6 MIND TRICKS
HOW CAN I TRAIN MY MIND?
n merican study has shown that people who are relaxed and think positively are sick less oiten than those who are stressed and negative. “Psychological processes play an important role,” explains endocrinologist hristopher %erger. %ut how do you turn a pessimist into an optimist 7he Iollowing tricks can help you outsmart your deiault negative mode…
Up to 50 million damaged cells are replaced during sleep. This cell-care acts like a rejuvenation programme – not only for the body, but also for the mind. Evidently, sleep is incredibly important and only a few people can get by on fewer than six hours. The less sleep you get, the more your concentration levels will decrease.
A slumped posture not only reflects negative thoughts – it reproduces them. It’s been proven that adopting a 90-degree angle with the floor when standing upright has a positive affect on awareness. Psychologist Sascha Topolinski explains: “A person with an upright posture not only seems more confident, they feel it.” It also increases mental power.
You use up to 80 muscles when you laugh. These stimulate neurotransmitters in the brain that increase willpower. Adults use this tool on average just 15 times per day, while children laugh up to 400 times. But it doesn’t need to be a fit of the giggles to have a positive effect: in a study, psychologist Fritz Stack asked subjects to hold a pencil sideways between their teeth, in effect forcing them to smile. The result: the facial movement triggered a biochemical reaction and led to them laughing. Apparently the brain doesn’t care why you’re grinning, – just that you’re doing it
If you see yourself as a helpless victim of fate, you’ll feel trapped – like you’ve lost control. It’s better to focus on what you can actively change. You should train your thoughts at least three times a day with the following question: what can I do today to improve my life? It can even be something small such as a walk. Passivity weakens the will and control strengthens it, regardless of what life throws at you. Avoid saying things like “I wish I had…” or “if I could…”
To stimulate the ‘chemical line’ between the body and brain, thoughts can be directed to body regions or movements. Yoga has been used for this purpose for thousands of years. A study by the University of Calgary demonstrated that just a 90-minute workout for 12 weeks produced quantifiable effects in the participants’ bodies. A blood test showed that telomeres, a region at the end of chromosomes, were longer in the Yogis than in the control group. They become shorter with each cell division, offering a clue about the age of the body. The shorter they are, the lower the life expectancy of the person.
Doctors use so-called neurofeedback to specifically strengthen the mind and willpower. They train ‘good’ thoughts. Normally, people are incapable of recognising their own brain currents – the electric activity in the nerve cells that becomes thoughts and feelings. Neurofeedback changes this: using electrodes attached to the head, brain currents are measured and transmitted to a computer. It then formulates feedback from the data – for example, a sound or an image. It takes about 0.2 seconds for a human to calibrate a thought. So, when the device warns of a negative thought, the patient can take countermeasures. If this process is repeated hundreds of times, the brain will learn to think on a more positive level.