Some of you know that I spend time every week reading and updating my knowledge about how the brain works. There are a number of tidbits I found in a current Scientific American Mind magazine that I want to share with you.
1. You can lose weight by thinking about food! For years, neuroscientists have known that when you imagine your are doing something, like playing the piano or basketball, the outcome on the brain is almost as effective as actual practice. The brain records your thoughts as reality. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that this phenomenon works for eating too.
If you imagine eating cookies or cubes of cheese before you are actually offered a plate, you are likely to eat much less than if you thought about something unrelated before eating or focused on how hungry you feel. The more you picture the details of eating food, the more you wear down your desire to eat. How cool is that?!?
2. Do you dread negotiating complex deals? If you can, it is better to at least start the process from a distance either by email for phone. Researchers found that when deal makers were at least 15 miles apart, the person with the upper hand was more willing to compromise and the conversation stayed focused on the main issues instead of getting mired in less important points. Physical distance improves the negotiating climate.
3. Speaking of dread, do you ever spend time worrying about an upcoming meeting, interview or exam? Psychologists at the University of Chicago found that if worried students sat down and wrote their thoughts and feelings about an upcoming test, they performed even better than students who just sat quietly before the test. Remove the interference of worrying by putting your worries on paper.
4. Can’t think of any blog topics or a fresh way to approach a project? Go watch a funny movie or YouTube video. New research found that mood boosting media not only increases chances for “ah ha” moments to occur, but the more anxious you are about being creative the less likely you will be. Laughter is the best way to light up your brain.
I’m off to think about food while reading Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants. I love when research helps me enjoy life more. Do you have any tips to share with your fellow Wander Women (and men)?