3 Simple Body Movements that Boost Mental Ability

by Mike Smith on November 25, 2010

I’ve been listening to a healthy amount of podcasts each day. Is there an unhealthy amount? Well anyway, a couple of the podcasts that I’m subscribed to are Scientific American’s 60-Second Science and 60-Second Mind. Between the two podcasts, three episodes stuck out to me. According to the studies mentioned below, we can boost our mental capabilities by making simple body movements.

Boost Creativity with your Eyes

We sometimes refer to ourselves as being right-brained or left-brained. The left hemisphere of the brain is verbal, logical and structured. The right hemisphere of the brain tends to be more visual, creative, and spontaneous. When brainstorming ideas it is beneficial to have both hemispheres working together. Scientists, through a study that is about a year old, found a way to get both hemispheres to communicate better together when a performing a creative problem solving task. It is as simple as moving your eyes from side to side for about 30 seconds before beginning the task. Study subjects who did this body movement were able to come up with more unique ideas than the control test subjects. To learn more about the study or listen to the podcast episode, check out Boost Your Creativity with Eye Movement.

Increase Self-Control with your Muscles

Having trouble saying “no” to the leftover pumpkin pie sitting on the counter after Thanksgiving dinner? A recent study shows that the simple body movement of tightening any muscle will increase your self-control. However, there is an additional step that must be in place before tightening a muscle. To successfully exercise willpower, an overall goal like a desire to be healthy, must be in place. To learn more about the study or listen to the podcast episode, check out Clenched Muscles Assist Self-Control.

Enhance Cognitive Ability with your Feet

Want to jump start your mind before a difficult mental task? Take a step back. Or even better yet, four steps back. This works because it taps into the negative emotions associated with backing away from an object. These negative emotions were found to enhance brainpower. The subjects who took four steps back improved accuracy and timing for the task while the subjects who took four steps forward had the opposite effect. To learn more about the study or listen to the podcast episode, check out Our Bodies, Our Brains.

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