The body can influence the brain by the feedback it sends up the nervous system
The brain largely controls the body, but the body can also influence the brain, by the feedback it sends up the nervous system. In fact, the body and mind work together to create our perceptions of the world.
Researchers have looked at how the brain interprets the signals coming into it from the rest of the body. Here are some of the ways you can use your body to improve your mind.
Smiling can bring feelings of calm and happiness
Smiling for no reason may trick the brain and make people feel less stressed, and happier, studies have suggested. In one experiment, participants were asked to hold chopsticks in their mouths, a pose that activated their facial muscles as if they were smiling. The researchers found that these participants did better at stress-inducing tasks than did their counterparts who performed the tests with a straight face.
In a similar experiment, published in 1988, participants who were forced to smile by holding a pen in their mouths rated cartoons as funnier, compared with others who weren't forced to smile.
Open your arms to feel powerful
Taking certain poses can create a feeling of power. Research suggests that holding a posture that opens up the body and expands personal space may even alter hormone levels, making a person feel more powerful and more willing to take risks.