Here are 23 Brain Hacks that will dramatically improve your life:
Have you ever been so concentrated on something that the outside world didn’t distract you?
A time when you were reading an amazing book, working, playing sports and you lost the sense of time.
An activity that was so gratifying you want to do it again.
Well, you were experiencing a state of flow.
Flow is a psychological state of mind that helps us become more creative, productive and happy.
Tasks that are too easy can’t produce flow because of boredom and tasks that are too complicated create stress and frustration.
A task must be just right.
Another key thing to know is having a goal. If the task is pointless, it doesn’t produce flow.
Add purpose to tasks, such as thinking how happy you’ll be when you finish a project.
In addition, try to focus on the task as long as possible. At first, it will be difficult but keep practicing.
2. Declare war on Stress
Stress tricks your brain into thinking you’re in danger.
It responds with a high state of alertness and producing chemicals called glucocorticoids. Even after the “danger” has passed, those chemicals keep streaming through your blood.
The brain is focused on survival, and thus it has no time for rest and regeneration.
So, what can you do to live a stress-free life?
Chronic stress increases cortisol levels. And is the main cause of brain cell death.
In addition, high levels of cortisol are correlated with shrinkage of the brain’s hippocampus, which is associated with long-term memory.
Fish oil or Ashwagandha (also known as Indian Ginseng) supplements have both been shown to help reduce cortisol levels.
Volunteering is good for your community and for your brain.
When you help someone, your brain produces dopamine, endorphins and other feel-good chemicals.
Research shows that working 200 hours per year can give you the most benefits as long as you genuinely want to help people.
4. Exercise your legs
Groundbreaking research shows that weight-bearing exercise sends signals to the brain that are vital for the production of healthy neural cells.
5. Try the other hand
If you’re like most people, you have a dominant hand.
And the brain likes to use the dominant hand because it requires less energy. But you can stimulate the brain by using the other hand for simple tasks such as eating or brushing your teeth.
Switching hands will strengthen neural connections in the brain.
6. Barefoot habits and motor skills
If your child prefers to go barefoot, then I have good news for you.
A study published in Frontiers in Pediatrics reported that children who have a habit of going barefoot have better motor skills than those who prefer wearing shoes.
While these benefits diminish in older adolescents, the research shows the importance of barefoot exercise for motor development.
7. Have a Cup of Coffee
Moderate consumption of Coffee has many benefits for your brain.
Some of them are:
– It improves learning by up to 10%
– Caffeine increases serotonin levels
– According to these studies, coffee drinkers have a 40% lower risk of developing liver cancer.
8. Drink Tea
Tea is one of the most consumed beverages. Since ancient times, tea has been cultivated and used for medicinal purposes.
It contains a group of chemicals which may reduce the risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and diabetes.
It has many health benefits.
For centuries, it was believed that sage could enhance memory. Now studies have shown that it’s true.
Eating sage seems to help produce acetylcholine- a chemical in the brain that aids memory.
Small amounts of sage can help with recall and concentration. It’s also an antioxidant that will help your brain get rid of free radicals.
10. Get high on Endorphins
Endorphins are neurotransmitters that pass along from one neuron to the next.
Your brain produces them as a response to pain.
Here are 5 ways to trigger the release of endorphins:
1. Eat high-cocoa chocolates.
2. Exercise – There isn’t an exact way to tell how much exercise you need to increase endorphin levels. But do a mood check about how you feel after each time you train.
3. Eat Spicy Foods – Research suggests that the spicy components in hot peppers may trigger a pain sensation in the mouth, which prompts an increase in endorphins.
4. Laugh – A study conducted by Finnish and British researchers showed how laughter releases endorphins in the brain.
5. Connect with others – Touching, volunteering and finding purpose.
11. Step up Serotonin
Serotonin helps the brain communicate with your body. It’s found mainly in your intestines but also in the Central Nervous System.
It affects or regulates several bodily functions such as digestion, blood clotting, mood.
Low serotonin levels are associated with anxiety and depression.
How can you increase Serotonin levels naturally?
– Tryptophan-rich foods: You can’t get serotonin directly from food, but you can get tryptophan, an amino acid important for serotonin production.
You can consume salmon, poultry, eggs, spinach, seeds, milk, nuts.
– Exercise: It creates the perfect environment for more tryptophan to reach your brain.
– Massage therapy increases serotonin and dopamine levels. It also helps decrease cortisol.
12. Get Gotu Kola
In traditional medicine, Gotu kola it’s used to increase physical strength, boost cognition, protect the heart, and combat stress.
You should start with a low dose and then go up to the full dose.
Don’t get Gotu Kola if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Have Liver problems
- Are under 18 years old
- Contact your doctor for more information before getting Gotu Kola.
13. Solve real puzzles
Researchers say that solving crosswords doesn’t really help with overall cognition and memory. They’re fun but if you want to boost your brain, solve real-world problems.
For example, instead of writing your grocery list, try to memorize it.
14. Streak your victories
Your brain, like your boss, prefers success to failure. When it has success, dopamine is released.
This helps you to remember what you did right and repeat it.
One the other hand, when you fail, you don’t get the dopamine.
Despite what the gurus say, you learn more from success than from failure.
In a study, monkeys (which have brains similar to ours) were trained on a two-choice visual strike.
A correct answer improved neural processing and improved their performance on the next level.
But when a monkey made a mistake, it was discouraged instead of learning from them.
“Success has a much greater influence on the brain than failure,”, says MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller, who led the research.
The more successful you are over time, the more your brain wants you to be successful.
For example, every time you go to the gym, mark it on your calendar.
When you review the calendar, you’ll see a series of successes and it will motivate you to continue succeeding.
15. Be a Social Butterfly
Humans are social beings.
We love interacting with other people and share our own experiences.
Just looking at how big is Facebook can illustrate the need to socialize.
Human beings have a larger neocortex compared to other mammals.
Neocortex comprises many brain areas responsible for social cognition and empathy.
We’re biologically hard-wired for interacting with others.
Socializing can help you in many aspects. It will increase your well-being and decrease the likelihood of depression.
Research has shown that people who socialize do better on memory tests and other cognitive skills.
16. Play video games
Another study by researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Germany found that playing Super Mario 64 caused an increase in the size of brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation, strategic planning, and fine motor skills.
17. Play Chess
Various studies during the years have shown that young people who play chess show significant intelligence gains, including increased verbal and math skills.
The benefits are earned by playing the game a few hours a week over several months.
While IQ-boosting effect is most pronounced in children from grade school through high school, older players also show benefits.
A study showed that older people who played chess had less likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.
An expert chess player uses both the brain’s left and right hemisphere. Over time, playing chess will exercise both sides of your brain.
18. Take Short Breaks
When you have a big project coming out, it’s tempting to spend many hours working. But research shows that taking a short break can improve your ability to focus on a task.
Researchers theorize that your brain gradually loses focus when doing the same thing for a long time.
But don’t switch from a task to a similar task (reading a book, then reading a blog). Instead, do something different.
Books can do much more than entertain you.
Reading anything is good for your brain, especially novels.
A study by neuroscientists at Emory University found that reading a good book may cause heightened connectivity in the brain.
Read as much as you can and focus on works that challenge you.
20. Be grateful
When you focus on what you love about life, your emotional brain fires up.
Gratitude helps support mental health. Many studies show that expressing gratitude helps reduce toxic emotions.
Also, spend 15 minutes thinking about the things you are grateful before bed. It will help you sleep better and longer.
Whether you are alone or dancing with friends in a club dance is an activity that has many benefits.
Dancing stimulates the brain’s reward centers, and it activates the hippocampus- the part responsible for emotion and memory.
It also helps in reducing stress. When you dance you’re focused on the moment and cortisol levels are low.
22. Listen to Music
Music has a powerful impact on us. The right song can make us dance like crazy and help us feel better.
A particular melody might bring back your childhood memories.
Research has shown that listening to music helps reduce pain, stress relief, memory and brain injuries.
23. Improve the reality
Your brain creates reality.
It’s not what happens to you in life that determines how you feel, but it’s how your brain perceives the reality.
Here’s a simple equation: A + B = C
A is the actual event
B is how we perceive the event
C is how we react to the event
Most people think what happens to us, determine our behavior. But, in most cases, is the B stuff.
Here are 3 Steps to improve your brain and reality:
1. Do not believe every first thought you have
There are many brain systems in communication – sight & sound processing, decoding meaning and comparing the new information with experiences.
You can see how some things can get miscommunicated.
Whenever you experience negative feelings, try to clarify the situation.
Feed your brain with accurate information, not just gut feelings.
2. Your thoughts are extremely powerful
Every time you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals.
When you experience a positive emotion, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel happier and help your brain health.
When you experience negative emotions, your brain works less efficiently.
So, try to fuel your brain with positive energy.
3. Tell your brain what you want and match the behavior to get it
Many people get caught by the little problems during the day and forget the main goal.
A simple exercise that will help you is by writing your goals.
Grab a sheet of paper and write three main headings: Relationship, Work, and Self.
Now under each section, write with confidence about what do you want and what are you currently doing to make it happen.
Place this piece of paper in places where you can see it every day.
Your life will become more conscious and you’ll spend more time and energy on goals that are really important to you.