The easiest and most powerful one-minute life hack I've learned, and have been using more and more on a daily basis is: counting.
There are many ways to use this super simple but surprisingly powerful hack in daily life. Try it yourself - some hacks just fit.
1. Count the number of times you chew when eating, to slow down and enjoy every single bit of hidden flavor.
For example, if you chew a piece of plain bun or bread long enough (like 20 or 30 times), you will find a hidden sweet taste. This taste is realized because the starch is broken down into glucose right there on your tongue. A unique, light sweetness indeed. Try.
Plus, it is well known that chewing more times with each bite is good for your health for a couple of reasons. First, further breaking down and grinding foods with your teeth will ease the burden on the digestive system. Second, the chewing activity itself, plus the longer time the food is lingering in your mouth, will send stronger signals to the brain and generate a greater feeling of satiation. Naturally, you'll need less food to feel satisfied.
So count the times you chew. Try 20 instead of 10. And foods (whatever they are) will start tasting better: Half of that cheesecake will for sure feel more satisfying if it's chewed more times.
2. When you feel like you've reached your limit and cannot hang on for even another second, it helps to start counting. Counting is a conscious activity that involves abstract concepts. As easy as it sounds, it helps to strengthen the cortex activity and make you much more rational and reasonable. In this way, the finish line is much closer than it feels, which is the reality anyway. It's just that when the emotional center hijacks the brain, the truth is usually distorted.
So whether it is the last mile of jogging or another half hour of work, break the rest into small numbers and count your signs of progress. Much easier to hang on.
3. When feeling angry or upset, count some breaths before speaking/or doing anything. Focusing on your breathing will naturally help you to slow down, engage the parasympathetic system, and relax your nerves. It will help you to get through the initial surge of hormones, a.k.a. strong emotions.
Then the reasoning will come back/kick in, and you won't regret doing/saying things that just skipped the cortex.
4. Count your blessings. Easy and powerful. People often say "count your blessings." And there is a scientific reason for that. Again, counting, as simple as it is, activates a different area of the brain other than the areas activated by just the thoughts of blessings.
So "Count" + "Your blessings" can generate a synergistic effect that further boosts the positive attitude.
Reminder: the power of counting can also be hijacked, though, so be aware of it. For example, if you count someone's mistakes or mishaps, it will also amplify negative feelings for the same reasons. So don't put the problems of you or your loved ones in numbers. It will only cause more damage.
5. To fix procrastination, count the number of actions (or the time) needed. If you are like me, and always have problems staying on schedule, then this simple method may help. Around the time I should move on to the next task, I will start counting. Sometimes it's the number of actions needed to get the next thing started, sometimes it's the time left. By doing so I'm at least able to stay close to on-schedule.
So 1, 2, 3, let's count and just do it!
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