So, knowing we assign emotions to objects, you'd think that most of us would pick the happiest-looking cars we could find. Like we'd all be clamoring for vintage Volkswagen Beetles. After cleaning Lindsay Lohan's vomit off the back seats. When we drive, we're not out there to make friends, unless you're a hippie, and then shouldn't you be on a bike or a donkey or something?
Nope, what we want to convey is toughness, speed, aggression. So we want our cars to have the face of a monster. Or at least a mean dude. Researchers found that lower, wider cars with a wide air intake and angled or slit-like headlights give a picture of power. Not sleepiness, as you'd expect, but power. And that's what drivers are looking for when picking out new vehicles.
At least, when picking out certain kinds of vehicles. You can even see this in the boring, tame old Honda Civic. Here's the standard sedan model, for the moms out there:. Watch out when you find yourself inexplicably drawn to some huge, pissed-off SUV in the front of the car lot. On the other hand, you can use this to your advantage when selling an old car. Just do whatever you can to make it look as pissed off as possible.
According to a study published in the Creativity Research Journal , the simple act of widening your eyeholes can actually serve as an adrenaline boost for your creative thinking. You see, there are two different types of attention -- perceptual attention, which is given to your physical experiences, and conceptual attention, which is allotted to your mental processes. The two are inextricably linked, like conjoined twins jumping rope with their umbilical cord.
If one speeds up or slows down, so does the other.
Likewise, if you increase your spectrum of perceptual attention by opening your eyes really wide, for example, or going to see one of those panoramic documentaries at Epcot Center , it should kick-start your brain into broadening its scope as well, allowing you to make all kinds of creative connections that you wouldn't have been able to otherwise.
Hey, wait, where are you going? The study tested this theory using two groups, one of which was asked to raise their eyebrows, while the other was told to keep their brows furrowed like a bunch of bitter old railroad tycoons in perpetual disapproval of their daughters' common-folk husbands. The groups were then asked to come up with a caption for an image of a dog lying on a bed with a bagel in its mouth, because the really good science is only made by crazy people. Anyway, the group with the raised eyebrows suggested things like "Betty the Beagle Beds a Bagel," which, as you may have noticed, is a blazingly hilarious piece of sexual innuendo.
The narrowed-eyed group, however, offered baffling captions, such as "Dog Who Breaks Rules," which isn't even a complete sentence. It also mysteriously refers to some prohibitive legislation governing dogs and the eating of breakfast food that, to our knowledge, has never existed at any point in the history of civilization. The point is, the first answer is clever and unobvious, while the second is lazy to the point of being meaningless.
The idea is that the group whose members had their eyebrows raised were receiving a greater amount of perceptual attention that they were subsequently able to translate into a greater amount of conceptual attention, thereby enhancing their nonlinear thinking. The other group was more or less squinting at the picture, which diminished their perceptual attention, and the best they could manage creatively was scribbling down some B. Hey, give it a shot -- who knows?
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If anyone sees you staring wide-eyed at your computer screen like it's a doorway into a magic kingdom, they'll just assume you're really into your work, or that you're having a stroke. Or at the very least, they'll think you're psychotic and just leave you alone. Granted, most of the time you know somebody's political leanings because they goddamn tell you.
But not everybody broadcasts their beliefs via shouted slogans and bumper stickers. Some of us prefer to start loud political arguments in the middle of crowded restaurants. Fortunately, it turns out that there are subtle clues that indicate if a person is liberal or conservative -- you just have to know what to look for. And by "look" we literally mean "look," because eye contact is a great indicator of political beliefs.
The enlarged cornea means this person is extremely concerned with the deficit. Researchers have found that, during conversations, left-leaning people were more likely to follow the other person's "eye cues" than conservatives. Let's say you are having a conversation with someone and you suddenly take your gaze off them to look at something slightly to the right, say a cute person or a passing zebra.
Liberals are more likely to follow your gaze and look as well, even if what you are looking at has no bearing on the conversation. If you look away again, they will follow your gaze again, and so on and so on, like two little puppies distracted by shiny passing balloons. Statistically speaking, about half of you just glanced up at the ceiling. Conservatives are almost never going to follow your gaze, but will continue looking straight at you, like robots. Those conducting the study speculated that conservatives held their gaze because, no lie, they don't like being told what to do.
As science is fond of reminding us , symmetrical faces are to heads what sculpted abs and perfect boobs are to torsos. They're the ultimate in beauty, leaving us asymmetrical slobs meaning pretty much everyone to tread yellow water at the ugly end of the pool. And of course it gets even worse: Not content with just looking better than the vast, asymmetrical majority, you now know that the next time you see a Symmetrical screw it, we're just going to call them that from now on , they're also probably richer than you.
On the other hand, the weird-looking dude you run into is the one you want leading you into war -- his leadership skills tend to be better. While a good gene pool certainly helps, throwing boxcars in the genetic crapshoot is only the beginning of the road to facial symmetry. The really important part comes in the form of your conditions of development. When everything -- including tobacco smoke, childhood nutrition, socioeconomic status, and illnesses -- can shape the way your face looks for the worse, your best bet for a mug that doesn't break mirrors is plain and simple: Don't blame us, we've got the research to back it up: People with symmetrical faces generally have privileged childhoods, and therefore stand a greater chance of being wealthy themselves.
Yes, even without going under the knife, the easiest road to beauty remains a well-endowed bank account. But let's say they grew up underprivileged and end up with one of those plain, ordinary asymmetrical mugs. They have neither trust funds nor a perfect smile to rely on -- it's their guts and personality that matter now.
What's more, just because they're not as pretty as those Symmetrical dicks, people expect them to do worse in life. That, incidentally, is what makes them the most effective leaders there are. And now I mean to run it. Yep, the never-ending stream of tiny struggles that a symmetrically featured person will never face thanks to his angelic looks and padded wallet is custom made to turn a person's asymmetrical melon into a bona fide, super-effective leader , scientifically giving him an easy 20 percent edge as opposed to groups under Symmetrical leadership.
Of course, having an asymmetrical face doesn't mean that somebody is automatically a Winston Churchill. It just means that they have the tools to become one. So the dude at the bar with the burns down one side of his face -- don't immediately put him in charge of your multinational corporation. The hell of trying to learn anything is that time randomly wipes important information you've committed to memory -- you can't remember the Pythagorean theorem, but you remember the base stats of Pokemon.
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This is why so many of us wind up cramming at the last minute for exams -- it's not just procrastination, it's fear that if we study a month ahead of time, we'll forget part of it by exam day. So our only answer is to cram everything into our short-term memory, knowing that we'll lose it right after the test.
A hundred grand in tuition well spent! No, what we need is a way to retain information for the long haul, without doing a lot of work. In other words, we need a scientific method to arrive at the exact minimum amount of time and energy we need to successfully retain important information. There is a measurable process by which your brain drops information, a "forgetting curve. It takes a bit more practice than the memory palace thing above, but if your job or degree depends on it, it's worth it.
Basically, it's a matter of figuring out the rate at which your brain forgets things and adapting to it. They call it spaced repetition , and here's an animated gif showing off the simplest form:. You are now a memory master. So let's say you're trying to learn Spanish, and you're going to have a big final on it in four months. The most rudimentary way to practice spaced repetition is to put the words you need to learn on note cards with the English on the front and the Spanish on the back flash cards, basically and get three boxes or create three piles, if you don't have any boxes sitting around marked:.
The labels tell you how often you're going to look at the flash cards. Besides, I know I can hold this stuff in my brain longer than that! This method will tell you exactly how long. So, the first time you study, yes, you drill yourself with all of the flash cards. The ones you get right you promote to the Every Week pile. Ones you get wrong go in the Every Day pile. The next day you try it again, but now you've got a smaller pile. The next day, it will be smaller still. A week later, you'll try the Every Week pile again, and the ones you get right you stuff into the Once a Month pile.
You're just filtering this shit right on down the line, giving yourself less and less to do. A month later, you go through the Once a Month pile to make sure you remember it. The stuff you've forgotten goes into the weekly rotation again. See what you're doing? You're figuring out the exact rate at which this stuff falls out of your brain. Breezing through that monthly box? Great, make it every two months.
The spans of time are flexible conversely, if you have an exam or presentation in two weeks, you can shorten the whole process -- make your three piles Daily, Every Other Day, Every Three Days. If that still sounds too complicated, a Polish psychologist named Piotr Wozniak created computer software that does it for you:. Charts are scientists' way of smugly yelling "suck it" at you. That's just an example graph; yours will be different. But yes, it works. Wozniak actually conducted an experiment on himself by memorizing thousands of nonsensical syllables So when you're walking around the city and you see filthy people mumbling nonsense syllables to themselves all day, this is probably what they're doing.
Ask them about it! It may come as no surprise to all the Cracked readers who are also neuroscientists that music helps boost your immune system. For the rest of you, word is that intangible plinking noises can create a noticeable increase in recovery from a wide range of conditions, including heart disease , lung ailments and even the common cold. Music, like Jurassic Park's raptors, doesn't just attack from one side.
That shit brings out a multi-pronged assault. To start, music reduces stress by reducing cortisol levels, a chemical in your brain that causes you to feel stress in the first place.
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Jazz, bluegrass and soft rock have been found to be especially effective at reducing stress and increasing health because of their similar musical qualities that quality being that you don't listen to any of them. If you're wondering if your favorite music is helping your health, a good question to ask is, "Does this music make me want to riot? Likewise, if your favorite musician's last name is Cyrus you're probably dooming yourself to a life of erectile dysfunction and diabetes.
In addition to simply lowering stress levels, music also raises immune markers in your system, creating more antibodies to fight disease. Ironically, listening to Amy Winehouse could make you immune to all the potential diseases you'd be exposed to if you met Amy Winehouse. This effect is compounding: Over time, the body can learn to recognize certain types of music particularly choir or classical music as immune boosting, continuing the improvement of the immune system. As an added bonus, if you listen to choir music on a regular basis you're almost guaranteed to be immune to STDs as the odds of you ever having sex are quite slim.
Rereading your notes does not count as studying, even if it is the easiest way to technically study while watching Mad Men.
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Also, you're ruining Mad Men. Watch Mad Men , and then set aside time to actually engage with the material. If you're in science or engineering, do problems. If you're in history, write out key elements of a period in a paragraph, or try to teach the chapters you've read to your lazy roommate who didn't read them, and have him try to teach you the ones he read. If you're in English lit, put down the play you already read, and write a one page essay discussing how Hamlet was the greatest pussy of all time. Do something , anything, which tests your knowledge or makes you actually think, then use your notes to find out what you'd forgotten.
Then do the problem again. Instead of sitting and reconfirming, "Yep, I sure can read this language all right! You've surely earned a B. Repetition is a dumb idea when it comes to reading, but it's the only real way to prepare for an exam. Every year millions of students do their first exam-style problem in the exam hall, and if there's one thing we learned from college it's that the first time you do anything important, you suck at it.
Even if you suck at it. And not fall asleep during the first question. Odds are your course wasn't created this term. They've been asking the same questions for years, and the only reason they even pretend to change the wording is because they'll lose their accreditation if they don't. Exam banks, older students, just Googling your course code and the word "exam," there's no excuse for not practicing what you actually have to do. Many students think of preparing for exams like Dragon Ball Z: You focus and concentrate all sorts of power with endless text for weeks, then fire it all out in one perfect blast.
But exams are just like everything else. You get good at things by doing them as many times as possible. Which is also most students' real plan in college anyway. Of our five senses, the one we pay the least attention to, and science studies the least, is touch. Yet recent experiments indicate that we may be vastly underrating the first sense we develop.
Everything from the feel of the chair you sit on to what you're holding can influence your behavior and the decisions you make. Imagine yourself touching this. You'll be kinder in the comments. Over a series of studies, scientists found that they could easily manipulate people's feelings and perceptions based on nothing more than what the subjects were touching.
Holding heavier objects, for instance, made men think more seriously about things, which in turn made them more likely to donate money to charity if asked. Men holding lighter objects were less likely to donate to charitable causes. People handling rough objects were more likely to see neutral social situations in a bad light, saying that other people were obviously in a bad mood.
That means that the answer to arguably the most frequently asked question over the course of human history -- "What the fuck is your problem? But in his defense, that shirt looks wicked itchy. Perhaps the most shocking find was that your hands didn't have to be the things doing the touching. People who sat in hard chairs were more likely to maintain a hard line in negotiations and were less receptive to their partner's way of thinking. So watch out for that next time you try to convince your boss you need a raise.
If instead of a chair she offers you a pile of ducklings to sit on, you're basically screwed. After all, to be truly effective, ass kissing probably needs to be taken in new, horrifically literal directions. Did you ever wake up in the back of a taxi after a long night of tossing down cognac and prune juice and wonder how your pants got replaced by a thick but clumsily applied coat of colorful body paint? Well, now there's something to blame it on besides your bad childhood: Nothing goes with Lady Gaga like cheap, awful tequila.
Did you know you can make a person buy more expensive wine just by playing classical music? It makes people feel like they're in a wine commercial or in a movie depicting refined, snooty rich people. OK, that one sort of makes sense -- we doubt anyone ever drank Wild Irish Rose while listening to Vivaldi. But in another blind study , different types of music playing in the background caused drinkers to change how they'd described the drinks they already had.
Laid-back music led people to rate drinks as "mellow," and upbeat music resulted in more people calling their drinks "refreshing. They then played some unobtrusive international music in the background. When German music was played, the percentage of German sales rose, and vice versa. Listening to this would inspire us to drink, too. This wasn't because customers thought to themselves, Ah! I will celebrate the Fatherland with some nice wine! Questionnaires showed that customers couldn't recall what type of music was playing and thought they'd chosen a particular wine simply because they'd felt like it.
The people selling you the drinks know all of this stuff -- or at least, the successful ones do. We've pointed out before that bars and nightclubs often play fast music to increase alcohol-based profit. But other establishments, particularly upscale restaurants, prefer slow, relaxing music, which, believe it or not, can also make you drink more. The tempo of music is linked to your body's arousal level, or the "speed" at which your nervous system operates. Fast music heightens arousal heh , so patrons will do everything more quickly, including eating and drinking and leaving their infant by the salad bar.
Which is good for a restaurant owner if he's just concerned with getting you out the door so he can serve more and presumably better people. You have exactly seven minutes to fuck off. On the other hand, slower music means that you eat at a more leisurely pace. Maybe you'll even stay to chat with your companions after you're done with your meal. Some restaurants go as far as to purchase a personalized selection of songs specially designed by "sound branding" companies, which select songs based on whatever tempo or atmosphere the restaurant is aiming to achieve.
Italian goes down better with GWAR. When was the last time you held a pen and wrote something? It was probably while signing a receipt, wasn't it? A note you left on the parked car you dinged at the mall? In this age of smartphones, constant texting, and spending half our waking hours online, most of us have lost the gentle art of holding a pencil and scratching out ransom notes the old-fashioned way. Which is too bad, because if you want information to stick in your brain, you need to write that shit out by hand. Punching babies is wrong.
The act of handwriting actually engages neural activity that you don't get by hammering on a keyboard. During an experiment at Indiana University , preschool kids who were learning the alphabet were separated into two groups. The first group was shown letters and told what they were, while the second group had the additional task of practicing writing the letters. When the kids were put into a "spaceship" an MRI machine , the brains from the writing group lit up like somebody had crammed a road flare into their ears.
Their neural activity not only was more enhanced, it was more "adult-like," which we presume means they later asked researchers to check their cholesterol levels while they were there. Just a little joke we like to tell the kids. In other words, it seems to be the same principle as the memory palace thing above -- forcing another part of your brain into the action to help out with memorization.
We invented keyboards because typing is way easier and faster than writing, but making it faster means we're losing handwriting's unique ability to imprint information in our brain. So those flash cards we had you make above? Get a pen and write that shit out instead of printing it off your computer. Watch your score improve. A study proved that this works especially well when you're doing something that involves learning unfamiliar characters, like some computer languages, or sheet music, or Japanese.
Again, making your fingers draw out the shape engages a completely different part of your brain than if you're just staring at it on a screen and saying, "Remember this, goddamnit! There's nothing magical about the logo itself, and even Apple fans wouldn't claim that their devices have mystical brain-boosting powers. But , for about 30 straight years, Apple has been marketing their products as the tools of eccentric, outside-the-box thinkers people who "think different," in fact. So today, if you mentally picture a bunch of artsy eccentric types working in a room, you're not picturing them with a bunch of Dells.
You're picturing a room full of glowing white Apple silhouettes. You just can't help but make that association. Crap, I'm looking at the wrong side, hold on. So, according to a paper from the Journal of Consumer Research , one way to keep your nonlinear-thinking muscles well-oiled and flexing like the cast of Predator might be to simply look at the Apple logo. Fortunately, odds are there's one within your field of vision this very moment. Otherwise you may need to head to a coffee shop to get this one to work.
The study itself was originally based on the idea that people assign specific human traits to various corporate logos -- the McDonald's "M" seems warm and friendly, the Walmart brand is cold and impassive. All of this is based on how we view these companies in the culture, due to their relentless ad campaigns, or whatever other reason. So the researchers found that when people are "primed" with certain logos, it puts them in a certain frame of mind. And in the case of Apple, test subjects experienced an increase in both creativity and ingenuity just from being exposed to the company's half-eaten-fruit bannerman.
You could use it to hit other pinatas and get double the candy! The research was conducted with university students split into two groups, with one group being shown a series of subliminal Apple logos and the other being shown the logo for IBM. Each group was then tasked with listing as many unusual uses for a brick as they could think of, because if you're going to test a person's ingenuity, you might as well give them an object with precisely one non-bludgeoning function. Sure enough, the study found that the Apple group was able to come up with more uses for the brick than the IBM group, all because of the feelings of technomancing discovery the Apple logo had instilled within them.
So if your boss happens to walk by your desk and see you staring intently at your iPhone, you can tell him or her that you are busy stoking the roaring fires of innovation without a shred of irony. Now get out of my office -- you're hindering my work, mortal. When it comes to solving problems, we like to think we know how to get the best results out of ourselves. We know if we're morning people or not, and the types of people we work well with.
When we're in college, we choose our class schedules around the time of day our brains work best, and pick out our own study groups based on the unique blend of introverts, extroverts, and Asians that we know will complement us best. In the professional world, the more success you achieve, the more freedom you get to choose who you work with and when.
Well, science is here to do what science does best and tell us that we're doing it all wrong. As we've covered briefly before , you are actually way better at solving problems that require creativity and insight if you work on them during the time of day when you think you're at your worst.
When you're telling everyone not to bother talking to you until you've had another cup of coffee, it turns out your mind is at its most brilliant. Just give me a little more time -- I can't do anything at all before six. In one study, morning people actually performed better at problem-solving when they were brought into the lab at night , whereas night people scored better during the morning sessions. We're also pretty bad at judging how well we're working within a group -- studies found that people were worse at solving problems in groups with those that they felt most comfortable.
Even weirder, the groups that had a merry old time fucking up the problem they were supposed to be solving had no idea. According to the study , "The teams that felt they worked least effectively together were ironically the top performers. This flies in the face of everything we believe about how things get accomplished. We think that great teams work extraordinarily well together and experience success, and the good times keep on rolling.
Whenever a great band, team, or company looks back on the time they were kicking the world's ass, they usually describe it as magic. It turns out there's a reason they don't describe it as fun. Which is going to make reading the eventual post-breakup interviews with members of fun. Think about the Beatles. They were the most famous rock band of all time, they had an almost supernatural ability to write music that would make them more famous, and they couldn't last a decade.
With hundreds of millions of dollars and unprecedented fame hanging in the balance, they called it quits faster than most failed marriages. If you prefer less artsy examples, keep in mind that Michael Jordan punched Steve Kerr in the face in practice the year they set a record for wins in a single season. Being with your friends in a comfortable social setting is a great way to make yourself terrible at solving problems.
It's the same as the morning people doing their best work at night. Your well-rested, socially comfortable brain is pretty good at thinking inside the box -- accessing that sensible place that appreciates old jokes and rejects ideas that seem too "weird. That's when you decide that you might as well chase whatever off-the-wall notion pops into your head, regardless of how tap-dancingly ridiculous it may appear. You start following those threads to their conclusion, until boom, you suddenly have a great idea that would never have occurred to you if you were operating during your optimal work hours with the people you like hanging out with, because your brain's anti-nonsense detectors would've been too strong.
This holiday season, like every one before it, will feature multiple stories of a stampede at a department store that was featuring "door buster" sales the morning after Thanksgiving. Hundreds of crazy people line up in the predawn hours, not to buy something rare or even valuable, but just the same shit they could have bought the day before. The act of shopping itself, the high they get from it, is what's they're there for.
And stores take advantage by turning it into an adrenaline-charged event. We love to mock people like this, the rabid shoppers and women addicted to buying shoes, but let us ask you guys something: Tell us you don't have multiple games in your collection that you've bought but never played.
Surveys show more than 10 percent of you have games you never even took out of the shrink wrap. There are entire websites devoted to helping gamers work through their backlog of purchased but unplayed games. Because gamers simply like buying games, often more than actually playing them. And they like bitching about games on the Internet most of all. Look around your place. How many of your DVDs have you actually watched? Do you own that season Simpsons box set? Are you actually going to sit down and watch all discs, or did it just seem like a cool thing to buy, for the sake of buying it?
This is the stuff your brain produces in response to sex, recreational drugs, or a really good cheeseburger. It serves all kinds of functions related to behavior, cognition, movement, and other important things like keeping the drool inside your mouth and lactating. More importantly, dopamine is also the gatekeeper to rewards and punishments, a system it uses to motivate us to, among other things, explore, learn and acquire new stuff. So not only does shopping satisfy the "new stuff" need but research shows the feeling intensifies when you visit a new store or go out of town -- for example, shoppers are more likely to buy something expensive and stupid when they're on vacation.
Not for the expensive and stupid thing, remember, but for our dark master, dopamine. Otherwise known as "the only reason life isn't constantly horrible". There is a way to beat the system; it's actually the anticipation of the purchase that gives you the fix , not the purchase itself although simple window shopping isn't enough. Monitor the finer points of the return policies at every store like a corporate lawyer, and you can beat the system: The connection between abstract thinking and hand motions is both weird and pervasive -- we have previously mentioned that scientists found that you could improve your memory by associating a hand gesture with the thing you're memorizing and that public speakers use hand gestures to trick you into agreeing with them.
And sure enough, according to a study published in Psychological Science in , making small physical gestures with both of your hands can help increase your creative thinking. We're not suggesting that you start juggling bean bags or doing card tricks at your desk although that would make you irresistible to your co-workers , but the mere act of using your hands to represent different aspects of a problem can help your mind separate and organize ideas.
It's the difference between merely describing how you'd, say, perform a chokehold on a victim, versus actually getting up and demonstrating it. It just helps you visualize the idea -- and the more complex the idea, the more help you need visualizing it. You're chopping mattress prices in half because you're insane! And it helps to use both hands -- the above study examined a group of people who were presented with a series of common objects and asked to come up with unusual new ways the objects could be put to use, such as using a coin as a makeshift flat head screwdriver or, say, turning a bra into a slingshot.
Some people were instructed to make gestures with both hands while they came up with their answers, whereas the others were told to use only one. The group that made dual-handed gestures provided the most inventive responses, which makes sense when you consider that there are only so many gestures you can make with a single hand. But it's surprising that limiting the ability to gesture actually prevented the rest from coming up with ideas Do I eat it? Yeah, that sounds right. Everyone knows at least one guy who hulks out over the stupidest things -- a messed-up coffee order, a red light, global warming.
Usually these people are just harmless joke fodder until they road rage on an elderly person over a politically charged bumper sticker. If you don't know one of these people, consider that it might be you. Of course, there are all these tricks that your mom taught you that are supposed to calm you down "Stop and count to 10! What you need is to beef up your anger defenses before it gets to that point. This one comes from the University of New South Wales , who found the perfect anger-management trick, and it wasn't cool jazz music or playful kittens wearing sunglasses.
People who had anger issues were asked to spend two weeks using their non-dominant hand for anything that wouldn't endanger anyone: After two weeks, the subjects could control their temper tantrums better, even when other participants deliberately insulted them to get a reaction. Why would this possibly work? Well, looking at angry people under brain scans shows that outbursts are less about too much anger and more about depleted self-control. That's both good news and bad news. The bad news is that self-control is a finite thing, and you can run out of it.
The good news is that it's a physical mechanism of how your brain works, and you can strengthen it or hack it into working better. Now, you'd assume that the only way to do that would be some kind of meditation or long classes in anger management. Or maybe to pay somebody to make an annoying noise in your ear for hours at a time and slowly decreasing the frequency with which you punch them in the head. But it turns out it doesn't take anything like that -- just asking these people to use their clumsy hand to do everyday tasks forced them to deal with hundreds of tiny, totally manageable moments of frustration.
But that was enough to make them somewhat immune to it. So, when things got ugly, suddenly they found that the walls around their internal anger demon were stronger. Hyper-lucidity could also refer to colors and forms in the dream that seem more vibrant and real than anything in waking experience. You can also be non-lucid in a dream, become lucid to it, then drop into non-lucidity again.
That single instance is often enough to ignite a passion for lucid dreams. Free Enlightened Living Course: Here are some general facts about lucid dreaming: Young children tend to have lucid dreams more frequently, an occurrence that drops off around age sixteen. Lucidity occurs as early as age three, but it seems most likely to happen around ages twelve to fourteen. On average, lucid dreamers have three to four lucid dreams each month, with the average length of lucidity being about fourteen minutes.
Some 58 to 70 percent of people will have at least one lucid dream during their life. Lucid dreaming can aid with nightmares and depression. Up to 8 percent of adults suffer from chronic nightmares. In a study at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, participants underwent lucid dreaming treatment LDT , which included coming up with alternative endings to their nightmares. Those who were able to do so reduced their nightmares. Lucid dreams can boost your confidence, help you overcome shyness, manage grief, and give you the chance to rehearse things like a performance or presentation.
They can also prepare you for events you expect to be emotionally difficult, by giving you the chance to experience them in your dreams in advance of the actual worldly event. This form of anticipatory grief can soften the blow of real grief. Lucid dreamers may be better at solving problems according to recent studies. How does this connect to lucidity in dreams? The biggest problem of them all is samsara, which is the confused world of conventional reality defined by dissatisfaction and suffering, and lucid dreaming techniques have the potential to solve even that.
Lucid dreaming has been shown to improve motor skills, which means it has the ability to help you with any physical activity, from playing the piano to athletic performance. It makes sense, because lucid dreams activate the brain in the same way as waking life. If you work on a math problem in your dream, for example, your left hemisphere is stimulated just as it would be during the day. If you sing in your dream, the right hemisphere is activated.
If you do squats in a lucid dream, your physical heart rate increases. The extraordinary thing is that the effects from your nightly activity continue into the day. Training your dream body can train your physical body. Lucid dreaming can facilitate healing. One doctor published a paper about a patient with a twenty-two-year history of chronic pain who cured himself overnight with a single lucid dream.
He said it was like his brain had shut down and rebooted. A few days later, he walks in the VA pharmacy and actually returns his medication— tabs of levorphanol. People are using it to get an edge on their competition. Researchers are working with it to treat PTSD. Sleep scientists in Germany are using it to enhance focus and performance in athletes. Actors, inventors, artists, writers, and musicians are increasingly practicing lucid dreaming to enhance creativity. Lucid dreaming in general has been connected to creativity for eons, and the literature is replete with examples.
The current popularity of lucid dreaming techniques is both a blessing and a curse. The curse is that dreams, as being unreal, are often not taken seriously. Cultures that honor dreams are often dismissed as primitive. But if we dismiss our dreams and discharge lucid dreaming as just another virtual reality game, we will dismiss a profound opportunity to explore the nature of mind and reality. The truly primitive cultures may well be those that dismiss the power of dreams, and therefore ignore the unparalleled opportunities for growth. From the trivial to the transcendent, lucid dreaming is a spectrum of experience mostly concerned with worldly matters and self-fulfillment.
Going deeper, lucid dreaming can develop into dream yoga, and become a spiritual practice. Dream yoga unites you with deeper aspects of your being; it is more concerned with self-transcendence. The classic practice texts are pithy and therefore steep. The great contribution of modern lucid dreaming is to provide a gradual on-ramp.
Lucid dreaming has much to offer for practitioners of dream yoga, and dream yoga has a great deal to contribute to lucid dreaming. Together they make fantastic sleeping partners. Here I will introduce a variety of lucid dream induction techniques. There is no need to master them all. One technique may work for one person and not at all for another. The point in presenting all these dreaming techniques is that you will eventually find one that works for you.
When you do, stick with that if you wish. No need to do any other unless you wish to explore more possibilities. The only danger in presenting so many methods is that you might try one for a night or two, give up, and then skip to the next. I recommend staying with a technique for at least several weeks. Give it a chance. And feel free to start with whichever particular method makes the most sense to you. He tried to find water by digging six feet in one spot, at which point he got discouraged and moved to try another spot.
He dug another six feet, got nothing, and moved to another location and then another. His lack of perseverance guaranteed failure. To get to the center of yourself with these nocturnal meditations, you have to dig deep. Potshots create potholes that will never reach far. What makes dream yoga unique is that you become your own instructor. You have to be honest with yourself in this practice, which is another instance of the nighttime practices as truth-tellers. You have to rely on your own wisdom and take responsibility for your success.
See what works for you not only in the lucid dreaming techniques themselves but in the way you employ them. Maybe a blending of techniques works for you, or your own method. Experiment, and have fun. Go slow and easy. The idea of the nighttime practices as truth-tellers applies to another issue.
It is a natural expression of our passion for mindlessness, as we will see. For the ego, ignorance really is bliss. Tune it too tightly and the strings snap; tune it too loosely and it makes a saggy sound. With balance, perseverance, and humor, you will learn how to tune your mind to make beautiful night music. If you already possess the first two, you can skip to the lucid dream induction techniques below.
The first ingredient, strong motivation, is critical. Motivation, or intention, creates momentum that carries into the dream world. Lucid dreaming, or dream yoga, begins by stretching the mind with intention. As we have seen, stretching is common to both mental and physical yogas. In order to wrap your mind around the dark, you have to stretch toward it. You eventually want to stretch your awareness into previously unconscious states of mind, and the warm up for that begins with your intent. Stretching in this intentional way therefore begins to expand your mind.
Have you ever had to get up early and not had an alarm clock? Athletic visualization is very active and involves multiple senses. Imagining winning the gold or cutting out pictures of the things you'd like to own someday is much more passive and dreamy. If you want to visualize yourself rich, spend your visualization time thinking through how you will handle various financial situations, from salary negotiation to saying no to pressures to spend money. Priming your brain for these situations ahead of time will do much more for your ability to get rich than gluing a picture of a yacht to a piece of poster board.
If you want to use your mind to make yourself rich, take a moment to truly look at all that you have with new eyes. Isn't it incredible that you can speak to people the world over, learn almost anything about almost any subject, and look at pictures of grumpy cats using a device no bigger than a deck of cards? We really are living in an exciting time and there is an incredible bounty available to us. Reminding yourself of the abundance in your life allows you to step out of the "consume consume consume" culture that we live in and recognize that you can feel rich with what you already have.
While this thought experiment will not necessarily add dollars to your bank account, it will leave you feeling richer and more satisfied with your life — and isn't that the point of wealth? In his book More Than Enough: I see the closed fist often in the area of money: That closed fist represents someone who doesn't know how to give. They think if they clutch those dollars tight enough, never giving, that they are on the path to more than enough.
The real world will teach you that the opposite is true: All of this sounds a little woo-woo, but there is something to Ramsey's analogy. Specifically, individuals who are close-fisted with their money tend to have very negative money scripts — unconscious beliefs about money created in childhood. If you feel that you must hold tightly to your money, you probably believe things like there will never be enough money or the amount of money you have reflects on who you are as a person.
One solution to dealing with these money scripts is to get in the habit of giving money away. If you change your attitude about money from something that you must tightly hold to something that flows through your life, then you are in a better position to see and accept wealth-generating opportunities when they arise.
- How simple physical actions can prime what we do, think and feel.
- Sentimental Education (Dover Thrift Editions).
- Frequently bought together.
- Subconscious - Wikipedia.
- Ja, tausendmal Tausend, Aria, No. 3 from Cantata No. 43: Gott f?hret auf mit Jauchzen (Tenor Part).
- Barn Owls :A Kids Book About Barn Owls?
- How to harness the power of your unconscious mind.
Stuart Smalley was onto something when he repeatedly told himself, " I'm good enough. And doggone it, people like me! As it turns out, positive affirmations can really help prime your brain to make significant changes. That's because your mind does not know the difference between reality and fantasy.
- New York City Blues.
- Precious Memories.
- The Rough Guide to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Rough Guide Reference);
- How to harness the power of your unconscious mind - Operation Meditation;
- The Temptation of Your Touch (Burke Brothers Book 2);
This is why your heart races while watching a horror movie — your mind is empathizing with the characters on the screen even though you know intellectually that they are not real. So if you tell yourself over and over " I welcome wealth into my life and I love the positive energy that money brings to me," then your mind will fall in line with the belief system you are stating. Repeat your affirmations out loud three times a day for five minutes. And be like Stuart — look at yourself in the mirror while you're doing it.