Science has many uses outside the walls of a laboratory and beyond the words of a research paper. Scientific principles serve to explain the world as we see it and experience it – and sometimes, age-old science is our best tool for solving any particular issue.
What is wonderful about exploiting scientific principles in times of stress, is that science is impartial and unemotional – while you may be wailing and cowering away in a corner following a tragic event, science remains stoic and unaffected, like a totally chill smoker wearing a leather jacket in a back alley.
Science is always ready to filter facts from emotional fiction.
And sometimes, the most important element of solving a problem is just that: impartiality, a perspective that helps you to evaluate an issue based on objective criteria. So next time disaster strikes, consult these scientific principles, just as you’d consult your dearest (but biased) BFF.
- The Law of Parsimony
In scientific spheres, this concept is treasured for its infallibility in reducing something to its core. Essentially, parsimony means that the simplest, most straightforward explanation is usually the most correct.
So, for any one issue in your life, first reduce it to the simplest possible explanation. Weed through the caveats and potential implications – boil it down to its bare bones.
What is the absolute simplest explanation for what is happening?
I know what you’re thinking: how could my [insert long-winded personal problem here] – how could I make this simple?
Well, try your best.
Technically, it is the law of conservation of momentum, but the basic idea is that if you have a problem in a particular area, you have likely built up considerable amount of momentum in the direction of that problem.
That is to say, you’ve probably been expending your energies in that “bad” direction for too long, thus building up momentum that continues to steer you in a direction you don’t want to go.
Maybe you’ve been gorging on junk and now you’re facing a problem with your health, maybe you’ve been procrastinating, and now you’re facing a problem with your grades – or maybe you’ve been staying up too late, and now you can’t get up on time.
So the simplest solution, which is also the best solution, is to stop. Then, begin by building momentum in the opposite direction. Going to bed 5 minutes earlier, or eating just one vegetable per day, as inconsequential as it may seem, will eventually build momentum in a better direction.
- Force of Friction
When trying to apply #2 in your life, you are very likely to encounter resistance. The more momentum you’ve built up in one area, the more resistance you will face in overcoming it.
But the force of friction brings with it a consoling caveat: the force of static friction (the amount of force required to start something moving) is typically greater than the force of kinetic friction (the amount of force required to keep that thing going).
So, in times of great resistance, if you can remind yourself that simply getting started is the hardest bit, and that everything that follows will actually be easier, you will be well on your way to building momentum in a better direction – and eventually eliminating the problem from your life.