• Karen

Can I (and should I) chew gum and write a blog at the same time?

I am a serial gum chewer, and I am especially proficient at chomping away when I am writing. You can tell whether I’m either really struggling with a project or fully immersed in one, is how many empty Trident gum packs and wrappers are strewn around my desk. My family is taken aback by how quickly I devour multiple multi-packs of bubble gum, refreshing mint, and tropical twist (my favorite flavors!)


The question that often presents itself to me as I empty another trash basket filled with wads of chewed-up and spit-out gum is whether this obsession is helping or hindering my writing productivity.


Before attempting to uncover the answer to this question, a little detour…


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At some point in almost every person’s childhood, we are challenged by a friend to attempt a huge physical challenge… “Hey, can you pat your head with one hand and rub your belly with the other?” Once you manage that, then you are supposed to switch hands and try it again, almost always finding that the hand-switch makes the coordination a bit tougher.


While the purpose of trying this as kids was generally to have some harmless fun at each other’s expense, these types of exercises can be instructive for our bodies and brains. (Which is why they are sometimes referred to as body brain teasers.) On the surface, these challenges seem like they are demonstrating how the body can multitask. But what’s really happening is the brain is being forced to simultaneously control multiple movements. Go Brain!


***


So, is gum chewing while working a good body brain teaser or am I asking my brain to do far too much work? For example, my brain must help me do multiple things at the same time—keep my jaw muscles masticating, create amazing content, get my fingers tapping away at the computer keyboard, signal my lower limbs to hold me upright while I stand at my desk, etc.


Of course, I had to seek out a clarifying answer to the question: Can I chew gum and write a blog at the same time?


Believe it or not, this topic has earned some attention and was deemed worthy of actual scientific research! To my absolute JOY, I found that recent studies have shown there might be some exceptional cognitive benefits to gum chewing. Here are just some of the potential advantages:


· Decreases feelings of sleepiness

· Lessens stress indicators in high-pressure situations

· Boosts overall mood

· Improves recall and retention of information

· Increases oxygen levels in the brain, especially in areas related to attention

· Strengthens concentration


In fact, according to the research, the positive cognitive effects of gum chewing seem to surpass those attributed to caffeine. (There’s no telling what the impact is of the two combined!)


This is all incredibly good news for us writers who are #obsessedwithtrident.


Do you have a gum addiction like me or another habit that you think is responsible for helping you focus better and be more productive while writing? Please share your thoughts.





Sources:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/gum-chewing-may-improve-concentrati-13-03-26/

https://www.wired.com/2011/11/the-cognitive-benefits-of-chewing-gum/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22061430/

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