Everyone has a bad habit or two (or six). Bad habits don't necessarily have to work against you. After a long day at the office, keeping all of your emotions in check and your work in focus, you could use a little de-stressing to wind down.
Here are some bad habits that could actually work to your advantage if you work 'em the right way:
Playing Video Games
If you regularly settle down to devote hours of your free time to Halo, or you nestle into your wheelie chair on your daily lunch break to conquer a round of Minesweeper, you're probably a gamer -- or you're really good at hiding it. The truth is, a little time in fantasy land could be just what you needed. Dr. Kathleen Hall, founder of the Stress Institute and author of "A Life in Balance: Nourishing the Four Roots of True Happiness" recommends 10 to 15 minutes of online computer play to refresh and get you ready to work. Even video games can have a positive effect if you keep your play time to a minimum. Current studies show that certain games and game time can actually help kids concentrate.
Dressing Your Worst
There's the right way to dress for work and the wrong way, but when you're no longer there, you can wear whatever you want. Unless you've hit celebrity status and are under the constant eye of the paparazzi, ditching your work duds and slipping into something a little more comfortable can help create a whole new attitude to fit with your changed environment. It's similar to the effects feng shui can have on your office or your room. Feeling good in what you're wearing gears you up for what's next -- whether it's mowing the lawn, doing the laundry or taking a much-needed break.
Whether it is "Seinfeld" reruns, reality TV or ESPN filling your tube time, there's a solution: Keep it under an hour and everyone wins. Dr. Gary Solomon has not only studied the therapeutic effects of movies and TV shows, but he's even trademarked the term "cinematherapy." Solomon says that flawed characters in these shows enable you to dig a little deeper and see that not everyone's perfect. To give yourself a motivational kick, Solomon suggests viewing a movie along the lines of "North Country" or "Working Girl."
Swear It All Out
If you desperately need to let it all out without censoring yourself, take your day-at-work reviews to the most reliable confidant you have -- yourself. Keeping a journal or sketch book gives you the chance to say everything on your mind without the same consequences you may have telling a real person. If you've got your mind in the gutter, a mouth like a sailor or fear your book could get discovered, you may want to take your musings to an online journal. It eliminates the worries of where you left it and who could find it, with your own password to access it whenever you choose. Just remember to select the "private entry" mode when you write something you're not ready to share.
You've whipped out the bills in your wallet so many times that you have actually gotten paper-cuts. Or maybe your dream vacation is a trip to Las Vegas with access to place "just one more bet" over and over again. Well, unless you have the funds to back that kind of desire without watching your life savings dwindle, you could be in trouble. Instead, take the money-losing part out and counter it with online gaming. A non-backed bet on the computer could even provide you with practice to learn more about it before you place your bets. If that's not your scene, try a friendly weekly game of poker with friends who live as frugally as you do. You could multitask by making your time with friends fun, educational and maybe even profitable.
Rocking Out Your Air Guitar
The song starts and you're center stage, guitar in hand, rocking out and singing every song like you own it. Only you don't really own it. In fact, center stage is actually your living room and the only instrument you have is the hairbrush you use as your microphone when you're not belting out your hair metal solos. Well, all the energy you pour into your private shows not only helps you memorize every note, it also releases endorphins, entertains and could even help you win some money. And if you practice enough, you could find yourself in the U.S. Air Guitar contest and be in the running to be an international air-superstar.
Candace Corner is a writer for CareerBuilder.com.
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