How to bend the jellybrains

Long-time subscriber and Borrow My Brainer Adrian sent me some mind-bending tricks a while ago. 

Cartoon of a chicken being controlled by lights

Just as you can control chickens’ brains with lights, there are some tricks you can learn for your own brain too.

If you sometimes find yourself fighting with your brain – and who doesn’t? – you might want to give some of these a try. Plus, they help you to bend others to your will, too.

*insert evil laugh here*

Ready to start bending the jellybrains?

1) Want to stop a petty fight with a friend, colleague or family member ballooning into World War III?

The trick: Nod your head. So if someone you know is going on about how vaccines are dangerous and they’re not going to vaccinate their kids, instead of leaping across the table and strangling them with their own socks, nod your head. When you nod your head it tells your mind that you are agreeing with what is being said, which enables you to have more control over the situation. Instead of becoming the notorious Sock Strangler, instead you can debate calmly with them about why what they’re saying is idiotic and dangerous.

2) If you want to stop over-thinking a situation – and this is one of my worst habits…

The trick: Wash your hands with soap. When you wash your hands it signals to your brain you have completed something. There’s a reason we have the phrase “washing your hands of it”. Go wash your hands, then start a new task immediately – don’t go back to those troublesome thoughts.

3) Got a tough decision to make?

The trick: Find something heavy and hold it. Apparently it makes you feel important. I have no idea if this works, and being a natural sceptic I’m – well – sceptical. I”m going to try it next time I have a difficult decision to make. It harks back to when we were hunter-gatherers and used to carry heavy stuff to make shelters, to hunt, to hit people on the head, that sort of thing. It tells the brain you’re important so you’re better equipped to make difficult decisions. Give a try, let me know if it works!

4) If you want to stop feeling angry…

The trick: Smile wholeheartedly, not just from the mouth. It is impossible to be happy and angry at the same time. By smiling you automatically trigger the release of ‘happy’ chemicals in your brain so you’re forcing your mind to go the way you want it to go. This is actually true, about smiling triggering seratonin and dopamine release. And I’ve done this when I’ve been angry, and it works.

5) Got a thorny problem? Well, you could try this (and if it doesn’t work, Borrow My Brain instead):

The trick: Take a few steps backwards. When your mind is racing forwards and you can’t think clearly, the physical act of walking backwards will actually slow your mind down to think more clearly. Again – no idea if this works, but you may as well give it a try. In fact, do it to get clarity on your problem, then ask me…

6) Do you often forget what’s being said in meetings and seminars? I’ve got two tricks for you, both of which work for me:

The tricks: Doodling. I doodle all the time now, being a fledgling cartoonist. Apparently doodling stops your mind from wandering, but you can still listen. The doodling becomes the distraction, in other words, rather than thinking about other stuff.

Or, repeat everything you hear in your head as you’re hearing it. It’s a form of more active listening and it makes you pay attention. You hear it twice, so it’s more likely to stick.

Best way to deal with a thorny problem, though? Right here:



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS Speaking of bending the jellybrains, do you know how to program chickens? Simply turn the lights on or off. It’s hilarious. As soon as it gets dark, they go into shut-down mode and you can’t even get them to go to bed if you accidentally shut them out of their coop… But shine a torch at them? It flicks a switch and they start eating grass.


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