Okay, we’re hitting the homestretch of the primo holiday season of the year. Made it through Thanksgiving, figuring out Christmas, and as I type this, I remember my anniversary is on December 20th of which I have a long history of remembering it on the 20th. Of course, January 1st is a big deal and my birthday is on the 16. This is the one where I crack the 6th decade. Not cool, but I digress.
If you are a member of a gym you know that for about three weeks after the 1st it will be shoulder to shoulder as the new year’s resolution folks have to filter their way back into realizing they aren’t really exercise people; which is where we start Healthpop.
There are some interesting studies on willpower that are relevant as to how we take care of ourselves. It’s amazing to me that we generally aren’t very good at just making a decision and doing something different. There’s a sundry of reasons, some have to do w/ addiction and brain chemistry, where others are psychological. I’m gonna try to give perspective on the psychological.
In short, research shows we only have a certain amount of willpower available. If we utilize it in one area it gets spent and isn’t available for another challenge. For example, if we ask a person to do a task at a desk with cookies next to them, but don’t allow them to eat the cookies they will give up on a difficult second task in half the time that people that can eat the cookies will.
Further, if you ask someone to do a task but inform them they were not chosen by a anyone in a group to perform the task with, they will eat twice as many cookies as a person that is told they were selected by others to be part of their group. In other words, there is a sort of social contract when we’re part of a group that dictates behavior. When that contract is broken – like not being chosen by the group or anyone in it, we don’t adhere to social constructs expected by a group which is: don’t eat all the cookies. We might even choose another group/behavior with a different contract. Every heard of a goth kid?
So, my advice, don’t tackle too much, and don’t pick something to satisfy anyone but yourself. However, I think it’s a good idea to challenge yourself to do something that someone else you know had success with. In my case, “if he can do it, I can”, is a good mantra. Especially, if he’s an Iowa State fan.
Personally, I think it makes more sense to do something you want to do versus something that’s perceived as restrictive. In other words, you don’t fight not eating the cookie, you actively don’t eat it because you want the button on your pants to face forward instead towards the floor. One is working towards a desired goal; the other is a war against a desire. Make sense? Change your perspective from will power to want.
There’s also something called Wegner’s theory of ironic processes. When we try not to think of something one area of our brain does this quite well, while another area constantly checks in to make sure we aren’t thinking of that something which ironically, makes us think of it again. It’s why I’m always thinking about food when I try to eat less.
I’ll talk about this one more in the next letter but try to keep context in mind when making decisions. Research shows for example that we are FOUR TIMES more likely to order desert when the server is overweight. There are subconscious things all over the place impacting our choices. For example, holding a heavy or light weight influences our thinking when deciding. Holding a heavier weight causes us to think more deeply.
This is an interesting one to me: overweight people significantly overestimate distance versus healthy weight people. Why? Distance requires energy. It takes more energy to walk somewhere if you weigh more.
People holding warm mugs judge people differently than those holding cold ones. People are firmer negotiators when sitting on a harder wooden chair than a comfortable one.
How do you choose the shortest line? Just pick the one on the left. Most people are right handed so they instinctively go right. If you notice, grocery stores are always geared to the right.
a couple more thoughts on resolutions to keep in mind: Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen revealed that participants who quit Facebook cold turkey for a week reported feeling happier, more decisive, less lonely, and more satisfied overall with their social lives. I’ll hit that point harder next month.
Whatever you decide on a resolution, if you decide on one, DO NOT SHARE IT. Research shows that sharing intentions gives a premature sense of accomplishment and saps motivation.
Lastly, what would happen if your teeth moved when you chewed? Common sense says they’d wear out the ligament and attachment sites. Surely, you’d see your dentist regularly for such an issue. All your joints, spine and extremities move and wear out. Surely, you’ll take 2019 as the year of prevention and take advantage of monthly care at $28.00 per visit. This is the last time ever I offer reduced rates as a reward for making your quality of life a priority. It’s far more specific than massage, and . . . research supports the impact is far greater than what you suspect: Your brain, its size and connections.
Why take care of your joints through chiropractic? . . . again, because your joints work your brain:. . . Changes in functional connectivity were found in the brain areas studied – the 2 right hemispheres and 1 cross hemisphere demonstrated significant change. 1. The somatosensory cortex and anterior insular cortex showed increased functional connectivity following MT. 2. In the right hemisphere, increased FC was found between the somatosensory cortex and periaqueductal gray matter. 3. Connection between the right anterior insular cortex and posterior cingulate cortex increased following chiropractic spinal manipulation or mobilization but not therapeutic touch . . . PREFRONTAL CORTEX (DLPFC), WHICH WAS THINNER BEFORE TREATMENT OF CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN PATIENTS SHOWED INCREASED THICKNESS AFTER TREATMENT COMPARED WITH CONTROLS SUGGESTING THAT TREATING CHRONIC PAIN CAN RESTORE NORMAL BRAIN FUNCTION IN HUMANS
Most of the info in this letter comes from a book called, You Are Now Less Dumb, and one by Harry Bright and Jakob Anser. Brain references and manipulation are from Cox Seminars.