18 Oct 2011
“Truman Capote once described himself as a horizontal author, saying I can’t think unless I’m lying down, either in bed on stretched on a couch’. There might be something in his posture, which led him to write incredible novels, Darren Lipnicki and Don Byrne at the Australian National University in Canberra have found that people solved anagrams in about 10 percent less time when lying down compared to standing.” *
The hypothesis for these results is that stress is the enemy of conceptual thought. When we are stressed we release cortisol amongst other adrenalines, which impede us from thinking about the big picture. Therefore finding a posture that is relaxing to you can play a role on how you think and come up with ideas. This part of a new are of neurology called ‘embodied cognition’, which is that our body thinks right along with our brain. For instance ‘you may think that you smile because you are happy, but in fact happy feeling arise in a large part from the psychical sensation for smiling. Furthermore in a study where people had their frowning muscles frozen through botox took longer to read sad or angry sentences.
- Change your posture when you want to think creatively, find what makes you comfortable and see how much better your ideas flow.
- Put a pen in your mouth and force your smile muscles to engage and feel how much happier you feel after 10 minutes.
- For linear thinking stand up and physically move away from the problem. Then give each thought a direction in a room. Walk each idea out, see how concise and practical your thinking becomes.
* The above quotes are extracted from New Scientist The Thinking Body 15 October 2011.