10 Quirky Habits That Seem Weird, But Are Actually Totally Normal
If you’ve ever wondered if it’s normal to engage in certain behaviors when you’re alone, mental health experts want you to know: Unless you’re engaging in something truly bizarre or highly inappropriate, your alone-time actions are more normal than you think.
You go on a selfie binge
It’s one thing to take a selfie with a friend, posing in new outfits or near a famous landmark. But is it strange to take selfies and then comb through them when you’re by yourself? Not necessarily, says Aniesa M. Schneberger, MA, LMHC at Tampa Life Change. She explains that meticulous review of selfies before posting them on social media and dabbling with filters is a common behavior that’s in line with today’s technological world of “likes” and gaining followers. However, she warns about going overboard, adding that over-scrutinizing images and getting carried away with filters may damage your self-esteem and get in the way of your authentic self. Here’s what your social media profile really says about you.
You Google yourself and others
Pew Research findings reveal that more than half of Internet users have typed their own name in search engines to see what details about them will surface online. So, you’re not alone. Chances are, you’ve also checked out names of people from days gone by. But is this good? Yes and no, says Julia Breur, PhD, a licensed clinical psychotherapist in Boca Raton, Florida. She recalls a patient who turned to the Internet after a divorce to look up past classmates. “This online activity helped her through a painful breakup,” Dr. Breur says. “Today she happily travels across the U.S. visiting friends from her high school.” The downside? Just be aware of the Internet’s scary aspects. She warns of things like cyberbullying and scams.
You have another “I’d like to thank the Academy” daydream
Do you ever think about your reaction if you won the lottery or imagine yourself accepting a coveted work promotion after just two months on the job? It’s normal to daydream. Psychologists estimate that people daydream for one-third to one-half of their waking hours, despite the fact that a single daydream lasts for only a few minutes. Interestingly, such thoughts can help increase creativity, diminish stress, and generate positive life experiences. Here are weird habits that prove you’re one smart cookie.
You talk to yourself
Much like daydreaming, talking to yourself can help you organize your thoughts and even help you realize certain goals. “Sometimes we catch ourselves doing this in public, which can be embarrassing because we don’t want to be seen as ‘crazy,’ but it’s completely normal,” says Schneberger. “Everyone does it.” She explains that talking out loud to yourself “is an unfiltered unconscious response to surveying our environment” in which you’re conveying what’s on your mind without feeling as though you have to alter your words or be judged by them. Dr. Breur agrees, adding that talking to yourself may help you sort out the many responsibilities and pressures you face as you go throughout life. She says to be mindful of negative self-talk though. Phrases such as “I’m so stupid” can be emotionally damaging, so try to replace such statements with more positive ones. Here are some ways to stop being so hard on yourself.
You watch shows you won’t admit to
Do you feel awkward admitting to watching certain shows like reality programs or even cartoons? Don’t! Dr. Breur says watching occasional “mindless television” is a normal way to help you rest and recharge. She explains that these shows “may allow you to revisit memories and feel the way you did way back when or it can help you to view a certain memory in a new context.” Go ahead, indulge in that gossipy entertainment program or goofy sitcom!
You belt tunes in the shower
Think it’s weird that you sing in the shower, using your shampoo bottle as a microphone? Not to worry. It’s normal, and even good for you. According to howstuffworks.com, warm shower water puts you in a relaxed state, encouraging you to belt out some tunes. All that extra breathing from getting your Adele on puts more oxygen in your blood, which boosts circulation and improves mood. Add to this the fact that you can’t as easily think about mounting bills or other stressors while singing, and it’s a win-win behavior. “Singing to yourself allows the brain and nervous system to release endorphins which makes us feel good,” says Dr. Breur. “So sing away in the shower. It’s normal.” Here are some other stress-busting techniques.
You pick your nose
Of course, you’d never do this during a company meeting or while attending a wedding, but when you’re alone, that’s often a different story. Statistics from a reported Psychology Today Wisconsin study note that 91 percent of people surveyed said they were current nose-pickers and three-quarters of the sample felt that “almost everyone else does it.” While it may be common, it’s cause for concern if you pick to the point of harming yourself. Repetitive nose picking that borders on an obsessive-compulsive level warrants speaking to a mental health professional or physician. (This is how bad picking your nose really is.)
You talk to your pet in a cutesy widdle voice
Does your voice change when you ask your pet if she wants another treat? You know—that high-pitched, sing-song tone that differs from how you speak to friends? This is more normal than you think. American Kennel Club experts suggest that you use this musical, baby-like voice because it evokes a caregiver feeling, making you feel more engaged and genuine. Like puppies? Take this quiz to find out which one you are!
You snack on peanut butter and mayo
Let’s face it, you may not go back for thirds when eating at a work function, but you might occasionally consume a lot of food, or even “odd” food when you’re by yourself. While that’s somewhat understandable behavior, what’s not normal is when you become obsessed with eating extremely different in secret or alone—and often. Cynthia Bulik, PhD, director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, tells Prevention that especially for women, this can become problematic. “There’s sort of an unstated rule” that they should always be on a diet and not have a large appetite, she says. Speak to a professional about any eating disorders you think you may have.
You reminisce a lot
Do you find yourself thinking about your childhood home or first pet more often when you’re alone than when you’re with other people? There’s a reason for that, and it’s all normal. According to a New York Times article, the bittersweet memories attached to nostalgia have been found to help shed feelings of boredom and loneliness. So go ahead and indulge in memories. Doing so may be just what you need when you’re by yourself.