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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.

More by this author

Dr. Jamie Schwandt

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Smart Choices How to Reprogram Your Brain Like a Computer And Hack Your Habits 5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory 10 Hacks to Increase Your Brain IQ, Focus and Creativity 9 Game Changing Tips on How to Write Goals (and Reach Them!)

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Last Updated on February 20, 2019

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

Why is this so critically important to you?

The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

  • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
  • The man facing the judge.
  • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
  • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
  • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
  • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

2. Accept Your Fear

Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

And here’s what can be done.

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3. Get Some Perspective

I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

  • Are you really at risk?
  • Will this kill you?
  • Which leads us on to..
  • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

4. Hold a Hand

As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

Ask yourself:

  • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
  • Could that really happen?
  • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
  • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

8. Assume the Worse

If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

  • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
  • Think about how they feel about champagne?
  • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

11. Go with Fear

When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

13. Own Your Fear

Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

More Resources About Fighting Fear

Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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