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Feeling cold? Here’s how to hack your brain to feel warm and withstand the temperature!

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Feeling cold? Here’s how to hack your brain to feel warm and withstand the temperature!
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With a powerful nor’easter about to hit the Northeast and cold temperatures in much of the South and Midwest, who couldn’t use a little trick up their sleeves to feel warmer without bumping up the heat?

Read more: Freezing at work? Study says temperature formula was designed for men

Nostalgic thoughts are the key!

Five separate experiments conducted by researchers at the University of Southampton in conjunction with colleagues in China and the Netherlands all point to the same conclusion…

Your brain is like a built-in thermostat that can be hacked to make you feel warmer and better withstand the cold — if you think the right kind of thoughts!

According to science, it seems that the warm glow of nostalgic memories can have profound effects on your perception of cold temperatures.

Consider just two examples culled from the five-part study:  

  • In one experiment, 19 students kept a daily journal noting whenever nostalgic thoughts popped up during a one-month period. Cross-referencing their entries with a log of the daily temps, researchers were able to determine that the students felt more nostalgic on colder days.
  • In another experiment, students who were instructed to think a nostalgic thought had the ability to hold their hands in ice cold water longer than those who had just mulled over an ordinary autobiographical thought.

“Our study has shown that nostalgia serves a homeostatic function, allowing the mental simulation of previously enjoyed states, including states of bodily comfort — in this case making us feel warmer or increasing our tolerance of cold,” study co-author Dr. Tim Wildschut noted. “More research is now needed to see if nostalgia can combat other forms of physical discomfort, besides low temperature.”

The findings of the study done by Wildschut and his colleagues appeared in the American Psychological Association’s online journal, Emotion.

Bottom-line: If you’re feeling cold, think back to the good old days and see if your perception of the temperature doesn’t change — without you having to shell out any extra change to pay a higher heating bill!

More ways to stay warm without spending too much money

Lock in low energy costs price for the entire heating season

In roughly 25 states, you can comparison-shop for the best prices on natural gas, because prices are set by the open marketplace, rather than by regulators. If you live in one of these states, you should take advantage of this savings opportunity by locking in a low price for 12 months as soon as possible. (See if your state is deregulated.)

If you are in a deregulated state, Google your state’s Public Service Commission. You can find published monthly energy prices from all providers and do comparison shopping using apples-to-apples data.

Remember, there is no difference between a therm or a kilowatt from one company vs. another. The only difference is the price! So shopping the market is so key.

The rates usually reset once a month. You can typically lock in a fixed rate for 6 to 24 months, depending on the rules in your state. Shopping for this stuff may not be fun, but it can save you a whole lot of money on a bill that comes every month like clockwork.

Purchase a smart thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat has given the lowly programmable thermostat in your home a high-tech makeover. This device sells for $249 and uses artificial intelligence to learn your patterns and auto-adjust the thermostat when nobody is home.

Additional quick tips to save money on energy

  1. Seal drafts around doors and windows using weather stripping or caulking.
  2. Make sure your attic is well insulated.
  3. Get a water heater blanket if your unit is over 5 years old.
  4. Use natural sunlight for heating when available.
  5. Make sure your vents are not blocked by furniture.
  6. Try zoned heating and cooling. Close off rooms and vents in rooms that are not in use.
  7. Close off your fireplace and the flue on your chimney.
  8. Consider warming your bed with an electric blanket on chilly nights.

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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