10 Body Reactions That We Can Actually Control (Spoiler: Women Are Really Lucky)
It’s naive to think that we have total control over our bodies. More often, we’re controlled by our body’s responses and can’t control most of the physical processes. It might make you feel uncomfortable: you need to pee when there’s no toilet around, you’re feeling sleepy when it’s time to prepare for an exam, or you can’t clear your throat during an important presentation. These situations are not fatal but they’re very unpleasant. Luckily, a lot can be changed if you find the right approach to your own body.
Bright Side made a list of life hacks that might help you trick your body and make your life more comfortable.
1. Blow on your finger to slow down your heart rate.
An increased heart rate is often the result of stress. Probably, you’re worried before an important presentation or a date, receiving exam results, or making a mistake at work.
Luckily, there’s a quite simple way to calm yourself down: you just need to blow on your thumb. This part of your body has its own pulse. If you cool it down, the pulse will slow down and you’ll calm down.
Another proven and tested method is to put your thumb in your mouth and blow. This way you’ll stimulate the vagus nerve, slow down the heart rate, and feel much calmer and relieved.
2. Shift your body weight to the side to relieve pain on one side.
Many people are familiar with sudden unexpected pain on one side that often appears during jogging. You may have to slow down or even stop the running.
The most common reason for this is an insufficient warm-up. The blood flow significantly increases when you run but the blood doesn’t have enough time to redistribute properly and accumulates in the liver and spleen. These organs have a thin cover and push on it when there is too much blood in them. This is how the pain occurs.
Athletes know a proven method to deal with this problem: you need to slow down your running speed and shift the body weight to the side opposite to the one the pain is coming from. You need to do this while breathing out. After several repetitions, the pain will go away.
3. A quick warm-up of the neck will relieve numbness in the hands.
Almost everyone experiences an unpleasant numbness and tingling in their fingers sometimes. These feelings might be caused by an uncomfortable position while sleeping, working, or during moments of excessive workload.
When you feel something like this, you usually warm up your hand by twisting it or moving your fingers or wrists. These exercises are quite effective but it turns out there’s a better and more effective way to get rid of annoying numbness — just turn your head.
Our limbs get numb due to the squeezing of nerves that run through the neck. If you turn your head, you’ll warm up the muscles and relieve the pressure. It would save you from unpleasant sensations in your hands. This method is often more convenient in many situations, especially if you’re driving.
4. An ear massage will reduce discomfort in your throat.
Throat tingling and discomfort can sometimes come out of nowhere and it’s hard to ease it right away. A glass of water and coughing doesn’t always help.
To relieve such throat discomfort, carefully massage your ear (preferably on the inside). Unpleasant tingling often appears due to muscle spasms. When you massage your ear muscles, you stimulate the nerves and help throat muscles relax and remove the spasm.
You may have previously noticed that there’s a connection between these organs: any ear manipulations affect the throat and some people even cough when they clean their ears. This results from a special sensitivity of the vagus nerve connected to the auricular branch of the nerves.
5. Coughing alleviates the pain from a shot.
You can’t get rid of all of the unpleasant feelings from the shot completely, but you can ease them significantly with a simple trick.
If you start coughing as soon as you’re about to get the shot, it will ease the pain. A British journal on plastic surgery first published the information about this trick. Doctors claim that it’s due to the fact that the person’s attention shifts to something else, as well as the increase in arterial pressure.
As it turns out, this simple method is more effective than listening to music, watching a movie, conversation, or other methods of distracting a patient before giving a shot.
6. Massaging the area between the eyebrows relieves a stuffy nose.
Drops, diffusers and other types of medications perfectly deal with a stuffy nose. What to do when you don’t have any of thereof, the drugstore is closed, and your stuffy nose won’t let you breathe?
You can relieve your condition without any additional medications — just a massage. To get rid of a stuffy nose, push your fingers against the area between your eyebrows and press your tongue against the palate. 20 seconds would be enough to feel the effect. You can repeat this trick several times if necessary.
By holding your tongue in this position, you move a bone that connects the nasal passages to the mouth. Thus, you create a kind of drainage that relieves the stuffiness.
7. The pain would lessen if you look at the wound with binoculars turned upside down.
The brain is responsible for the pain we feel: this is its method of letting us know about any danger. It turns out that we can trick the brain and make it believe the wound isn’t as bad as the brain sees it.
Scientists from Oxford University conducted an experiment with people who suffer from chronic hand pain. They asked the participants to look at the area where their pain is coming from different angles and distances. If the painful area is enlarged, a person feels more pain and they feel the opposite if the area is shown on a smaller scale.
The reason for such reactions lies in the logical work of the brain: a bigger wound provokes a louder warning signal, while a look from afar makes it less important and less painful.
8. If you can’t wait to get to the toilet, rub your calf.
The urgent need to use the bathroom might be very unexpected and inconvenient. Just like with feeling pain, the need to use the bathroom is brought to you by the brain. It can intensify the signal for us to hurry up. But, physiologically, we can usually wait much longer than we think.
Australian physical therapist Janetta Webb found an unusual way to deal with urgent calls to the bathroom: you need to scratch your calf for a couple of seconds. You’ll become more relaxed and win more time if you need to wait.
Unfortunately, this way had been proven true only for women and it’s still not clear if it’s helpful for men.
9. Do this to get rid of dizziness:
Dizziness occurs not only due to serious pathologies and diseases but also due to the influence of minor factors such as stuffed air, stress, or frights. Usually, you have to sit down and wait until your condition improves. However, there’s an exercise that can help you.
A scientist from the University of Colorado came up with a simple exercise that saves you from vertigo in just one minute. You need to tip your head up, then slowly bend forward and then turn your head to face your left elbow.
People who tried using this method claimed that the dizziness goes away immediately after you do this exercise. The video with the description of the exercise has gained 2 million views and the doctor received compliments and gratitude from many people from all over the world.
10. To cool down, press something cold against any pulse point on your body.
During the summer, athletes suffer the most, especially if they don’t want to give up on their training sessions because of the heat. There’s a simple way to lower your body temperature: press something cold to any pulse point on your body.
There are several pulse points: the temples, the wrists, and under the knees. While exercising, you can use wet wristbands and headbands: they’ll protect your body from overheating. When in a stuffy room, press something cold to any spot on your body where the veins are close to the skin.
Although our body is a complex system, we are still able to control it. Have you tried any of these suggestions?
Illustrated by Natalia Breeva for BrightSide.me