Something kinda funny happened to me the other day. I was at my day job wrapping packages and I was hiccuping — profusely. Then, this random guy comes up to me and asks me if I want to know a really good way to get rid of them.
I respond with an eye roll and reassure him that I’ve tried everything already. I held my breath, I swallowed water upside down, I forced myself to laugh. “They’ll just go away on their own,” I told him. He came a little closer and proceeded to tell me the real trick to getting rid of hiccups: “You can stop them with your mind,” he said.
The Hiccup-Mind Connection
According to a five-year study by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, led by Dr. Tyler Cymet, nothing but time stops the hiccups. Dr. Cymet basically found out that nothing necessarily helped the hiccups stop and the only constant in his experiment was that the hiccups eventually just ended on their own.
However, there was a psychologist by the name of Duane Hurst who managed to cure a patient’s chronic hiccups through Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback, which measures your heart rate and instructs the patient to reach a “rest and digest” state through deep breathing. This is why peanut butter is revered as a “hiccup cure.” When your mouth is stuck shut, you end up breathing deeply through your nose, causing an instant “rest and digest” state in your body. This guy might not be too far off…
What Causes Hiccups in the First Place?
Hiccups can happen for many different reasons. Anything from eating too quickly, to chewing gum, to a sudden change in temperature can make your diaphragm tighten up. Your diaphragm will contract, causing you to breathe in air very quickly, which then makes your glottis (the opening between your vocal chords) close up. This action is the reason behind that cute hiccup sound we all know and love. So this guy was basically suggesting that this entire process can be stopped just by thinking about it.
My Experience and How to Do It
I, of course, instantly perked up and continued to listen. He told me to send calming thoughts to my diaphragm — the muscle right underneath your lungs, responsible for inhalation and inspiration. It’s also right in the area of your solar plexus (for all you yogis out there). He said to focus on that muscle and picture it calming down. I closed my eyes, and tried it. And it worked.
No more than 10 seconds later, I opened my eyes, and low and behold — no more hiccups. He laughed and said, “pretty good party trick,” and then walked away. I was floored! I always knew that our minds were powerful, but now I had actual proof.
Try this trick the next time you have a fit of hiccups. If we can stop hiccups with thought alone, just think of what else we can do with the power of our minds.
Let us know how it worked and what other tricks you use!
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