1) Want better hearing?
When trying to hear a conversation better, lean in with your right ear. It’s better than your left at following the rapid rhythms of speech, according to researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. If trying to identify a song you hear playing softly, turn your left ear toward the sound. The left ear is better at picking up music tones.
2) Want nerves of steel?
When you get nervous, and need to calm down, take a deep breath and splash cold water on your face. This triggers the mammalian diving reflex that is genetically in all animals including humans. The lower temperature of the water and you holding your breath also causes your body to think it’s diving into cold water. This reflex allows you to use oxygen more efficiently.
3) Need to use the bathroom and there’s none around?
Fantasize about what ever turns you on. Thinking about sex and arousing fantasies preoccupies your brain, so you won’t feel as much discomfort, says Larry Lipshultz, M.D., chief of male reproductive medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.
4) Do you wince at the pain of getting a needle?
German researchers discovered that coughing during a needle stick can lessen the pain. According to Taras Usichenko, author of a study on the phenomenon, the trick causes a sudden, temporary rise in pressure in the chest and spinal canal, inhibiting the pain-conducting structures of the spinal cord.
5) Do you gag on giant horse-sized pills?
Take a drink of water, and tilt your head forward instead of backward. The capsule should float, and will be at the back of your throat, ready to swallow.
6) Cure a toothache
Grab a bulb of garlic and place it under the tooth that aches. Bite down and chew with that tooth. The garlic will release Allicin, which is a chemical to relieve the pain.
7) Suffer from Vertigo?
Try this: Put your hand on something stable. The part of your ear responsible for balance–the cupula– floats in a fluid of the same density as blood. “As alcohol dilutes blood in the cupula, the cupula becomes less dense and rises,” says Dr. Schaffer. This confuses your brain. The tactile input from a stable object gives the brain a second opinion, and you feel more in balance. Because the nerves in the hand are so sensitive, this works better than the conventional foot-on-the-floor wisdom.
8) Looking for a cool party trick?
Have a person hold one arm straight out to the side, palm down, and instruct him to maintain this position. Then place two fingers on his wrist and push down. He’ll resist. Now have him put one foot on a surface that’s a half inch higher (a few magazines) and repeat. This time his arm will cave in. By misaligning his hips, you’ve offset his spine, says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness, in Santa Clarita, California. Your brain senses that the spine is vulnerable, so it shuts down the body’s ability to resist.
9) Looking for a few extra seconds of underwater breath?
Take several short breaths first–essentially, hyperventilate. When you’re underwater, it’s not a lack of oxygen that makes you desperate for a breath; it’s the buildup of carbon dioxide, which makes your blood acidic, which signals your brain that somethin’ ain’t right. “When you hyperventilate, the influx of oxygen lowers blood acidity,” says Jonathan Armbruster, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at Auburn University. “This tricks your brain into thinking it has more oxygen.” It’ll buy you up to 10 seconds.
10) Need help with a memory boost?
Since most memory consolidation happens during sleep, anything you read right before bed is more likely to be encoded as long-term memory. If there is a test, speech, or anything that needs to be remembered, review it before bed.