Health Female Adda
1 year ago
The Brain Trick That Warms You Up

Forgot your mittens? Fight off chilly temps with your brain. Conjuring up nostalgic memories may help you feel warmer, according to an article published in the journal Emotion.

Participants were asked to take part in one of five different experiments, each of which looked at how nostalgia was related to perceptions of warmth or cold. One experiment involved placing participants in a cold room and asking them to remember either a nostalgic or ordinary event from their pasts, and then guess the temperature of the room they were in. The nostalgic participants perceived the room to be warmer than those who remembered the ordinary event. In another experiment, participants recalled either a nostalgic or ordinary event from their pasts, and then placed their hands in ice-cold water to see how long they could withstand the pain. Those who recalled the nostalgic event held their hands in the water longer than those who recalled the ordinary event. The other three experiments had similar findings: nostalgic memories made people feel warmer.

Article co-author Tim Wildschut, Ph.D., senior lecturer at the University of Southampton, says this kind of perception may be due to a system called an “as-if body loop.” Certain emotions, when felt strongly enough, can essentially bypass the body’s physical condition and simulate a certain state as if it were actually occurring, Wildschut says. This may be particularly likely to happen if that state has already occurred in the body before--hence the nostalgia angle.

So what kinds of sentimental memories have the most warming power? Wildschut suggests engaging your senses. “We find that music and smells can be strong triggers,” he says. “Conversations with friends who were there at the time can also be a good trigger.” Try it out: Did you ever go to a summer concert? The next time you find yourself shivering, load up that music on your iPod and press play. Let the tunes bring you back to sweatier times.

Not feeling all that nostalgic? Let these reader suggestions inspire you.

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MORE FROM WH:
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Losing Your Sense of Smell

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