6 MIND TRICKS
HOW DO I TRAIN MY POWER OF THOUGHT?
An American study has shown that people who are relaxed and think positively get sick less often than those who are tense and think negatively. “Psychological processes play an important role,” says endocrinologist Christopher Berger. But just how do you turn a pessimist into an optimist? The following mind tricks can help you outsmart a negative mindset.
Up to 50 million damaged cells are replaced with fresh ones during sleep. This cell care serves as a rejuvenation program— not only for the body, but also for the mind. Sleep is therefore incredibly important, and very few of us can get by on less than six hours. If you sleep less than that, your ability to concentrate noticeably decreases.
Not only does a huddled-up body reflect negative thoughts— it reproduces them. Standing up straight so the body forms a 90-degree angle with the floor has a positive effect on our consciousness. Psychologist Sascha Topolinski explains: “Those with an upright posture not only seem more confident, they also feel it.” It therefore follows that mental strength also increases.
We use up to 80 muscles when we laugh. They stimulate certain neurotransmitters in the brain that increase our willpower. On average adults make use of these laughter “power packs” just 15 times per day, while children will laugh up to 400 times per day. But it doesn’t take a fit of giggles or side-splitting guffaws to yield a positive effect: In a study, social psychologist Fritz Stack asked his test subjects to put a pencil in their mouths. Result: The pencil was enough to trigger the biochemical reaction. Apparently the brain doesn’t care why you’re grinning, the main thing is to just do it.
If you see yourself as a victim of your fate, you’ll feel like you’ve been cast adrift at sea— basically, a feeling of loss of control. It’s better to maintain a point of view that focuses on what can actively be affected. You should train your thoughts at least three times a day with this question: What can I do today to improve my life? It can even be small things like taking a walk. Passivity weakens the will, while control strengthens it, despite all the adversities of life. Avoid statements like “Had I just…” or “If only I could…”
90 x 12 FORMULA
To stimulate the chemical “dedicated line” between the body and brain, thoughts can be directed toward bodily regions or sequences of movements. One technique that has been used for thousands of years for this purpose is yoga. A study at Canada’s University of Calgary demonstrated that just 90 minutes of training per week for 12 weeks produced measurable effects in the subjects’ bodies. A blood test showed: Telomeres, the regions at the ends of each chromosome, were longer in the yogis than in control group members. Telomeres get shorter with each cell division, thereby giving a clue about a body’s biological age. The shorter they are, the lower the life span.
200- MILLISECOND FORMULA
To strengthen the psyche and the will in a targeted way, doctors rely on so-called neurofeedback: training “good” thoughts. Ordinarily, people are not capable of recognizing their own brain waves— the electrical activity among the neurons that becomes thoughts and feelings. Neurofeedback changes that: By means of electrodes attached to the head, brain waves are measured and transmitted to a computer, which then “formulates” feedback from the data— e.g., as 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. Through hundreds of repetitions of this “reorientation” action, the brain learns to always think on a positive level.