Who says you need to be a superhero to have super cool and useful mind powers? These brain hacks are probably the closest thing to letting you feel like you have superpowers. We’ve come across some very useful brain hacks over at Cracked that will help you remember things faster or even trick your brain to help you feel healthier physically. And what’s even better is all these tips are backed by scientific studies – so they certainly know what they’re talking about. Give it a try and tell us what you think!
1. Remember Long Lists With a “Memory Palace”
The human brain sucks at remembering lists. Think about it: When you go to the grocery store, how many items can you manage before you have to write them down? Three? Five? For most of us, if there’s any more than that, we’re going to get back home and find out we forgot the milk.
That’s weird, because there are other things in life we have no problem with. For instance, we don’t have much trouble remembering the locations of a hundred different spots around town, even if we don’t know the addresses (do you even know the street address of your favorite coffee shop?), or the locations of a thousand items around the house. Sure, you couldn’t write them all down, but if a friend asks you where they can find a flashlight, you’re probably going to have an answer. If only there was a way to exploit this strength to overcome the other weakness …
You’re able to find your way around because a whole lot of your mental horsepower is devoted to spatial memory — learning the layout of your environment. And there is totally a way you can tap into it as a hack to remember long lists. So-called memory champions have been doing it forever. They call it creating a memory palace.
Here’s how it works: You pick a familiar place that you know well and can imagine without much problem — the inside of your house, the layout of your neighborhood, whatever. You then imagine yourself walking along a specific route in that place and associate an item on your list with each location.
Image source: Jim Larrison
2. Write It Out (Even if You Don’t Read It Later)
Quick! 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? Child support checks? 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.
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.
Image source: Barb Watson
3. Boost Your Immune System (by Looking at Pictures)
Getting sick is something you wouldn’t think you have much control over beyond the obvious things (eat healthy, wash your hands, etc.). But damn it, this article isn’t about the obvious shit. This is about weird hacks that let you trick your system into working better. And if you want to beef up your immune system, find some pictures of disease.
Your brain manages everything, including your immune system. And we already know that seeing certain images can trigger physical responses in the body — some pictures make us salivate, while others do downtown business on our private parts (boners). Well, when you see sick people, your body beefs up its defenses.
Scientists from the University of British Columbia showed students a 10-minute slideshow of sick people to measure their immune system’s responses. So for 10 solid minutes, test subjects looked at images of people with rashes, bad coughs, and those weird booster shot scars you see on the middle-aged. What they discovered was that after the sick reel, the participants’ white blood cells went into overdrive and began to produce interleukin-6 (IL-6), the same kind of protein a body would produce to fight off infection or combat burns.
Image source: William Brawley
Want more awesome brain hacks?! Head on over Cracked and see the full article!
In the meantime, do you think this would work for you? Comment below!