Mind-reading Exercises

While these tips won’t actually let you read your spouse’s mind, the following exercises will help you strengthen your observational skills.

  • Ask a Beautiful Brain Buddy to sit directly across from you without uttering a word for three minutes. You can use a cooking timer for this exercise. During this exercise ask your friend to relive an emotionally laden event in his or her mind’s eye. This can be anything— a wedding, birth, graduation, getting a flat tire on the highway. No gestures are allowed. See how well you can read your friend’s expressions. Now switch roles. Afterward, compare your impressions and reveal what you were thinking about.
  • As you become more confident of your skills, try extending your powers of observation to those you encounter throughout the day. For fun, subtly study the facial expressions of your fellow commuters on the bus or train, or the people you see standing in line at the bank. By simply focusing more attention on others, you will experience a deeper sense of connection with those around you, and most likely, with the help of mirror neurons, they will feel the same in return.
  • Ask someone to videotape you while you are engaged in a five minute interview with your Beautiful Brain Buddy. You can also use a tripod; make sure that the camera is taking a close- up of your face. Have your friend bring up hot- button topics, such as politics, family, or religion, that will evoke an emotional response. Next, play back the tape with the sound off and observe your expressions. Can you tell when you were speaking about something that made you upset? What does your face look like when you are pleased? What kinds of expressions do you use? If you find that you are frowning or are blinking nervously, you can give yourself a natural face- lift and change the image that you present to the world by changing your thoughts.

Excerpted from Beautiful Brain, Beautiful You, by Dr. Marie Pasinski (Hyperion)