Tag: breathing and decision making

Random Decision-Making Lessons from Bees and Ants

By on January 18, 2015 in Articles

“Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.”

– King Solomon

There is much wisdom in what Solomon wrote in his proverbs. There is a lot to learn by observing ants (and even bees), and these virtually invisible creatures can help us comprehend the greatest lessons in life.

For example, we know that these insects are highly disciplined and determined. They know exactly what to do each day of their lives, and they don’t stop until it is accomplished. They are also master planners, which becomes evident during the winter season when ants store up enough provisions to survive the season. Not to mention, bees and ants are team players. They are social creatures who understand the value of working together. That is not to say that they don’t work individually, but bees and ants have the strongest regard for shared expertise, of helping others and getting their help in order to complete the job at hand.

These are the kind of lessons that most of us are forgetting as human beings. Most people don’t wake up in the morning energized and happy, because they are leading purposeless lives. They don’t plan ahead, which is why they are not ready for their personal ‘winters’.

And as Michael Jackson sings, ‘I asked my neighbor for a favor she said later…’. So much for team work.

However, ants and bees can also teach us a lot about random decision-making.

Scientists made individual and groups of ants pick between choices for a habitable nests. When the choice was easy (i.e. one nest was considerably darker than another), the individual ant was able to take a quick decision. However, when the differences were subtler, more effective decisions came from the groups.

Likewise, scientists studies honeybees using two vials of fluid. The fluid was attached to a symbol that the bees had to recognize. The correct symbol vial had sugar water (reward) while the wrong symbol had quinine yech (punishment). The bees also had the choice to opt out and not choose either symbol.

When the distinctions were easy (let’s say a circle vs. triangle), the bees chose with great success. But in face of a difficult choice (let’s say an oval vs. a circle), the bees either took longer to decide, or they simply opted out.

This teaches us something important: When a decision is simple (such as what to have for lunch), you should go ahead and trust your gut. However, if the decision will have serious consequences, it is better to take a step back, or better still, get a friend’s help.

Every Breath you Take and Every Move you Make: How Breathing Affects Decision-Making

By on December 20, 2014 in Articles

While many of our body’s function are automatic, sometimes we rely too much on our system so as to actively use our natural abilities to the fullest. Breathing is one such ability that we often downplay.

Yes, we breathe casually without even thinking, but sometimes improper breathing techniques can negatively affect our health, and subsequently our cognition as well. The same is true if we live and work in spaces that are not properly ventilated.

A study published on ScienceNews.Org shows that when carbon dioxide levels in a closed space rise, the individuals inside the space lose their ability to make sound judgments. Fascinating, isn’t it?

And yet this is the theme of our blog. If on any occasion you felt it hard to think clearly and make a random decision, it was maybe because you were standing in a poorly-ventilated space, or that you were not breathing properly.

Hence, in order to become sharper at making random decisions, here are a few tips on how you can improve your breathing and also curb the influx of CO2 in your room:

Enhance Breathing

The human body is nothing less than a miracle. You can actually increase the amount of air taken by your lungs and how efficiently they capture oxygen. One of the best tips in this regard is to breathe deeply while in a meditative state.

Go to your room and wear comfortable clothing. Relax yourself and sit up straight on a chair or cross-legged on the ground. In any case, you need to keep your upper body straight.

Now close your eyes, and breathe in through your nose. Feel the air fill your lungs, but make sure that you stop at a certain point instead of filling up completely. Next, exhale completely, and make sure that no air is left in the lungs. This will ensure that you will allow your lungs to inhale more air the next time. Practice this daily, and you will see your lung capacity improving.

Improving Ventilation

To begin with, check the height of your door. Many doors have a gap (usually half-inch or three-quarter-inch from the ground), which ensures that airflow doesn’t stop completely when the door is closed. So, if you are planning to install a new door, bring it up to the required height with the help of spacers. That way, you can enjoy ventilation while maintaining privacy.

Finally, watch out for signs of dampness. If the room you usually work or stay in feels damper than usual, you should try to spot condensation issues. What people usually do to remove the dampness is to either increase the heat in the room or use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity. What you should do instead is to fix a draft that is coming in the room from a window that is not sealed properly.

And while you may think that plants are great for enhancing your mental state, make sure that you should only have plants proportionate to the size of the room, otherwise there is a threat of CO2 levels rising.