5 Good Reasons to Be Bad

We've all found ourselves at one time or another gossiping about a co-worker, neighbor, or even a celebrity -- you know, "Why on earth would Lady Gaga wear a meat dress to the MTV Video Music Awards?" or "Does she really have to drive around in that Lexus SUV like she owns the neighborhood?" We may even feel a twinge of guilt afterward.

Next time, don't worry so much! Talking smack behind someone else's back could be good for you.

Here are healthy reasons for gossiping and partaking in other seemingly "bad" behaviors ...


Gossiping: Now, I couldn't come close to Mean Girls- or Heathers-grade bad-mouthing, but I've always been somewhat of a yente, as my grandmother would say (AKA busybody/big mouth). Turns out, I should keep it up for my own good! New research finds that higher levels of gossiping are associated with feelings of greater social support. What's more, having only good things to say, or "positive gossip," is linked to a short-term boost in self-esteem.

Swearing: Nothing gets me cursing more like a sailor than coping with incompetent, rude drivers. When cut off or tailgated, I've heard words fly out of my mouth that I never knew I knew, let alone could utter. Turns out, it may actually offer emotional catharsis that can "purge negative emotion" and serve as a boon for my overall health, according to a new study in the journal Psychosomatics.

Spending hours on the Internet (like you're probably doing right now): I confess that some days, I'll spend eight hours at work browsing the Web. And then go home, and do it for three more! Agh, my physical therapist would be so ashamed. But researchers at UCLA would be OK with it. They found that frequent Web browsing stimulates centers in the brain for that control decision-making and complex reasoning, in turn, potentially slowing physiological changes that lead to memory decline. Now, where was that YouTube video I wanted to watch...

Being a slob: Next time my clean and tidy boyfriend gives me a hard time for not making our bed, I will say, "Ha! Little did you know, I'm preventing us from having to buy another box of Claritin." That's right -- not making your bed can keep you healthy, says research from Kingston University in the UK. They found that dust mites which produce allergens cannot survive in the "warm, dry conditions found in an unmade bed." Kinda skeevy, yes, but I'll take it.

Daydreaming: True that your boss may not be so happy if she calls an impromptu meeting and finds you staring off into space with a smirk on your face. But zoning out doesn't necessarily mean that you're acting lazy or even wasting time. Studies show that the brain is most active when you're daydreaming, and less so when you're doing routine tasks (like, you know, your work). In fact, the "workout for your brain" bolsters your problem-solving abilities! Boo-yah!

Be honest ... what's your favorite "bad" behavior?

Image via DraconianRain/Flickr

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