A study published in Psychological Science earlier this year suggested that bladder control equals better mind control: When offered several choices (between receiving $16 tomorrow or $30 in 35 days, for example), subjects who had a full bladder made better overall decisions. The study begs jokes about gulping down coffee before heading to the mall, but there are more practical implications than just knowing that you’ll do better if you have to pee. Instead of assuming that the mind always controls the body, the research flips traditional thinking on its head: What we do with our body — everything from physical posture to what we eat — can also go to our head.
Oliver Burkeman, author of This Column Will Change Your Life at The Guardian, recently mused about other such studies that prove our bodies can impact our minds. Of course, if you’ve ever taken a yoga class, gone out dancing, or taken a walk in the park, it seems obvious that what you do with your body can significantly change how you think. But psychologists have delved into the specifics, and Burkeman pointed out a few of the most interesting ones. Here are some of his highlights, along with some of our own: