Our mind is incredibly powerful. It has a storage capacity of roughly 1 Million Gigabytes (Imagine 30,000 Iphone 11s) and it's 1000x faster than the world's fastest super-computer. It does this while only consuming 20 watts of energy. We humans have only scratched the surface on the true power of the brain.
Aria and I are obsessed with mind powers. From memorizing lists of hundreds of household items to learning the ins and outs of hypnotic trance we are always expanding our toolbox of mental tools. We have recently been interested in the brain and Happiness. We've been learning tricks to help us keep our brains happy. We want to share 5 of our pet favorites now.
The mind can have a powerful influence on the body, and in some cases can even help the body heal. The mind can even sometimes trick you into believing that a fake treatment has real therapeutic results, a phenomenon that is known as the placebo effect. In some cases, these placebos can exert an influence powerful enough to mimic the effects of real medical treatments.
How placebos work is still not quite understood, but it involves a complex neurobiological reaction that includes everything from increases in feel-good neurotransmitters, like endorphins and dopamine, to greater activity in certain brain regions linked to moods, emotional reactions, and self-awareness. All of it can have therapeutic benefit.
"The placebo effect is a way for your brain to tell the body what it needs to feel better,"
-Professor Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Here’s a thought experiment: placebos are known to work even when you know that they are a placebo! buy a box of mints and label them: confidence pills. And when you feel like you could use a boost of confidence, take one and see what happens.
Brain Alarm Clock
Some people swear that if they want to wake up at 6 am, they just bang their head on the pillow six times before going to sleep. Crazy? Maybe not. A study from 1999 shows that it all comes down to some nifty unconscious processing.
For three nights, a team at the University of Lubeck in Germany put 15 volunteers to bed at midnight. The team told the first group they would wake them at 9 am and did.
The second group were told they would be woken at 9 am, but actually woke them at 6 am.
The final group were told they would be woken at 6 am and they were.
This last group had a measurable rise in “Wake Up” hormones at 4.30 am, peaking around 6 am. People in group 2, woken unexpectedly at 6 am, had no such spike.
The unconscious mind, the researchers concluded, can not only keep track of time while we sleep but also set a biological alarm to jump-start the waking process.
So you can try the pillow ritual that is mentioned at the top of this, or you can simply close your eyes and say to yourself, “I will wake up feeling great and ready to start my day at 6 AM.” 3 times.
The Power Of Ritual
Earlier we mentioned the placebo effect and how it can use a sugar pill to heal real illnesses even if you know that the pill is inert.
The placebo effect, shockingly, has been used for thousands of years under a different name. Ritual.
We are all descendants of tribal communities and historically when a member of these tribes fell ill, the medicine man, shaman, or witch doctor would prescribe a ritual.
Often intense and a little frightening, these rituals would engage the patients' mind and faith in huge ways. The brains chemistry would change and new neural pathways would form. This created a strong placebo effect that could heal anything from a common cold to severe health or mental conditions.
Alejandro Jodorowsky, a renowned artist and healer, believes that we can create our own rituals to engage the placebo effect. He calls this Psychomagic. All you must do to create your own ritual is 1. focus on a specific problem and the themes surrounding it. 2. Use these themes to come up with any action that you’ve never done before. (Imagine you are creating a little movie or play) 3. perform this action EXACTLY the way you planned. The more outrageous the action, the greater the healing. Just be safe and don’t hurt anyone in the process!
Words Shape Reality
Have you ever heard of the “Death Tax?” It’s officially called the “Estate Tax”. News stations would mention the “Estate Tax” and share their opinions on it passionately, but no one cared because what on earth is an “Estate Tax”?
These news stations handed this problem over to linguistic experts who found a new name for the topic, The Death Tax! When news anchors used this word, suddenly everyone cared because no one likes the idea of being taxed for dying.
This is an example of how the news, media, advertising, and more can influence your beliefs and shape our view of reality with words. But you can use this to your advantage!
The next time you have a task that is boring, challenging, or unexciting call that task by a new name! Instead of calling it exercise call it daily wellness time or self-care. Instead of calling it studying call it a preparation party or a book bash! It’s a small change, but your subconscious mind will engage with these new phrases in a much more positive way!
There are many ways to hack our brains and tap-in to our natural superpowers, but without self-care, our brains cannot operate at their highest level! Fatigue, stress, and anxiety make the brain work harder and less efficiently. This can have negative effects on our mood, our physical, mental, and emotional health, relationships, school, career, and our ability to handle the unavoidable stresses of life. This is why self-care is so important.
Remember: Self-care isn’t selfish.
Self-care for the brain ideas:
. Going for a walk.
. Drinking water
. Spending time in nature
. Doing something creative without caring whether it’s “good”
. Deep breathing
. Taking a nap
. Spending time with friends
. Reading a book you enjoy
Because the connection between fear, anxiety, and stress is so direct and powerful, each of these approaches will also help you to better manage and decrease your fear and anxiety. These are skills you can learn and practice. It’s important to find those that fit and work well for you.
Wanna Learn More?
I hope this has inspired you knowing that your brain has some amazing powers that you can utilize. If you want to learn more about mind powers, bring us to your next meeting or event for a Workshop, Mentalism show, or Keynote.
We will also be performing Live on September 27th at Roxy on Broadway. You can learn more and reserve tickets at www.MagicOnBway.com