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5 Powerful Mind and Body Hacks for a Limitless Brain

5 Powerful Mind and Body Hacks for a Limitless Brain

Elite men and women perform at a high level.  Similar to a highly skilled computer expert, mind and body hackers are looking for programs to accelerate their life. They seek out ways to hack their brain and further separate themselves from everyone else.

In 3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, the human race develops a brain enhancement device called the BrainCap.  This cap is similar to the NZT pill in the hit movie Limitless, based on Alan Glynn’s best-selling novel The Dark Fields.  Although these are fictional brain augmentations, I have no doubt they will one day become reality allowing us the ability to maximize the use of our brain.

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With that said, we do have enhancements available similar to NZT.  We have a superpower available through an internal spark in our brain, one that will literally increase our brain cells. This awesome superpower is neurogenesis. You can achieve a higher level of mind and body superiority, one that is similar to some of our greatest fictional novels. You can learn to become a brain engineer and hack your mind and body by using these five powerful hacks.

1. Use Nootropics to Hack Your Neurotransmitters

Cells that fire together, wire together. Simply put, our brain learns when new information connects to something it already knows. So the more you know, the more you are actually capable of knowing. Our brain cell includes a neuron (cell body), axon (transmits impulse), dendrites (carries impulse), and synapse (communication between neurons). Chemical substances known as neurotransmitters (voltage) are released and transported when neurons fire. Nootropics (smart drugs) are cognitive enhancing supplements that improve memory, motivation, creativity, and performance. Originally designed to treat disorders such as ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease – these potent drugs have demonstrated the capability to hack our mind and body. Use the following with caution.

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  • Dopamine: Increases motivation, concentration, and produces intense focus. Adrafinil is highly recommended.  Adderall and Modafinil are effective for those with a diagnosis of ADHD or narcolepsy. Adderall should only be taken by those with ADHD and will greatly improve attention, focus, learning capacity, and motivation.
  • Acetylcholine: Low levels have been linked to brain fog, difficulty in learning, and low memory retention. You can improve your memory by increasing acetylcholine levels in the body. I recommend Alpha-GPC and Huperzine for this.
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA): Linked to anxiety, sleep, and other relaxation functions in the body. It is important to improve levels of GABA in treatment for people suffering from bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and OCD. Aniracetam is recommended as it will enhance the growth of neurons and synapses, improve memory, increase attention and focus, and improve learning capacity.

2. Hack Neurogenesis and Grow Your Brain Cells

There is one magical substance involved in mind and body hacking. This substance is a nerve growth factor that impacts the development, function, and growth of brain cells. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that encourages the growth of new neurons and synapses through axon and dendrite sprouting.  BDNF is the most powerful and active substance stimulating neurogenesis.  Dr. John Ratey proclaimed in his best-selling book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain that BDNF is “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”

Use the following neurogenesis hacks.

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  • Exercise: Aerobic exercise is the optimal vehicle for the production of BDNF. Our brain produces BDNF during exercise, which leads to stimulation of new brain cells.
  • Audiobooks: Since running increases BDNF production, which increases neuron growth, you must then use your brain in order to keep your wiring strong. Audiobooks are similar to plugging yourself into a computer and directly downloading information. I read over 100 books per year and listen to audiobooks while running.

3. Hack Learning and Become a Super Learner

I mentioned reading in the previous hack, however, I wanted to dive deeper into this one. I attribute exercise and reading to my success in life. Most people stop actively learning when they exit a formal education curriculum. Reading is the optimal approach to improving overall learning capacity. I recommend the following.

  • Become a Ferocious Reader: The absolute best way to improve our intelligence is to read.
  • YouTube: This is the future of learning, and for the most part is free. There are some great online lectures on YouTube and you can listen while exercising, while driving (just don’t try to watch the video!), and just about anywhere. I recommend ‘Khan Academy’ if you are interested in improving your math skills.
  • Time Hacking.  Roger Hamilton highlights the importance of time in his thought-provoking book Wink and Grow Rich.  He remarked, “Show me how a man spends and invests his time, and I will show you his future.” There is nothing more important than managing your time wisely. As discussed by Hamilton, if we do not use our time wisely – once spent, that time is gone forever and will never come back.

4. Hack Your Senses and Become a Synesthete

I promise I am not on LSD and I highly recommend you stay clear of it (although it has been proven to increase neurogenesis). Definitely a crazy concept, but you can hack your senses in order to hear, taste, feel, and see colors.  Synesthesia is a union of our senses to do just that. Synesthetes are people who use this ability to improve memory and cognition. This could be extremely beneficial when attempting to pick out a few numbers from a large set, as each number is associated with a specific color in your mind. Use the following hack.

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  • Ideasthesia: This is an experience where senses are brought about by perception, where colors can be malleably connected to words, letters, or numbers. The key here is to determine if any number or letter has a direct association with a color in your mind. If you can associate each letter and number to a color, then you might just be able to hack synesthesia. Use this hack every time you read and see if the association works.

5. Hack Your Memory

Think back to your days in school. What types of techniques did you use to remember lists of important historical figures or geographic areas? Just as in math, where we were forced to memorize the entire multiplication table, we tried to force everything into our brain by the insane approach of repetition. Do you remember anything you shoved into your brain using that technique? Building a memory palace is a far superior technique utilized by all memory champions. It is a mnemonic device used to remember words, cards, faces, numbers, and more. Use these three steps as a quick guide in constructing your palace.

  • Determine your memory palace. Use a familiar setting (such as your childhood home).
  • Determine your route in your palace and assign landmarks (an old furnace in a basement you may have feared as a child).
  • Assign symbols and be creative. Use things you would never reveal to your mother (this will help it stick). Use people you despise, people you love, humiliating memories, and even nudity.  One memory champion used an image of a nude model swimming in cottage cheese at a landmark in his childhood home.

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Dr. Jamie Schwandt

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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