I'm one of those people who can't help but try weird things I read about online because I have passed the final save point, and obscure side quests are now all that's standing between me and my inevitable defeat in the final boss fight against the Blood Wyvern. Weird recipes, new ways to fold T-shirts, atrocious "life hacks" that amount to a wasted two hours and a dislocated shoulder ... I'm that guy who secretly tries it all when bored.
My main weaknesses (I'd say fortes, but let's be honest here) are those strange cheat codes that supposedly trick your unsuspecting body into improving its performance in weird ways, like that thing where pro athletes can eliminate choking before an important event by singing. Here are the decidedly non-scientific and mostly disastrous results of these experiments, documented for posterity.
5Control Your Bladder to Make Impulsive Decisions
Have you ever faced a situation where you need to make a good decision real fast? The two might seem mutually exclusive, but there's actually a simple trick (which I hereby and henceforth refuse to call a "body hack") that can magically jump-start your lazy brain into a veritable V8 engine of decision-making: All you require is an overwhelming need to pee a whole lot. Well, that's what psychology researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands claim, anyway. And who am I to question a bunch of Dutch scientists touting the benefits of urination control?
No fucking one, that's who.
The theory behind the whole "magic your bladder into a decision superweapon" thing is pretty sound. An urgent need to pee essentially reduces your brain to a jailer/torturer that is forced to assert control over your full bladder, while the latter is screaming: "Oh, God! Make this agony stop! Why can I find no release?" All off these force-signals -- that your brain is whipping your bladder with -- apparently bleed all over a bunch of other brain functions, resulting in a temporarily increased control over whatever task is at hand.
And this may well be the case ... in controlled lab conditions. I quickly found out that when a random dick like me uses his lunch hour to chug a jug of Kool-Aid in order to quickly and efficiently sort out a bunch of urgent matters, the only decision he's able to reach is to (barely) resist an overwhelming urge to piss all over the very concept of Excel. It was at this point that I revisited the research and found out that it doesn't actually apply to all sorts of decisions. According to the lead researcher, "People [with full bladders] are more able to control their impulses for short-term pleasures and choose more often an option [that] is more beneficial in the long run." I gave this a go, but as I attempted to bribe myself with promises to my future self, I soon became too distracted by an ever-increasing need to drain the main vein.
Monica Rodriguez/Stone/Getty Images
In hindsight, "one pot of coffee now or two pots of coffee tomorrow"
was probably a poor reward choice.
And, with that, my very first experiment was a failure. Let's, uh, let's just say I was lucky that the nearest toilet was only a few steps from my office. My sprint there was extremely decisive, though.
4Blow on Your Thumb to Reduce Stress
Everyone has his or her own ways to alleviate stress and bring his or her brain chemistry back from the boiling point. Many sport, others play video games, and some still prefer seedy back-alley hand jobs. But, what are you going to do when you're smack dab in the middle of work, unable to beat stress to submission with your weapon of choice?
Blow on your thumb, that's what! By sticking your thumb in your mouth and blowing on it, you can activate your vagus nerve, which should then calm your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. Some experts say that just blowing on your non-orally inserted thumb can help, too, though to a lesser extent.
OK, yeah, so I first thought this was kind of bullshit, too. Still, Newsweek says it works, and that was enough for me.
After all, it's not like they ever make mistakes.
You know what's not a great stress reducer? Being a grown-ass man, sitting with your thumb in your mouth, and making noises not unlike a beached whale attempting to blow open a clogged drain -- when a colleague unexpectedly walks in.
Not saying that happened, but just putting it out there. (Also, if you tell anyone, Jeff, so help me, I will sacrifice your Hawkeye bobblehead to the dark gods of marketing department.)