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Neurohacking - Tutorials
Written by NHA   
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 01:01
Article Index
Neurohacking Tutorial 5 - Improving & Augmenting N1 & N2
Stress And Relaxation in Rear Networks
Growth And Development vs Protection Modes
What Happens If Things Go Wrong
Cells That Fire Together Wire Together
Motivation, Coercion and Unconditional Positive Regard
NHA Guide to Methods and Tech
Hacks and Exercices
Notes, References & Answers
All Pages

 


Self Assessment: What You Should Know by Now

 

Tutorial 6 (the next one) marks your transition from beginner to intermediate in this first set of tutorials. If you are going to fully understand and get the best out of future tutorials and pursue optimal development for your intelligence, you will need to know these basics before moving on. Here's a quick quiz so you can test yourself to see what you remember:
 

  1. How many factors of intelligence can you name?
  2. How many main brain networks does intelligence use?
  3. What is the main limiting harmful factor on intelligence?
  4. Which of the following does plasticity apply to: neurons, networks, the whole brain, the body, the genome, neurotransmitter production, personality, emotion, memory, intelligence?
  5. Name 4 epigenetic factors (epigenetic factors are things that alter the expression of your genome, e.g. turn genes on or off).
  6. What hormone does anxiety reduction decrease?
  7. What goes in comes out (epigenetics shows that beneficial environments and behaviors improve intelligence). What is the name of the main hacking method using epigenetics?
  8. Networks 1, 2 and 3 have related 'golden rules'. Do you remember which rule goes with which network?
  9. What are the main two ways we can slip out of the 'green zone' of growth and development?
  10. Why is it impossible to be in protection mode and growth mode at the same time?


(answers at end of tutorial)

 

How Far How Fast?

The assessment we did in tutorial 3 gives you a basic idea of how ‘fit’ you brain is starting out. You should plan your NH program at a rate that is sensible for you; just as you would if you were training up the body. -If you’re ‘averagely’ physically fit, doing a couple of push-ups is already known and automatic for your body, but doing a hundred may not be. On the other hand if you’ve been training for years and you’re a bodybuilder or an athlete, you may think a hundred push-ups is something to fit in before breakfast, and you’ll probably do a whole collection of other exercises automatically too! In just the same way, when you start to find that a certain amount of mental exercise feels easy and familiar, you should extend your ‘repertoire’ of hacks & exercises and practise variations on the same themes (ie, once you know enough, you can start creating your own exercises and hacks, tailored for you specifically). This is how we develop ‘muscular-mindedness’ –the ability to think fast in unknown circumstances and perform with excellence in those we are familiar with.

Stretching and relaxing is part of a ‘learning cycle’ that we’ll look at more deeply in the next tutorial, for now you should decide for yourself how much you should exercise your brain and how often [some guidelines are given in the exercises below]. Take into account your current psychology too –if you consider yourself to be a “bit of a worrier” or apathetic about trying anything new, or if you know that you are anxious for any reason, begin with the “chill out” relaxation exercises. If you feel too distracted to concentrate, or if you feel out of your depth with any exercise, stop, chill out, and come back to it later. Think about any aspects of each exercise that are hard for you and try to work out why, consulting your assessment chart. As we have mentioned before, for best success, you should treat the whole Intal program in a light-hearted way like a game, in which you progress through different levels by mastering the abilities and gaining the ‘treasure’. The only difference in this game is, everybody wins.

The exercises and hacks will all stretch and relax different networks of your brain in different ways. But, like an athlete who works on groups of muscles as well as individual ones, you’ll want to build up the performance of groups of networks together. This is what the assignments are for; they generally engage more than one network and sometimes the entire brain. So don’t forget, even if you’re exercising all the networks regularly, you still need to do the assignments to sharpen up your whole brain’s performance.

If you got a low ‘Whole brain percentage’ score and/or a high ‘N’ score for networks 1&2, you need to do the short assessment and exercises that you will find at the end of this tutorial. If you got a high ‘O’ score for networks 1&2, you need to do the hacks that come next in this tutorial.

Different types of input control for different networks:

Just as there are different drugs for different networks, there are different types of input control that work best with certain networks. Here's a guide:

N1: Responds best to sensorimotor hacks such as massage, REST and flotation therapies, dietary adjustments, vitamins & supplements, yoga

N2: Responds best to sound & light, physical exercise, dancing, martial arts, biofeedback, CES

N3: Responds best to herbal & chemical input, color, stories, pictures, movies, TMS, NMS, hypnosis & suggestion, aromatherapy, the natural environment

N4: Responds best to psychological & creative techniques, music, mindfulness meditation, group or interactive therapy, games

N5: Responds best to cognitive techniques, reading and verbal input, CBT, self-directed reflexive therapy, analysis

N6: Responds best to an holistic spiritual approach and structured strategy, meditation

All networks benefit from anxiety reduction.

 

 

DO IT NOW

 

Hacks for Improving and Augmenting 'X' Networks

 

Input control for N1 & 2:

Hacking the Genome for Physical Health – Weight and Build Adjustment

If you believe you’re overweight or underweight because of ‘your genes’, here’s where you find something to do about that!

You’ll notice that quite a lot of neurohacking hinges on epigenetics and turning genes on or off. Some genes need constant input in order to remain functional; for example, those producing the proteins that increase your muscle size need constant signals that the muscles are being used, or they shut down, and those that produce the protein that makes you store glucose as adipose tissue (fat) also need a constant signal to keep functioning. We can hack the transcription of both these sets of genes either by removing the signals they rely on, or by fooling them into thinking the signals are present when in fact they’re not. So…

 

If you’re overweight: Turn it Off

The signal the gene complex is looking for is fast-release sugars. Deny them this input for a short time and they’ll turn off. You can do that by following the low-GI diet with no exceptions for six months [after that you should be able to get away with eating junk some of the time without gaining weight, because your metabolism will have changed]. There are other ways to do this, for example fasting or Calorie Restriction, but as far as we can tell the low GI diet is the safest method for your health.

 

If you’re underweight: Turn it On

Muscle tissue weighs a lot more than fat does, and doesn’t endanger your health. So if you want to put on weight, you’re better off gaining muscle than fat. The signal the gene complex is looking for is physical exercise, but you can fool the brain into believing that you are exercising by watching someone else exercise [live or in a video] and imagining that you are performing the movements. How much muscle you gain will depend on how good your imagination is, so this is a good exercise for your imagination too! Even athletes practising this hack gain more muscle bulk faster than those who are just working out physically!

 

Notes on Diet

We advocate informed consent, so want you to be informed that if you decide to try the GI diet, you are hacking more than your neurons here –you are hacking your genome. If you follow a low GI diet for any length of time, some of the changes in your biochemistry will trigger gene transcription [i.e. it will turn some of your genes on or off]. The particular genes in question control glucose metabolism, and once you alter their expression you will find it more difficult to store excess fat, you will have a genetic tendency not to get diabetes or go senile, you are likely to live longer, and your immune system will improve. So, consider yourself informed. If you object to any of this happening to you, don’t try the diet.


Vitamins & Supplements

If you want to improve or augment N 1 & 2 you should begin with neuroprotective and supportive substances such as Omega 3, B vitamins and selegiline.

 

Meditation

It doesn’t matter what kind of meditation you choose, and if you follow any particular method already there’s no need to change that. But you might want to try other methods out and see what they’re like. The easiest forms of meditation we have found in books are those taught by Richard Hittleman in his ‘yoga for health’ books; these should be available from libraries for free or to buy online.

 

Biofeedback

There is a detailed explanation of biofeedback in the technology section of the library. Very simply it is using information about your biology as feedback in order to facilitate change. The easiest example is: Your body shivers –this is biofeedback, giving you input telling you you’re too cold. You respond by putting on a jumper, exercising or turning up the heat. You can also use a thermometer to see whether you are too cold or too hot –this is using technology to provide the biofeedback.

In biofeedback, there are two main modes of use, monitored feedback as input and preset input.

In monitored input, technology is used that scans (for example) your vital signs and represents the input to you as light and sound. This may be presented as a scale or waveform on a screen or a musical tone through headphones that tells you how high your blood pressure is or the speed of your heart rate. By paying attention to the feedback, you can learn to control your vital signs consciously and (for example) reduce high blood pressure without drugs.

In preset input, a healthy example is used as input, and may be audio, visual, electrical or magnetic. For example, a recording of a healthy heartbeat played through headphones will adjust the heartbeat of the listener. The best presets first match their pace to your own statistics and slowly adjust to healthy levels.

In neurofeedback, signals from or to the brain are used as well as or instead of from the body. Vital signs and brainwave patterns change together, so working on the body also affects the mind.

By watching the feedback from technology, we can learn how to control our body’s responses consciously, so we can raise our temperature or lower it at will, thus needing less exercise and fewer jumpers. We can learn to do this with many vital systems, including our brainwave patterns, blood pressure, neurotransmitter release and amount of tension. Thus, bio/neurofeedback is a really great tool for NH, and we’ll be looking at it further as we go along.


Sensorimotor Hack to Improve Confidence

Recent studies imply that our body posture can affect not only what others think about us, but also how we think about ourselves.

In one study, (11) participants were seated at a computer terminal and instructed to either "sit up straight" and "push out their chest” or "sit slouched forward" with their "face looking at their knees."

While holding their posture, they listed either three positive or three negative personal traits relating to future professional performance. Then they took a survey rating themselves on how well they would do as a future professional employee.

The results were striking. How the participants rated themselves as future professionals depended on which posture they held as they wrote the positive or negative traits.

Those who held the upright, confident posture were much more likely to rate themselves in line with the positive or negative traits they wrote down. However, those who assumed the slumped over, less confident posture, didn't seem convinced by their own thoughts - their ratings didn't differ much regardless of whether they wrote positive or negative things about themselves.

The end result of this was that when students wrote positive thoughts about themselves, they rated themselves more highly when in the upright than the slouched posture because the upright posture led to confidence in the positive thoughts. However, when students wrote negative thoughts about themselves, they rated themselves more negatively in the upright than the slouched posture because the upright posture led to more confidence in their negative thoughts.

Participants didn't report feeling more confident in the upright position than they did in the slouched position, even though those in the upright position did report more confidence in the thoughts they generated.

That suggests people's thoughts are influenced by their posture unconsciously; they assume their confidence is coming from their own thoughts, and don't realize their posture is affecting how much they believe in what they're thinking. If they did realize that, posture wouldn't have such an effect. In other words, sitting up straight has psychological benefits - as long as you generally have positive thoughts. So don't do this hack if you are feeling anxious; reduce the anxiety first.


Hack Your Posture & Circulation - Both Affect the Brain’s Blood Supply and Overall Health.

An often neglected part of physical health is your posture, which it may surprise you to learn has strong effects on your moods and state of mind. To preserve your posture and physical health, avoid:

  1. Regular wearing of high heels, they alter your posture to throw your pelvis forward.
  2. Carrying of heavy bags on one shoulder or with one arm only, which leads to a lot of back problems.
  3. Tight clothing, which has been the cause of many a deep vein thrombosis and can cause varicose tissue in the testes [ouch!] and the legs.
  4. Nylon underwear, which encourages UTIs [Urinary tract infections] and acne.


Your body is like a spacesuit that allows your brain to move about and interact with the world. Your life depends on it, so make sure it’s in good working order and it has healthy habits. Your posture is also subject to habit –and bad habits can be changed for better ones. Take a few moments to become aware of your body. You will notice when you are slouching or tense, and correct it. Do this hack at regular times each day.

A part of your body posture is of course your face! Habits of walking around looking grumpy or with your mouth gawping open can be hacked, but only if you notice them. Sensory motor exercises such as those given below will assist your awareness of your body and of stuff like this.

Walking is a great brain exercise because it is not normally strenuous, so your leg muscles don't take up extra oxygen and glucose like they do during other forms of exercise. As you walk, you effectively oxygenate your brain. Maybe this is why some people go for a walk to "clear their head" and help themselves to think through something more clearly.

Gentle movement and exercise increase breathing and heart rate so that more blood flows to the brain, enhancing energy production and waste removal. In response to this kind of exercise, cerebral blood vessels grow, even in middle-aged sedentary animals.

An important factor in your home is temperature. The human brain, body and immune system work most efficiently at a room temperature above 19 degrees centigrade [66 fahrenheit]. Keep warm when you are going out too –you may only be popping out to throw away the garbage, but sudden drops in temperature can also throw your chemistry balance.


DIY Neuroprotective Brain Tonic

You should be able to get these ingredients from supplement suppliers, pharmacies or health food stores. The following mix computes as the optimal neuroprotective brain tonic available according to current research. You can take these separately or together once per day.

Most ‘multi-vitamin’ tablets cannot be easily assimilated by the body and are a complete waste of money. You need chelated vitamins, preferably in liquid form. 

  • 800mg Linoleic acid
  • 500mg Acetyl-l-carnitine
  • 500mg Omega3 [preferably fish oil]
  • 200mg Lipoic acid [antioxidant that preserves acetylcholine]
  • 200mg Choline
  • 200mg Phosphatidylserine OR Glycerol phosphocholine
  • 050mg Thiamine
  • 050mg Pantothenic acid
  • 002mg Vitamin B12
  • 002mg Manganese
  • 001mg HuperzineA


 

Sugar-Craving Hacks

If you find yourself craving high-density carbohydrates, you could be lacking tryptophan [a chemical that helps to make various neurotransmitters]. Eat more of any of the following: Dairy products, nuts, seeds, bananas, soybeans, tuna, shellfish or turkey.  

A West African berry called Synsepalum dulcificum, also known as the miracle fruit, has an unusual natural property: if you eat one, everything you eat for about an hour afterwards will taste sweet. The berry-bearing plants grow comfortably in most european and US climates, and you can also buy extracts of the berry in tablet form.

The small red berries do not produce sugar. They literally fool the taste buds into recognising “sour” as “sweet” –this is a genuine perception hack. If you are overused to sweet things and not yet used to the taste of healthy foods, chew a berry first. That piece of honeyed wholemeal toast will taste like sugared cheerios.

Coconut oil also reduces sugar cravings. But it does make most things taste of coconuts, so have a little between meals; not at them.

When we say: “do it now”, we mean, like, now. -So think of one food or drink that is good for your brain that you don’t currently ingest and put it on your shopping list –or even better- go and get it. Now think of one thing you eat or drink that is unhealthy for your brain and remove it –you should replace the bad thing with the good thing. For example, remove the tinned fruit in syrup, and add the tinned fruit in juice –or wow, real fruit.

One sign that your diet is improving is that you’ll have less garbage. Most junky foods have lots of junk wrapping too!


Hack the Circulation Highway

You probably know enough about the brain’s needs now to start hacking your diet into one more congenial to health and longevity. Arguments about what constitutes a ‘good’ diet rage constantly in both scientific circles and the general public. The diet we recommend here; the ‘GI’ [Glycaemic Index; not Ground Infantry]  :  )  diet, comes with a caveat –no diet is ‘good’ for everyone. You will have to tweak your nutrition specifically to suit your own needs, and that may mean doing some research for yourself.

If you’re just starting the GI diet you may find that you lose weight. Don’t worry; this won’t continue unless you are overweight. Your metabolism will settle down and the only weight lost will be excess.


 

Input Control for N4 & N5

Psychological & Cognitive techniques

Can be useful for reducing anxiety and can help with getting rid of bad habits.

Within the huge assortment of therapies, there are two main traditions, psychotherapy and counseling. The distinction between the two is blurred, because for each type of psychological therapy there is a corresponding form of counseling -(psychodynamic psychotherapy – psychodynamic counseling, cognitive behavior therapy – cognitive behavioral counseling, etc.). In essence, different forms of psychotherapy have evolved to offer remediation of mental health problems and symptoms by structured interventions. Different forms of counseling emphasize the individual’s resources and lifestyle rather than psychopathology, with a focus on a reflective, experiential process. Concerns are rephrased and clarified in order that people may develop a greater sense of well being and cope with life difficulties more productively. There is emphasis on overall mental health promotion rather than ‘treating disorders’. 

You can find out more about Psychoanalytic therapies, Systemic and family therapy, eclectic therapies, integrative therapy, group analysis, counseling and tons more in the ‘techniques’ section of the library. Cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT] works particularly well if you’ve got a high ‘F’ score for N4 or N5 and a low ‘F’ score for N1&2.


 

Input Control for N3 & N6 

If you Have to Take Medication: Assess the Drugs Cupboard

Everyone experiences illness now and again, and some have to live with chronic conditions. You probably know how feeling ill can affect your mood. Some drugs can also affect your mood, and you should make sure you are aware, if you need to take medication, whether it may affect your brain and consequently your personality, and whether there is a safer alternative.

We often take medication on purpose; if pain is making you feel miserable or irritable you hack it with a simple painkiller, and if you’re feeling too tired and getting grumpy, you may have a coffee or a smoke. What you should remember is, every chemical you put into yourself will affect your own brain chemistry in some way. If you use a particular medication regularly, check out the Drugs and Chemicals section of the files for more information on this. You may be able to find a healthier alternative.

Illness itself obviously affects your mental performance; and mental illness can make you prone to physical problems because it lowers your immunity. Depression makes you more prone to many irritating little problems such as gingivitis, athlete’s foot, aches and pains, acne and mouth ulcers. It’s important to treat things like this immediately they occur, even though you obviously don’t feel like it at the time! Otherwise they can create a vicious circle of problems-depression-problems.

As you progress through this program you will find yourself becoming less anxious, more calm and confident, and more energetic. If you are on long-term medication for anxiety you may find at some point that you can reduce the dosage. You should always inform your doctor if you plan to do this, because some drugs must be reduced very slowly or problems result. Working with your doctor is the best way to go about things as far as that is possible. If you find you can’t work with or be honest with your doctor at all, do yourselves both a favor and get another doctor.


Hack Your Dream Life

We talked about how to make sure you get enough sleep in earlier tutorials, but are you sure you’re getting enough quality dream time? You need at least two hours of dreamtime each night. Try remembering what you dreamed when you wake up each day. If you remember your dreams or at least remember dreaming, you’re probably okay. If you don’t remember your dreams, increase your input of B vitamins for a couple of weeks. If you still don’t remember your dreams, there could be a problem with your memory. We’ll explore what to do about that in a later tutorial, so no worries. Meanwhile, go to your Captain's log and add an extra question beneath the golden rule “If the brain doesn’t get what it needs...” The extra question is: “Am I dreaming enough?”


Useful Hack for Cannabis Users

The reason why long-term dope smokers are renowned for memory loss is due to a side effect of cannabis on brainwave patterns in sleep. Memory loss can be prevented even if you smoke a lot, by making sure you’re not always stoned when you go to sleep, and sleeping for a natural period of time [i.e., so that you wake up naturally without an alarm clock.] This sounds strange because dope makes a lot of people fall asleep, but it’s not sleep that matters here, it’s quality dream-time. We ‘defrag’ memories during REM sleep, and cannabis can prevent us from getting into REM. When we don't get into REM we fail to defrag memories, and recall becomes as difficult as spotting a few zeros in an enormous space filled with random numbers...Unsurprisingly, some of them cannot be found!

If you've been going to bed stoned every night for a while, don't be surprised if you have very vivid dreams for the first night or two that you go to bed not so stoned. If this effect disturbs you, slightly reduce your vitamin B intake for a day or two until it settles down. [No cheese for you tomorrow!] :  )

 

Movies: Take Control of Your Entertainment (Especially good for N3)

Avoiding bad input is important, but the best way to avoid anything crappy is to replace it with something more beneficial. In just the same way, we must replace bad habits with good ones that are still fun.

For this hack, we want you to be a movie & music critic. You can take up to two weeks to complete the hack, but you should not take longer if you wish to reap the most benefits.

Choose three movies from the following list:

  • Apollo 13
  • Batman Begins
  • Blue Streak
  • Braveheart
  • Close Encounters
  • Collateral
  • Contact
  • Crocodile Dundee
  • Demolition Man
  • Demon Seed
  • Drop Zone
  • Entrapment
  • ET
  • Galaxy Quest
  • Hackers
  • Indiana Jones 1, 2 or 3
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • Lord of the Rings 1, 2 or 3
  • Mission :Impossible II
  • Star Trek 4 or 6
  • Star Wars 4, 5 or 6
  • Terminal Velocity
  • Terminator 2
  • The Abyss
  • The Blues Brothers
  • The Bourne Identity
  • The Fifth Element
  • The Last Samurai
  • The Matrix
  • The Net
  • The Rock
  • Total Recall
  • True Lies
  • X-Files:The Movie

 

  1. Watch each of the three movies on separate occasions whenever you have time. Try to do so alone, and have your Captain's log with you (don’t worry, you don’t have to write much!)
  2. After watching each one, you are going to vote on the following things:
  3. What character in the movie [not actor -fictional character] had the most physical strength?
  4. What character in the movie had the most physical endurance?
  5. What character in the movie looked the healthiest? [Not sexually attractive –physically healthy.]
  6. What character made the most sensible decisions in the story?
  7. How did the movie make you feel when you were watching? Excited? Bored? Horny? Thoughtful? Adventurous? Inspired? Tired? Energetic? Amused? Disgusted? Happy? Sad? Confused? Confident? Emotional?
  8. Did you really like the music in the movie? Can you remember any of it well enough to whistle the tune?
  9. Did you think the style of music fitted the events really well, or did it distract you sometimes from the story.

 

Note down these answers for each movie you watch.

After this you should try to watch at least one movie of your own choice every week. Don’t just be spoon-fed whatever crap is on TV –choose your own input. Pick the things that leave you feeling energized, calm but alert, not worn out. Beneficial input should increase your energy without making you jumpy, like martial arts do. Things that make you laugh are good for you too.

Consider how the characters behave in each movie, and whether you would want to behave in similar ways. If you find characters who are portrayed in the movie as ‘goodies’ but who are behaving stupidly, don’t watch the movie. Always watch stuff that inspires you to improvement, never stuff that drags you into apathy.

Your brain expects you to feed it input of good examples of how to behave. What are you giving it examples of if you let it watch stupid behavior, live or on TV?

If you’re in the habit of watching crap TV because you’re bored, turn it off and do something else that’s more beneficial for your mind. People fail to realize how much their intelligence can be reduced by whatever crap they’re viewing, not knowing that the brain unconsciously takes it all very seriously and tries to copy it!

Always choose examples of characters you respect and would want to emulate, in all areas of entertainment and in your real life. Don’t hang out with a bunch of dummies unless you want to be a dummy too! It’s actually healthier for you to be alone than to be in the company of people who behave in stupid ways. Obviously the best choice is to hang out with the most interesting intelligent people you know!

Taking control of your input now in these small ways is good practice for what is to come. Start making a list in your Captain's Log, of movies and music that improve your mood and behavior, and avoid input that makes you feel sorry for yourself or wallow in sentiment.

 

For All Networks

Helm control through asteroid fields (some important techniques for staying on course while going through changes in awareness, behavior or attitude).

 

Sensual Chill Out - Part 1, The Relaxation Response

With practice, this hack should cause the ‘relaxation response’. Practice the technique once or twice daily, but not within two hours after any meal, since the digestive processes seem to interfere with the elicitation of the Relaxation Response. Best done before sleeping, and don't worry if it causes you to go to sleep at first!

Lie down somewhere comfortable and relax. Turn off the phone, radio and/or TV. 

Close your eyes. Pay attention to any areas of your body that are tense. Breathe calmly and as you breathe naturally out, deliberately relax the tense areas, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face.

Go over them all again and keep them relaxed.

Breathe through your nose if you can, unless it is blocked. Become aware of and listen to your breathing. Each time you breathe out, say the word, "ONE", silently to yourself.

Breathe easily and naturally.

Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace.

When distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them and return to repeating "ONE" silently to yourself.

When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few minutes.

 

If you want to practise this hack and you are on drugs, you should know the following:

1. Benzodiazepines, small amounts of alcohol, nicotine, opiates or cannabis may enable you to achieve your aim more quickly, but it will take longer for you to learn to do it on your own. It’s best to use aids to relaxation only if you need them.  

2. Cocaine, amphetamines, caffeine, sugar, large amounts of alcohol or ‘smart drugs’ will almost certainly slow the process down and may prevent it. These are not good choices for this kind of hack. Alcohol may have sleep-inducing effects, but it prevents REM sleep; this is why alcoholism is so devastating to memory.

3.  Chocolate, cannabis, LSD or sources of phenylalanine [in some drinks and chewing gums] could make you very horny if you do this hack. Don’t blame us if you have to stop for a w***.

 

Sensual Chill-Out - Part 2, Hacking Oxytocin

[If you want to know more about Oxytocin before doing this, there is an article in the files called ‘Oxytocin’, with information for you that we shall not repeat here.]

You can do the following hack together with part one above if you want to. It can speed up your progress, but some people learn faster by doing things separately at first.

Oxytocin is a primary hormone involved in the relaxation response. You can initiate its release in many ways, so you can choose which method you prefer.

If you want a ‘hard take-off’, Oxytocin itself is available as a nasal spray online. It should be administered at the beginning of the ‘relaxation’ hack if you are having trouble naturally relaxing or if you really are that impatient. Don’t get into the habit of using it regularly, because then you’ll become dependent on it for the response, which is not what we’re aiming for here. A cheaper way to cause its release is to eat very small quantities of foods just before the hack that you find very tasty [but not a big meal].

Preferably, oxytocin can be induced by any or all of the following: your favorite smells, soft light, massage, orgasm, or relaxing music.

    Spending time in oxytocin-inducing surroundings is something you can do even if you are not doing the ‘relaxation’ part of the hack, although we recommend the two together for maximum benefit. Basically, pamper yourself  :  )  -And remember that you are doing this for your own health and intelligence, so no feeling guilty about wasting time; time spent on wellbeing is time well spent.


Exercises for Y and Z networks


 

Self Assessment – Fine-Tuning Your Personal Plan

Which parts of networks 1 & 2 do you need to build up?

Look again at the assessment questions for this network [in tutorial 3]. There are four categories examined:

  • Health, fitness and energy
  • Senses and perception
  • Sensory motor skills
  • Timing & rhythm

 

By looking at the types of questions you answered ‘yes’ to, you can see which if any of these areas need working out.

  • Health, fitness and energy are assessed by the questions about your hearing, sight, sense of smell, sex drive, and the amount of care you take of yourself [from grooming and cleanliness to exercise, eating sensibly and making sure you get enough sleep.] If you answered ‘yes’ to these kinds of questions you can ignore the health, fitness and energy exercises; otherwise you should do them.
  • Senses & perception are assessed by the questions about physical contact and the enjoyment of sensation; textures, flavors, sensuality and, perhaps surprisingly, not having a fear of the dark. If you answered yes to these kinds of questions you can ignore the senses and perception exercises; otherwise you should do them.
  • Sensory motor skills are assessed by questions about your sense of balance, fear of heights, gracefulness of movement and ability to learn physical tasks such as sports, horseriding or swimming. If you answered yes to these kinds of questions you can ignore the exercises for sensory motor skills; otherwise you should do them.
  • Timing & rhythm are assessed by questions about your ability to dance, move to music and keep time. If you answered yes to these kinds of question you can ignore the exercises for timing & rhythm; otherwise you should do them.

 

You probably know already in which areas you are lacking. If you’re not sure, you can do all the exercises given below if you want to, but you should particularly do the ones that you find hardest, because if an exercise is particularly easy for you, you almost certainly have a sufficiently functional network for that area.

Most importantly you should do any exercises that you feel uncomfortable about, because the brain tends to feel wary of the unknown, and if a skill is fairly unknown to you or you have tried it before and failed, that is a dead giveaway of an underfunctional bit of network trying to stay as lazy as it has gotten accustomed to being. It will try to stall you with embarrassment or discomfort at first, but let’s put it this way –neurohacking is not for wimps, and you can’t expect to improve your brain if you can’t handle doing a few things you may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about. It’s precisely so that you won’t have to feel that way any more about doing anything beneficial that we are doing all this.

 

Q: We are often asked whether you should set aside a specific time for the exercises/hacks and do them all together, or just randomly whenever you have time.
A: It's up to you. The advantage of setting aside a time is that your brain gets used to it, and that's good, because it's getting used to a new habit, which in itself is practice for doing the hacks. The advantage of doing it randomly is that you can fit exercises in during boring moments such as on a train or when waiting for something, so your brain is kept busy instead of going through boring times. So ultimately, it's down to whatever you feel most comfortable with.

You should do a session of exercises once every day until you notice an improvement in your energy levels. After that, twice a week should be sufficient. Do not do any of these exercises within thirty minutes of eating.


Health, Fitness and Energy

1. Sit comfortably on an upright chair [an office chair will do] or on the floor supported by a cushion under your bum. Relax your shoulders and let your hands rest in your lap. As you breathe out, move your head & neck back but try not to move your shoulders, like a turtle withdrawing its head into its shell. Hold the position for a count of five, breathing normally, then move your head and neck forward again, like a turtle peeping out. Try to keep your face forward as opposed to looking up or down. Do this as many times as it is comfortable, up to five times.

This is a super exercise for people suffering from ‘internet neck’, that stiffness one gets when playing computer games for three weeks at a time, etc. It frees up and relaxes all the tension in muscles and nerves of the neck and shoulders. Neck tension restricts the flow of blood [and consequently glucose] to the brain, causes headaches, and exacerbates eyestrain, so it’s a good idea to use this exercise as a preventive as well as a cure!

 

2. Make a pile of soft things [cushions, pillows, your colleagues] about a foot [30cm] high. Kneel down in front of it and lean forward, resting your tummy on top of the pile and putting your hands on the ground at the other side. When you feel comfortably balanced, lean forward as far as you can and try to put your head between your hands, pushing up with your feet and raising yourself off your knees if you have to.

Do this just once per session.


3. The ‘shoulderstand’ yoga posture is one of the finest exercises for the whole body and brain.

    Even if you can manage to do this for a 30 seconds a day you will notice a pretty immediate improvement in your overall vitality right away. The boost it gives to the cardiovascular system is the main reason [and you will also find it improves your digestion, your complexion, and your balance].

Do this just once per session, increasing the time slowly up to a maximum of three minutes. Rest lying flat on your back for thirty seconds after the exercise, and get up slowly.

 

Senses and Perception

1.       Sit somewhere there is a clear long-distance view; either outdoors or looking out of a window. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, remove them. Hold your finger up in front of your face about a foot [30cm] away.

Stare at your finger for about ten seconds [just count to ten silently] then move the finger aside and look at an object in the distance, even if you cannot see it clearly. Try to focus on it for a further count of ten, then move your finger in front of your face and focus on it for the next count of ten. Repeat this at least twice.

As you get used to this exercise you can increase the number of repeats up to twenty; however, you should always stop as soon as you feel the slightest indication of eyestrain.

If you practise this exercise regularly and you wear glasses or lenses, you may have to change your prescription because your eyesight will improve. Make sure you get regular eye tests to make sure your current prescription is still correct!

 

2.       Sit or lie down somewhere comfortable where you won’t be disturbed. Your task for this exercise is to listen and observe. Close your eyes and relax. Now listen hard. Identify each sound you can hear from the background noise, including the sounds your body is making [do not do this exercise after large amounts of beer and curry].

Once you think you have identified all the sounds, concentrate on the thoughts drifting into your mind and observe whether you seem to think in words, or in pictures, or both, or in some other way. Observe what idle thoughts lead to what other thoughts. After the exercise, write down a few of the thoughts or subjects that you were thinking about in your captain's log.

This exercise will improve your working memory as well as your awareness and perception. You can do it for as long as you like, but it’s best to stop less than ten minutes after you get to the part where you start to observe your thoughts.

 

3.       Find some of your favorite music containing more than one instrument [i.e., not just a ‘solo’ synthesizer, lone guitarist or piano] and put it on. You can wear headphones if you wish. As in the exercise above, sit quietly and close your eyes. Listen to the music attentively. Try to work out which part of the sound is coming from which instrument/s. Obviously any sound made by a singer is easy to separate, but can you tell what other instruments are doing? Which particular instrument makes the sound you like the best? Which instrument is doing the most? Which the least?

Use the same piece of music for the first three times you do this exercise. Then change to a new piece of music for the next three sessions. Do no more than one session per day.

 

Sensory Motor Skills

1.       Stand up and raise one leg, clasping the knee in your hands. Try not to overbalance. Stay in this position for about a minute, then try it with the opposite leg/arm. Note whether you have a side on which it is easier to balance.

Next, close your eyes and see whether it is more difficult to keep your balance. If you like a challenge, have a clock with a second hand ready and see how long you managed to stay on one leg with your eyes closed.  Do this exercise once a day. If you find it extremely easy, move on to the next exercise.

 

2.       Stand up with your hands by your sides. Raise your right foot behind you [like a horse being shod] and try to grab hold of your foot with your opposite [left] hand. Once you can do this, hold onto it and raise your other hand, stretching upwards as far as you can. When you can do this without losing your balance, try it with the opposite leg/arm and then try the ‘eyes closed’ version as above. Do this exercise once a day.

 

3.       Don’t try this before you can do the first two exercises above! Stand upright and raise your right leg in front of you, taking hold of your foot with both hands. Place your foot against your upper left thigh as though it was in a ‘crosslegged’ position. Bend your left leg slightly to allow the foot to rest there without being held. Once you’ve got the hang of this bit, raise both hands above your head and press the palms together. Try this with the opposite leg/arm and then try the ‘eyes closed’ version as above. Do this exercise once a day.

 

Timing & Rhythm

1. You will need a stopwatch or a clock/watch with a second hand. For this first exercise you need space to walk in and you may prefer privacy.

Start your stopwatch or pay attention to your clock. Walk forward, taking only one step every five seconds, for a full minute. As soon as your minute is up, continue walking but take two steps every five seconds, for two minutes. Keep an eye on the watch and try and keep strictly to time.

If you really can't find the space to do this, you can walk 'on the spot' or on a treadmill at the gym, but it is far better to be actually walking, even if around in circles.

Next, try the same technique taking three steps every five seconds. Do this for two minutes.

Do this exercise once or twice a day.

2. You need to be somewhere that you can listen to music. Put some music on; any kind will do. Look at your watch or clock and note the time, then immediately close your eyes. Try to guess when thirty seconds has elapsed and when you think it has, open your eyes and check the watch to see if you are right. Note down how far away your guess was.

Use a different piece of music each time you do this exercise. Once a day is sufficient.

3. Sit facing a table with your hands resting on your knees and your watch or clock on the table in plain view. If you're using a stopwatch, start it now. When 5 seconds have passed, tap your left hand on your left knee just once. When the watch reaches ten seconds, tap your right hand on your right knee once. Continue for one minute.

Next, do it with your feet. On the five-second mark, tap your left foot, on ten seconds your right foot, and so on for another minute. Try to get the taps exactly at the right moment. Do this exercise as often as you like.

If you find this easy, try tapping along with just one hand in time to the clock -one tap per second. Next try alternate hands. Use this exercise instead of the above.

If you can do all this with no problem, try tapping along to some music in the same way. Choose something with a good steady drumbeat that sounds like a clock; not too fast.

 

Other good ways to exercise networks 1&2 into good shape: 

  • Martial arts. Any kind will do.
  • Watching a non-contact sport that you are not familiar with [an easy enough exercise for anybody], live or on TV.
  • Yoga
  • Dancing [even alone]
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Listening to dance music [with no vocals] or classical music [with no vocals] –with the exception of anything called ‘western scale atonal’.

 

 

 



Last Updated on Monday, 29 May 2017 18:10