10 Cool Ways To Hack Your Brain

3. Chew Gum To Reduce Anxiety And Depression

Apart from the approximately six seconds that the flavor lasts, chewing gumdoesn’t seem to have any benefits at all. Despite it not clearly falling into any category of things—like food or activities—many people love to chew gum, and it remains a largely successful industry. What gives?

According to science, there are some clear benefits to chewing gum, and it is one of the few proven ways you can force your brain to behave that we know of. In a study, they found that chewing gum significantly lowers anxiety levels. The effects were most pronounced after two weeks of regular gum-chewing. That probably explains why that guy who was always chewing gum in high school was so “chill,” though it doesn’t stop there. Gum chewers also fare better at battling depression and fatigue than others.[8]

2. Study In Spaced Intervals To Retain More Information

Students have been trying to find the perfect way to study in order to fare better at exams since time immemorial, albeit without much success. Even scientists aren’t exactly sure about how memories are formed in the brain, and figuring it out has been a longstanding pursuit in the neuroscience world.

One oft-repeated technique that is thought to work before tests is the brute force method: Just continuously read the subject matter, and you’re bound to remember it sooner or later. We believe it because everyone says it works, though according to some research, it actually makes you remember less information than if you’d studied in intervals.

Known as spaced repetition, this method requires you to take breaks in the learning process instead of repeatedly trying to cram information in. Studies prove that the latter is actually detrimental to retaining information, as the brain needs time to make the connections required to form a lasting memory.[9]

1. Smiling Can Trick Your Brain Into Thinking You’re Happy

People smile because they’re happy, as most of us must have figured out by now. It’s a purely social feature of the body, and its only purpose is to let other people know that you’re having a good time, even if it’s fake.

What most people may not know, however, is that smiling isn’t just a response to being happy; it works the other way around, too. As many studies have found, just the act of smiling releases a bunch of feel-good chemicals—like dopamine and serotonin—in your brain. It also reduces stress and anxiety in high-pressure situations, lowers blood pressure, and may even help you live longer.

More interestingly, it doesn’t matter if you don’t feel like smiling at all; the mere act of smiling causes the brain to do all of those things, regardless of any other factors.[10]

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