How To Change Your Brain

gears in brain

Prof Richard Wiseman’s new book Rip It Up is a self-help book. With a difference. Everything in it has been demonstrated by real scientists doing proper experiments properly. No flim-flam.

I mentioned him two weeks ago when I was banging on about method acting and making yourself actually feel emotions, at will. The example was about being happier – smile and you feel happy. This seems to be the wrong way round. We assume that we smile because we are happy. That may be true, but it seems to work the other way as well.

Here’s some of the good stuff Prof Wiseman talks about…

  • If you push something away from you, even if you like it (say a plate of biscuits) you end up not liking it so much. The action has produced an effect in the brain.
  • If you want to feel more self-confident, adopt the “power pose” – sit down, lean back, look up and interlock your hands behind your head.
  • Don’t drag your heels and look at the ground when you’re walking…you’ll get depressed.
  • When people role play negotiation, they are tougher and less flexible if you make them sit on hard furniture and have the room slightly cool. Soft furniture and a warm room lead to better outcomes.
  • Cosmetic Botox makes you less happy (because you cannot smile). Conversely, if you are depressed, Botox can make you happy (because you cannot frown).
  • If the centre of your monitor is above your eye line, you will adopt a posture that will make you persevere in a task for a lot longer than if you slouch or look down.

It seems that all that stuff that your teachers used to say – sit up straight, don’t drag your heels, chin up…it’s all great advice. These actions have an effect on your brain.

The one that really stuck with me was some work on procrastination. If you act as if you are highly motivated by taking the first steps to complete a task that you don’t want to do, even if just for a few minutes, you will develop a desire to complete the task. Act as if you’re motivated for a few minutes and you become motivated!

Here’s the take away message – if you want a quality, act as if you already have it.

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