Thanks to the recent expansion of members in the brain hacking community, bettering your brain function has never been such a hot topic! With all of the recent studies being conducted on the brain and its many functions, we know more about our physical brains than ever before.
With more information available, individuals all over the world are looking to hack their brains and perform better in both their work and personal lives. Whether you are a CEO, a stay at home mom, or a yoga teacher, your brain’s ability to function at its best will inevitably increase your quality of life.
I am all about brain optimization and bettering myself which makes me very excited to share with you 10 tips to hack your brain!
What is brain hacking?
Essentially, brain hacking is the application of different techniques used to affect an individual’s mental state, cognitive processes and function(s). With your typical lifestyle comes a typically functioning brain.
This may look like daily brain fog, choppy memory or a lack of motivation. Dealing with these limitations keeps us from experiencing our true potential. Although it only makes you human to experience these things, you can avoid them from occurring regularly.
When our brain is functioning at an optimal level, our lives change drastically. These positive changes can increase well-being, productivity and so much more. Our brain’s performance highly depends on how we treat our mind/body and the lifestyle we choose.
Do you have a hard time waking up in the morning? Do you lack inspiration and creativity? Do you struggle with retaining information? Do you feel out of control with your emotions? Do you struggle to keep up with your deadlines? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you need these brain hacking tips!
10 tips for a better brain function
1. Do more walking!
According to Professor Javier Medina from Baylor College of Medicine, walking three times a week for half an hour or so increases function in a part of your brain called the hippocampus.
This area of the brain that governs learning, memory and more. Going on 3 half-hour walks a week is an easy and low-effort way to increase activity in the hippocampus and hacking your ability to retain memories. Light and regular movement, in general, is good for brain health. So stay active!
2. Experience your senses deeply.
Let’s use smell as an example. Not only is using your sense of smell pleasurable (for the most part) it is also good for the brain to experience the senses deeply.
This could be done while cooking a delicious smelling pie or diffusing some essential oils. Mindfully using your senses is a great way to increase brain activity, which is a good way to exercise the brain physically. After all, it is a muscle!
3. Challenge your motor skills.
As I stated above, your brain is a muscle and needs to be exercised. Testing your motor skills is a very effective and very simple brain hack! This technique can be put into practice in so many ways.
For example, you could start brushing your teeth with your non-dominate hand or take up a new hobby that challenged your motor skills. Brain hacking does not have to be boring! You can get creative with it and make it fun. Challenge your motor skill daily for the best results.
4. Try to decrease expectations.
Brain hacking is not all about performing better at work. It is also a great tool for managing and stabilizing emotions. We get a dopamine surge when there is a big difference between an expectation and the actual outcome.
If you place an unrealistically high expectation on something that turns out to be far from what you thought, it could result in much more disappointment than if you weren’t hoping for that expectation.
Doing this can cause unnecessary suffering. Although this is easier said than done, it is very helpful to train your brain to expect less. Essentially, this should increase your well-being, overall happiness and how content you are with the reality of a situation.
5. Learn how to meditate.
Taking up meditation and experimenting with different methods is a fantastic brain hack! Yes, it can take some practice but it is definitely worth the time you invest in it. Back in 2011, Harvard conducted a large study on the effects that meditation has on the physical brain.
What they found was astonishing! They concluded that practising mindfulness meditation can actually change the physical structure of the brain! Doing so has been found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus (see above). Additionally, a different study found that meditating for 5 minutes every day has a longer-lasting effect on the brain than having a two-hour meditating session once a week.
That being said, set aside 5 minutes a day to sit with your mind and body. If you aren’t sure where to start, there are loads of helpful apps available these days that can get you going.
6. Test your memory.
Something called ‘The Memory Palace’ is an ancient Roman and Greek technique for memorising difficult things. For example, it could be a list of names or important number combinations such as your credit card details or phone numbers.
Thanks to the increase in technology and how much we rely on it daily, our brains are being tested less and less. This has severe long-term damage to potential memory. Using Google Maps is another great example. We have evolved to have a space in the brain that governs our ability to navigate.
That is being completely disregarded with the excessive use of Google Maps. Try turning off your navigator and use your memory! Not only is this good for the brain but it is also very rewarding.
7. Stop and breathe!
Taking time to do breathwork daily has a load of benefits. Performing different breathing patterns activates the brain’s network that is linked to mood, attention and bodily awareness. Taking time to stop and breathe every day may feel silly in the beginning, but I promise you it is worth it!
Practising mindful breathing regularly can help reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and sometimes even depression. As simple as it sounds, slow down and pay attention to your breath.
8. Try microdosing or using nootropics.
Microdosing is the act of ingesting a micro-amount (non-psychoactive) of a psychedelic substance with the motive of increasing brain function and wellbeing. Nootropics are a category of brain health supplements that, you guessed it, improve brain function and wellbeing!
Combining microdosing with other nootropics (eg, Lions Mane Mushroom, Noopept, Ashwagandha, etc), is a super-easy way to feed your brain. There is nothing wrong with needing an extra ‘boost’ once in a while! Introducing these into your weekly routine can improve sleep, stabilize hormones, and increase creativity and motivation!
The list of benefits is a long one, but these are a few of the most commonly reported benefits from microdosing/taking nootropics that are key to brain hacking!
9. Listen to learn.
A great way to optimize your brain is by listening, specifically in the morning. If you have a hard time getting your brain going after waking up, then this may be helpful for you! Take 10-15 minutes every morning before you start your day to listen to something that interests you.
If it is interesting, then your brain will perk up and listen better. For best results, listen to something informational that you are curious about and avoid watching a video! Podcasts and audiobooks are very effective. Doing this will help naturally stimulate the brain and will likely help you perform more sharply throughout your day.
10. Wind down mindfully.
Creating a stable night-time routine that is optimized for your needs is a game-changer. So many of us remain unmindful of how we spend our last waking hours.
Do you know how everyone says that the first few hours of your day can dictate how you feel for the rest of the remaining day? Well, how you spend your last few hours can largely dictate how well you sleep. Your quality of sleep is vital for your brain. When you are sleeping your brain stays very active! It is busy restoring and renewing itself so you can wake up feeling fresh and ready to take on the following day!
Developing a solid night-time routine can also promote a healthy circadian rhythm, which is your wake/sleep cycle. Your brain cannot do what it needs to do if you are not giving it high-quality sleep!
The bottom line
Your days are essentially a collection of habits. Take some time to go over how you spend your days and the habits you may not even notice you do. Eliminate habits that do not align with who you want to be. Making a bunch of small changes can have a collective and (sometimes) synergistic effect. Treat your brain with respect so you can truly thrive and not just survive.
How often do you think about the way you think?