While the brain controls the body, the body can also influence the brain, specifically by the feedback it sends up the nervous system. The body and mind largely work together to create our perceptions of the world. Researchers have determined how the brain interprets incoming signals from the rest of the body. Here are a few ways to use your body to improve your mind:
Smiling can bring feelings of calmness and happiness. Studies have suggested it can trick the brain and make people feel less stressed and happier. In one study, participants were asked to hold chopsticks in their mouths, a pose that activates facial muscles used for smiling, and researchers found these participants were better at stress-inducing tasks than their counterparts who performed the tests with a straight face.
Open Arms to Feel Powerful
Taking certain poses can make someone feel more powerful. By “holding a posture that opens up the body and expands personal space may even alter hormone levels” making a person feel more powerful and more willing to take on tasks. Researchers have noted that even though some poses associated with power may seem somehow manly to some, they appear to make women feel powerful as well.
Take a Nap
Taking a nap can give your brain a break. Studies have suggested that napping can improve memory, learning, and mental performance.
Zen Pose to Calm Down
While some think meditation only helps the mind, research suggests that putting the body into a meditative posture and breathing deeply also regulates and clears the mind, according to a 2008 study. “It is possible that placing one’s focus on the brain mechanisms that control posture and breathing has a calming effect on the mind, the researchers said.”