Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Moderate Drinking Can Be Good

Have you ever noticed how much researchers enjoy contradicting each other or changing their minds about things? Especially when it comes to things we enjoy eating or drinking?
Last year it seemed like every month or so a new study would come out proclaiming that coffee was either good for you or bad for you, depending on which group of scientific researchers you chose to read.
     January: One or two cups of coffee a day can make you sharper and more aware, helps students do better.
     February: Caffeine from coffee raises blood pressure and can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
     March: People who drink 1 cup of black coffee a day live 5% longer….Kind of makes you want to go out and strangle a research scientist…

What I do is cherry-pick the studies that say the things that I like to eat or drink are good for you and ignore the ones that say the opposite. (Which, or course, makes the whole process sort of useless… but it makes me feel better).

Now they’ve decided that moderate drinking is actually very good for you. It makes you more creative and helps you find solutions to problems (at least that’s what they are saying this month). Here is a part of an article that appeared in the Washington Journal:

“Moderate drinking can also relax inhibitions in a way that seems to let the mind range across a wider set of possible connections. It can also help a person notice environmental cues or changes that a sober brain would block out, Dr. Wiley says. In a 2012 study at University of Illinois at Chicago, students who drank enough to raise their blood-alcohol level to 0.075 performed better on tests of insight than sober students. Other research suggests watching funny videos can spark the positive moods linked to higher creativity.

Priming the mind with a wide range of experiences and input also helps. Tor Myhren, an ad executive credited with many successful campaigns including the ETrade talking baby, says he uses "massive creative stimulus followed by total solitary confinement" to start ideas flowing. Anticipating a period of hard work recently, he read "Wired" magazine cover to cover, then went to see "Django Unchained," says Mr. Myhren, president and chief creative officer of Grey New York. "When I set my brain up properly for it, when I've fed my brain properly, I can do it."

He wrote some of the talking-baby scripts while working alone late at night in his office, sipping a little Oban whiskey and listening to Radiohead on his iPod, he says. For him, "an idea isn't just a lightning-bolt thing. I have to work at it."

Works for me. I do a lot of writing and need to increase my creativity a lot. –And if I’m not writing I can always find a problem that I need help solving.

I don’t know if drinking really helps creativity but it sure does help me to not give a damn….

Today's Reflection:
The answers to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a bottle - they're on TV!
Live Long and Prosper.....

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