and keeps good bacteria

We're not trying to tell you that missing showers repeatedly will do you any good, but once in a while it can have a positive influence on your health. Showering every day, especially with hot water, can dry your skin out and make wrinkles appear. If you shower every other day, you will allow your skin to restore its natural oils, becoming soft and more radiant.

Also, everyday showers with soap kill the good bacteria produced by your body as a natural antibiotic. Less frequent showers will help these bacteria to stay on your skin longer, keeping you healthy.

9. Using social media: provides you with emotional support and makes you feel connected to society

Social media is shown as a big time consumer and productivity reducer. And this is definitely true if you use social media too frequently. At the same time, it has positive impacts on your life and psychological health.

Social media helps us to feel less isolated and more connected to society, makes it easy to find emotional support from our peers, and inspires us to achieve different goals by sharing ours with the world.

10. Taking cold showers: improves blood circulation and weight loss

Are you one of those people who think that showering under cold water will make you instantly sick? Turns out, you might be wrong. Cold water actually improves the blood circulation, causing the lowering of uric acid levels and increasing the levels of glutathione, an antioxidant that keeps all other antioxidants performing at their optimal levels.

It also lowers blood pressure, clears blocked arteries, and improves our immune system. Additionally, cold showers can promote weight loss and activate fat burning activities.

11. Sleeping with gloves on: improves your night’s rest

11 Unexpected Habits That Are Actually Good for Your Health

In order to initiate good sleep and then maintain deep sleep during the entire night, your core body temperature needs to drop by 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit. And, surprisingly enough, warming your hands and feet with gloves, socks, or heating pads might lead to lowering your core temperature and helping you to fall asleep easier.

Do you know any other unusual habits that are actually good for your health? Let's continue the list together in the comments!