Sometimes it just feels like our bodies are out of control or doing something on their own without our permission. A lot of our bodily functions are involuntary, but there are ways you can hold your body under control. Read on to find out a few tricks that can master even the most involuntary of functions that our bodies regularly perform.
1. How To Avoid Sneezing
We’ve all had an awkward moment where we’re about to sneeze at an inappropriate moment and struggle with subduing it. The next time you feel this way, just press the skin on the bridge of your nose. This causes a signal to be sent to your brain that shuts down other processes, including the reflex to sneeze.
However, if you do want to sneeze but just plain can’t, try looking at bright light.
Fun fact: The longest sneezing fit in a row is held by Donna Griffiths who sneezed for 986 days in a row (1).
2. How To Hear More Clearly
The next time you’re trying to hear a friend in a noisy background, try closing your ears! More importantly, you need to push the tragus of your ear and seal your ear passage, which will allow you to hear more clearly. It seems like the opposite of what you’re supposed to do but it allows your brain to ignore all that noise in the background.
3. How To Deal With Worries
Worried about something but just can’t get over it? Why don’t you try sucking on your thumb? This stimulates the vagus nerve that connects to your heart. In fact, vagus nerve stimulation has been used to treat even something as serious as depression (2).
So, give it a try. If you’re in a public place, make a fist with your thumb sticking out and just blow on it. This should work just as well. It’s not just for babies, you know!
4. How To Get Rid Of Hiccups
There are hundreds of old wives tales about how to get rid of hiccups – getting someone to scare you, hearing a loud noise, being surprised, and so on. The one we recommend is putting an ice cube on your tongue. Science still hasn’t given a sure fire way of curing hiccups but the ice cube trick has worked more times than not so give it a shot! (3).
Fun fact: Charles Osbourne from Iowa had hiccups for 68 years (4).
5. How To Get Rid Of A Cramp
If you have a cramp in the right foot while running, exhale while stepping on your left foot. And the same goes in reverse. When you start running without a proper warm-up, blood spreads unevenly and leads to the liver and spleen pushing against your diaphragm. Exhaling at the right time should fix the problem.
6. How To Wake Up Faster
Try holding your breath as you’re waking up but still feel drowsy. This increases your heart rate and sends a signal to your brain to get active more quickly. We wouldn’t recommend overusing this though as it messes with your heart’s normal rhythm.
7. How To Deal With Being Moody
Feeling a bit moody for no reason? Try gnawing on a pencil. This encourages the muscles that are used to smile to get into action, thereby sending a signal to your brain. This eventually releases endorphins (read: happy chemicals) and you begin to smile naturally after a while. No more moodiness (5), (6).
8. How To Activate Your Super-Memory
This trick is so old it is actually quoted in Hamlet, the Shakespeare play – it’s plain old rosemary! The trick is to get a good whiff of it while you’re studying or trying to memorise something. A study conducted by Northumbria University concluded that those who smelt rosemary did significantly better in their examinations than those who didn’t (7). So, activate your super-memory while lying in bed with your textbook.
9. How To Wake Up A Leg That’s Fallen Asleep
A leg falling asleep is caused by a lack of blood circulation to the leg. This is perhaps because of the position you’re lying in. So, if you merely shake your head, circulation gets restored to the leg a lot sooner than just waiting for it to happen naturally. No more shaking your leg like you’ve invented a new form of dance! And who really has the patience to wait for it to go away on its own?
10. How To Deceive A Polygraph
A polygraph mostly works on changes in our heart rate. If it’s beating too fast, you’re likely to fail the polygraph test. Just try thinking of something that calms you down, thereby slowing your heart rate (8). You can also try to believe your lie and thereby come off as telling the truth. We would suggest, however, never getting into a situation where you have to beat a polygraph in the first place!
These tricks will make your life a little easier, so give them a go at the next chance you get! You’ll definitely get some relief and find that the day goes by a lot more smoothly.