If you’ve ever gestured wildly with your hands in order to coax a word from your memory, or if you’ve sat up straighter in a meeting to feel more confident and alert, then you already know some of the ways the body can make an impact on the mind. But what if that’s just the tip of the iceberg? Recent research shows that the extent to which the body affects the brain is greater than we’d ever imagined. Now How the Body Knows Its Mind reveals extraordinary ways you can use your body to improve your mind and performance in all areas of life.
We often think of the brain as the master control centre – interpreting experiences, deciding what to do, and pulling the levers of the body. Sian Beilock, a leading expert on the brain science behind human performance and professor in the psychology department at the University of Chicago, turns our understanding of the mind upside down in How the Body Knows Its Mind.
Your brain doesn’t make that much of a distinction between what happens in your body and what happens in your mind. In fact, our bodies actually hack our brains. The way we move affects our thoughts, our decisions, and our preferences, and kids absorb more when they use their bodies as a learning tool. Called “embodied cognition,” this new science illuminates the power of the body and its physical surroundings to shape how we think, feel, and behave: pacing around the room can enhance creativity; walking in nature boosts concentration skills; Botox users experience less depression; fit children score higher on tests in school.
From the tricks used by advertisers to the ways body language can improve your memory to how to master public speaking, Beilock explains a wealth of fascinating interconnections between mind and body and shows how mastering them can make you happier, safer, and more successful.