Bad Habits You Don't Need to Kick

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Your Habit: Social Networking

The upside: If you've just spent an hour reading Facebook posts like "Mallory Smith ate pepperoni pizza for breakfast," you might concede a point to those who view social networking as the ruin of humanity. But there's a reason that Facebook has more than 300 million active users worldwide. "These sites may help people deepen their relationships," says Christine Greenhow, EdD, chair of the Social Networks Research Collaborative at the University of Minnesota.

You're not going to call a meeting with your friends and family and announce that you wish you could slim down or you need a savvy CPA, but if you post it on a social network, you may just get the support or referral you need. Another plus? "Friending" your school-age children on Facebook is a way to keep tabs on them and their crew.

When you've crossed the line: Constantly posting " Suzanne is avoiding her work" instead of actually doing it may signal a social-networking addiction, or "pathological computer use," says Jerald Block, MD, a Portland, Oregon, psychiatrist. Other red flags? You feel tense when your computer is inaccessible; you isolate yourself from others; your compulsion to log on to Facebook overrides the need to eat or sleep. Think you're hooked? Try building social networking into your schedule. Check it in the morning, once at lunch, and again at night rather than staying logged on 24/7.

Continued on page 3:  Your Habit: Coffee


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