Rat Takes the Wheel, Chills Out


Just when you think you’ve heard everything, a neuroscientist teaches rats to drive tiny cars. Their immediate reward? A Fruit Loop. Their long-lasting reward? Less stress and anxiety, as measured by the increase in DHEA, the hormone that mitigates stress, in their poop.

I think we’d all agree that driving does not relieve stress. Theoretically, it wasn’t the act of driving, but the act of learning a new task, feeling challenged, and succeeding at the task that increased DHEA in the rats.

Which brings us to you. No, we’re not asking you to squeeze into tiny rat cars. But we are asking you to engage in an activity you enjoy today as a means of lowering anxiety: knitting, painting, biking, walking, bowling, rock climbing, pottery, or whatever it is that challenges your brain and puts you in a state of “flow.”