Believe it or not, your bad habits could actually put you on the road to happiness. That's from Mary O'Malley, author of The Gift of Our Compulsions. Most people have nervous habits. Things they always do when things get tense. And the 5 most common compulsions are: fingernail chewing, eating snacks, hair twirling, jaw clenching, and foot tapping.
But all these tics are simply signs that your inner self needs some attention--And once you figure out what you really want instead of bloody, bitten cuticles you're on you way to a happier you. Here's how:

  • Catch yourself in the act. For example, next time you find yourself doodling to let off steam, say "Hey, I figured it out. Good for me!" Bottom line: All that doodling is just a wake-up call that something else in your life deserves your undivided attention. Which leads us to:
  • Number 2: Travel back in time. In other words, ask yourself questions like: "What was I thinking about right before I opened that giant bag of Cheetos?" You might think you snack out of boredom. But maybe your afternoon snack attack always happens when you're waiting for your kids to call after school.
  • And the final step toward using your bad habits to make yourself happy is--Acknowledge the stress, and cut it off at the source. In other words, instead of grabbing a candy bar at 4 o'clock, remind yourself you don't really want it--What you really want, is to hear from your child. And instead of eating, relax by spending the next 5 minutes with your eyes closed, slowly breathing in and out. If you'd like to go further, the book is The Gift of Our Compulsions by Mary O'Malley.