Health & Fitness, Wellbeing

Habits So Bad, They’re Actually Good For You – Tan Lili

Teetotalers, you may want to reconsider your choices. Don’t quote Tan Lili; this study says it all!

bad habits 2

A 2010 study on the link between alcohol consumption and mortality has resurfaced on the Internet the past couple of weeks. Boy, am I glad for it – and I’m pretty sure some of you would share my sentiment, too!

In a statement that goes against what we were led to believe for a very long time, the findings showed that moderate and even heavy drinkers tend to live longer than those who abstain from alcohol. Here’s a breakdown of the mortality rate of the 1,824 participants aged 55 to 65, over a 20-year period:

Abstainers – 69%
Heavy drinkers – 60%
Moderate drinkers – 41%

These findings have stunned many, even the researchers. One possible explanation for the results is that alcohol is associated with social interactivity, which, in turn, plays a big part in maintaining mental and physical health. But before you break out the bubblies, it’s crucial to note that alcohol has an effect on your brain chemistry, which can lead to a whole host of problems, including dependency. The rule of thumb is to stick to moderate drinking – i.e. no more than three drinks a day. Well, that’s good enough for me!

This study got me curious about other seemingly nasty habits that actually boast certain health benefits. Read on.

Get angry

When channeled appropriately, anger not only results in better decision-making but also keeps your wellbeing in check! By “appropriately”, I mean not lashing out. The trick is to give yourself some time to (A) figure out the trigger; (B) regroup your thoughts; and (C) come up with a course of action. Read this article for more ways to rein in your inner Hulk.

bad habits 3Get (a little) dirty

Mothers, the next time your child gets his hands dirty at the park, STOP FREAKING OUT. A 2012 Finnish study found a link between biodiversity and human health, claiming that immune systems rich in biodiversity – be it because you are constantly surrounded by biodiversity or because of the microbes on your skin and in your stomach – are more resilient and, therefore, at a lower risk of allergic, inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. This is all due to the primary role of our immune system – to detect and distinguish pathogens from harmless, healthy tissue. For the role to function properly, our immune system needs to be exposed to a wide range of organisms early in life. We old folks may have missed that window, but it’s still not too late for our kids.

On the same note, keeping your house overly sanitised means destroying all the nasty and harmless germs, which makes way for more serious strains to invade the environment. In other words, a little messiness is not a bad thing! (I hope you’re reading this, Mum.)

F**k, yeah!

Separate studies found that swearing can provide short-term relief from pain as well as help employees better cope with stress and develop team solidarity. Not suggesting we should start cursing like a sailor, of course – the pain relief was significantly less apparent for those who swear a hell lot. So, as with all indulgences, swear in moderation, my friends.

Sleep in on weekends

My love for my bed has never changed all these years. Turns out, my bed loves me back! Sleeping in on weekends has been found to boost your immune system, improve your memory, reduce stress as well as help you live longer. Interestingly, a recent study also proved that those who wake up to an alarm are three times more likely to be overweight than those who wake up naturally to their body’s internal clock – relying on the former messes up with your sleep schedule, which causes you to eat at irregular times and slow your metabolism.

Drink your kopi

See, I knew Garfield was an excellent role model. Two to three cups of coffee a day can actually help lower the risk of depression by 15% in women, revealed a recent study. Not only that, coffee is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help protect against chronic diseases like Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and cancer. Now, excuse me while I make myself my third cup of coffee for the day.

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as (now, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction.