Today’s Read: 3.5 minutes
Here are a few ways to clear barriers that can preoccupy you—starting with your head, then moving to your body, and then your wallet.
When you want to declutter your thoughts…
Tell yourself to clear, replace, or suppress the thoughts that are stopping you from thinking, suggests research published in Nature Communications.
To determine if people can truly purge a thought, and how, researchers examined brain activity in 60 volunteers as they tried to flush a thought from their working memory inside an fMRI machine. Participants were shown pictures of faces, fruits, and scenes and asked to maintain the thought of them for 4 seconds. As they did so, researchers recorded what each participant’s brain looked like—creating individualized brain signatures.
Afterward, participants were told to: 1) replace the thought (“replace apple with mountain”); 2) clear all thoughts (akin to mindfulness meditation); or 3) suppress the thought (focus on it and then deliberately try to stop thinking about it). In each case, the brain signature associated with the image visibly faded.
More interestingly, the commands made a difference. While ‘replace’ and ‘clear’ prompted the brain signature of the image to fade faster, it didn’t fade completely, leaving a shadow in the background as new thoughts were introduced. ‘Suppress,’ on the other hand, took longer to begin fading, but was replaced more completely for a new thought.
Bottom line: If you want to purge your mind of a thought, tell yourself to ‘clear’ or ‘replace’ it. But if you make way for new information, telling yourself to ‘suppress’ the thought works best.
Why exercise eases chronic low back pain
Who knows for sure? This is the conclusion of a research review published in Musculoskeletal Science and Practice. Specifically, researchers found that most of the 110 studies analyzed concluded that exercise helps ease chronic low back pain (CLBP), but none could explain why. Exercise’s benefits of improved core stability, aerobic fitness, mood, and confidence might contribute to its effect on CLBP, but a third of the papers didn’t propose a reason for the positive outcomes and seldomly examined it further.
Like pain, the effects of exercise impact many different systems in the body. And for this reason, it’s difficult for researchers to pinpoint exactly why they think physical activity benefits those with pain. Ultimately, it could be an example of just do what feels good.
When you want to earn more money but you can’t bear to work more
The answer is passive income—or in the colloquial, money earned that doesn’t involve active participation. Sure, if you want fast cash with minimum work you can sell your clutter on eBay or Poshmark; or rent out your room, parking spot, or tools. Or, you can build passive income streams with these suggestions that need a bit of beforehand planning:
- Open a Robinhood account that allows you to invest small amounts in companies that pay you dividends each quarter (sharing their earnings with their investors). Better yet, each time one of your companies pays a dividend, use it to buy more stock. This will help you grow the amount of money you receive as a dividend as time goes on.
- Buy real estate that you can rent out, either now or later. Whether this means you’re buying your first home with the hope of renting it out some day, buying a home with an accessory dwelling unit, or buying a vacation property to list on Airbnb or Vrbo, all options can bring some income with minimum work.
- Create a product that pays you royalties for its use, whether it’s a book or an invention.
ONE BIG NUMBER
The percentage of Americans who say they would delay medical care for Covid-19 to avoid the stress of paying medical bills, according to a survey of 1,661 adults conducted by VisitPay. In addition, 39% of respondents reported were more worried about the financial implications of contracting Covid-19 than actually getting the virus itself.
Do you feel this way on Christmas Morning?