By Maya Shavit
As you finish your morning coffee and consider the exam you have later today, you subconsciously start biting your nails in anxiety. So you journey into the abyss that is your backpack to find those notes from last week. In this brief time, have you just hit the trifecta of bad habits? Copious amounts of coffee, nail biting, and messiness are three of the most sacred “bad” habits. However, it turns out many of those “bad” habits may actually be beneficial to you.
The first habit that many people deem unhealthy is drinking coffee. Coffee is that magical brown liquid that crazed students and parents alike drink when they need an extra energy boost but that many people view as a devil in disguise. According to a report in Science News, though, coffee contains chemicals that may fight Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Type 2 diabetes, and liver cancer, not to mention that coffee may improve memory. Studies have shown that women who drink 2-3 cups a day are 15% less likely to become depressed. One caveat, though: Stick to black coffee or even decaf but not so much to frappuccinos and sugar-filled drinks.
Nail biting is another habit that much of society deems to be a sure sign of personal weakness. Yes, biting your nails exposes the body to germs, but many doctors believe this small exposure to germs may not be that harmful. In fact, according to a report in the journal Nature, such exposure may build up the immune system and allow the body to be healthier in the long run by creating bacteria to fight off the more extreme sicknesses that can enter through the body’s orifices.
But what about our favorite bad habit, messiness? Is there any way that piles of papers can really be helpful? Disorganization is extremely common, but it actually may indicate creativity. A messy person may actually be more efficient than her neat-freak cousin according to economist Tim Harford. And messiness can even be beneficial to overall health. A study by Kingston University suggests that dust mites are less likely to live in unmade beds than in tidily made beds.
Overall, many of us learn from a young age to avoid habits that are supposedly detrimental to one’s body, but many of those particular habits may actually have some benefits or even define someone’s character. So think again before telling someone to break habits that come naturally to him or her.