How Science Can Help You Achieve Your Dreams

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Science is full of astounding facts. For example, when stretched out, the human circulatory system is over 60,000 miles long.  An interesting but ultimately useless fact and how someone calculated this fact and why may be more interesting than the fact itself.

Science also gives us space exploration, medical  breakthroughs and Hadron colliders. With all that, certainly it can be used to help us achieve more on a day-to-day basis.

Here are some ways science is on your side to help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be.

Humans are potentially the most adaptable species ever

Humans have lived through ice ages, heat waves, and economic recessions and depressions. Not to mention four Transformers movies. We are both adaptable, resilient, and suckers for punishment. Your ancestors have been adapting to change for millennia, regardless of what has come thus far, humans have persevered.

So can you.

Achieving a goal, whatever it may be, takes hard work and sacrifice. That is very easy to write and yet very hard to think about or put into practice. All the things we may have to give up or put on hold along the way. All the changes we face and, possibly the worst of all in the unknown of it all. We don’t know what may come or how we would face it. We become accustomed to a certain way of life and could not imagine giving certain things up and cannot see ourselves as happy when we go without. Yes, as evidenced, you are more adaptable than you realize.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

Charles Darwin

Be adaptable and you will not only survive but thrive.

You can physically make yourself happy

When you are happy, you smile. It is not something you think of or put any effort into, unless you are on a bad date, perhaps. It is a natural reaction, you feel happy, your brain sends a signal to your facial muscles to react and a smile appears. However, the reverse can also be true. By holding a pencil in one’s mouth using the same muscles used to smile actually makes one happier. Your brain associates the muscle stimulation with happiness and voila, happiness can be had with nothing more than a #2 pencil.

If you do not feel like smiling, you can always hug for happiness.  Studies show that hugging for 20 plus seconds releases the hormone oxytocin which is related to an increased feeling of intimacy and happiness.

So if your days ever have you feeling stressed or down, all it takes is a pencil or a loved one to feel better.

Although, that may not always be the best solution, because there’s a funny thing about stress:

Stress can be a good thing

Everyone gets stressed. Whether it’s work, school, home life or a combination of all three. When we are too busy, seemingly have too much to do and not enough time in which to do it or have no clear direction – we feel stress. Most of us have a negative association with stress, feeling stress can make us feel worse about a situation.

We are stressed because we have too much to do.

We cannot do all we have to because we are stressed.

So the cycle goes. It can be self-fulfilling and self-defeating.

However, if we look at where stress comes from and why, we see that stress isn’t a bad thing, in fact, research shows that stress can be good for you. The key is in recognizing the stress, why we feel it, and managing it effectively. In evolutionary cases, stress and the sympathetic nervous system helped early humans survive fight-or-flight situations. Without raised stressed levels, one wouldn’t be so worried about a charging sabre-toothed tiger.

Use your stress to improve yourself and your situation. Any goal worth doing is going to be hard and potentially stressful but if you use that stress as a tool, not an excuse or a barrier, you have the upper hand.

Keep your Dreams to yourself in order to achieve them

As stated before, your brain is a fickle thing. By smiling, you can make yourself happier as your brain associates the behavior with happiness. The yin to that yang is that your brain can send reward signals to your brain by simply saying them out loud. It sounds strange, and it is, but as you can see below it’s true:

It’s an urge a lot of people have. When you are trying to achieve a goal or passionate about work you are doing, you want to share it with your friends or loved ones, if not the world. Yet telling someone about your goal can give you just as much of a reward as actually achieving said goals. It’s part of why people who say they are going to eat healthy, or exercise or write a novel may not do as they plan. The problem is getting the hormonal reward prevents us from actually achieving the goal itself as we have already received the neural reward.

By taking the small step of keeping your goals to yourself, you are already more likely to achieve them.

The perfect productivity formula

52 minutes of work followed by a 17-minute break. That is the perfect productivity formula according to new research. There are diminished returns as one tries to power through the break and keeps on working to get more done. It is about staying true to both sets of time. The work and the break.

It’s not about working longer, it’s about being more productive in the time we have. Some companies in Sweden have tried implementing a 6-hour work day instead of the traditional 8.

It’s like interval training for your brain. Sprinting versus long distance running. Working in shorter, it has been shown time and time again that focused bursts of concentration are the best for productivity and, like sprinting, these bursts will lead to quicker fatigue that requires rest in between. No one sprints for hours at a time and it appears that working the same way has the same effect.

Work hard but work smart. Trying to explain to your boss why you need a 17-minute break might be hard but it’d be a lot easier if you were your own boss.

Before your journey and on your journey you will face all sorts of adversity. Both from within such as anxiety and uncertain and externally such as time constraints or financial issues. At some point, you will realize that the path you are on is much longer than you thought if it has an end at all.

However, none of those are wholly bad things.

Remember these methods, they can help you at all times. You’re adaptable, quite literally capable of forcing yourself to be happy even in the hardest of times and stronger than you think.

Science is on your side.

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