Your powers of make-believe can help you control cravings, get motivated to work out, and even improve your vision, according to several recent studies.
"If you imagine an experience, the brain stimulates itself in the same way as if you were doing it," says Joachim Vosgerau, co-director of the Center for Behavioral Decision Research at Carnegie Mellon University.
Try these techniques to harness your mind’s superpowers.
To Curb Cravings: Distract Yourself
In one study, volunteers were able to reduce food hankerings by imagining a rainbow or the smell of eucalyptus.
To Get to the Gym: Envision Your Workout
Taking a few minutes to conjure up what your sweat session will feel like (pounding heart and all) may make you more likely to get off the couch.
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To Boost Confidence: Stand Like a Rock Star
Researchers found that striking a confident stance actually stimulates a hormonal response that can make you feel more self-assured in minutes.
To Improve Your Eyesight: Pretend You’ve Got 20/20 Vision
Study participants who took on roles associated with perfect eyesight, such as a pilot, showed marked improvement in vision tests compared to those who didn’t.
Who knew pretending could be so powerful?