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Neurohacking - Tutorials
Written by NHA   
Friday, 20 July 2012 21:37
Article Index
Neurohacking Tutorial 9 - Emotional Stability & Unconscious Mind
Structure, Function and Behavior
From Automation to Autonomy
What Happens If Things Go Wrong?
The Unconscious Mind
NHA Guide To Methods and Technology
Getting Into The Garden
The Most Important Bits to Remember
Hacks and Exercices
Notes, References and Answers
All Pages




HACKS - For Emotional Stability and Unconscious Congruity


The First Step Towards Emotional Stability, for Absolute Beginners

…Is anxiety reduction. True emotion springs naturally from a healthy mind freed from anxiety. Emotion is a versatile, flexible and creative tool, like an extra sense, when we are not stuck in sentiment. It gives us the ability to perceive more of the truth, because it is aligned with the real world and is natural, rather than an artificial construct created by false assumptions via distorted perception.

If you’re stuck in sentiment it can seem like nothing will ever change, but the best proof is in practice, because if you start practising full emotion you’ll prove to yourself not only that things can change for the better, but that they do and they have. You can gain a much greater volitional control over what you feel and express, but to do so you have to take a break from constant distractions and hassle. Consider all anxiety-reducing techniques you can find and find the ones most suited to you. Overall, the most powerful seem to be meditation, humor, and input control.


Hacks for improving self control via input and increasing autonomy (freedom of choice in behavior, or 'willpower')

Using golden rule 3 in input control and output control

We already know that input control is an important key for adjusting personality, behavior, health and intelligence. Now that we also know how pervasive simple, everyday influences are you can see why it makes such a big difference when we adjust a lot of little things.

Do you remember our description of input control from tutorial 2?

Changes in the inner environment (your brain chemistry) in response to changes in the overall environment (your context) are what signals the genome. Input control is all about making beneficial changes happen on purpose in that 'inner environment' by manipulating input from the overall environment.

Emotional stability is the first step to emotional autonomy, free will and self control. At this stage in NH we are ready to begin the shift between 'adapting ourselves to fit in with environmental needs' and 'adapting the environment to fit in with our own needs'. By reducing anxiety we have allowed the brain to build the tools for 'adapting' to deal with stressors in a healthier way, and can now use our own behavior to 'change our minds'. We have a selection of NH tools and the knowledge of how to use them to protect ourselves from anxiety during this stage of development. So from this tutorial onwards, we'll also be looking at methods for output control as well as input control.

So far in implementing input control we have focused on ourselves; our habits, our forms of entertainment, our immediate surroundings, our diet, and everything about us. In this tutorial we've taken a look at some contextual things we're all surrounded by -other people- and how to protect ourselves from unhealthy influences, especially unconscious ones.

Obviously, we cannot isolate ourselves for fear of “catching the anxiety virus” because that would limit our cultural interaction to an unhealthy degree. But what we can do is (1) use types of input control that take advantage of this golden rule and (2) begin using output control to help create a relaxing context and avoid unwanted encounters.

Many tricks include both: for example if you sit alone and appear not to be doing very much in crowded public places like bars, parks or beaches, you are sending out an ancient mammalian body-language message that you're 'available for communication'. This attracts others to approach you, especially if you're looking around bored, so if you are stuck in a place where you notice a large number of stressed-out people are around, do something to engage your attention (for example, read a book, play with your ipad, do a crossword, doodle on paper, put on headphones). As well as distracting your own attention into helpful input, you are automatically distracting attention away from yourself -strangers are less likely to approach you if you're busy doing something, and to anxious strangers you are also less of a threat.

With a small bit of forward planning you can always have something about your person (even if its only your own mind) to 'pass the time' if present company is unwholesome. Remember too that it's repetition which signals the genome and makes habits become automatic, so one-off sojourns in anxious company are not very harmful.


Listen to the music

Here are some neurotransmitters and the emotions/colloquial terms they are associated with:

  • Serotonin – comfort, happiness, calm, ("laid back")

  • Dopamine – desire, lust, excitement, fun, ("hot")

  • Oxytocin - friendship, warmth, cameraderie, trust ("friendly")

  • Acetylcholine - focused, inspired, creative, light-hearted ("In the Zone")

  • Norepinephrine –Self esteem, confidence, pride ("cool")

  • Endorphins - joy, bliss, fulfilment, ("blissed out")


Consider your music collection. What sort of music do you associate with these moods and emotions? Listen to some of your favourite tracks and decide which category they fall into by what sort of moods they inspire.

You may have already discovered that you can hack your mood with music, movies and radio. Once you know what sort of music inspires different moods for you, you can use this information to fine-tune your personal plan.

Make a music collection that includes all the categories above. Use the NH tools that you already have at your disposal –music and movies are cheaper than drugs and have fewer side effects!


Talking the talk

Our own thoughts are input too. Our mind can hear what we say, including in our mind. This is “talking the talk” and it's all a part of walking the path as well as knowing the path. Talk to your own unconscious. Reassure it and remind it of the truth; that our own thoughts are not anxious, that we are aware of how others can affect us, and we understand that we're going to feel a little tense and must actively practice remaining relaxed in these circumstances.

Your mind hears you and listens to you and thinks your words are very important (why should it not?) and this is a good example of being able to use strong networks to help balance weak ones. Most westerners have a strong N5 and a predisposition to logic and rationality, so let's use it to our advantage by reminding N3 of what we know. This is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is a great tool if you have strong front nets.

We can use it whenever we are aware of changes in our behavior which have a clear reason. For example, if we trip or overbalance when drunk, we don't think there's anything wrong with us because we know very well how our biology is affected by that drug, even though we may not know the chemistry details. If we start overbalancing all the time when not drunk, we get concerned because that's a checksum error; the brain doesn't know what's going on.

It's good that we are sensitive to our surroundings, because it indicates our unconscious awareness is developing its valuable warning system telling us when we need to assert systems-control. The moment we notice any change in how we feel when around anxious or aggressive behavior, we can remind our mind why it's happening. We can explain the checksum error to our unconscious mind exactly as we do when falling over drunk: "Take extra care to maintain balance here, because we're under chemical influences".

Tell your unconscious what's going on. If you see anxious behavior, think “they're doing that because they're anxious, I'm glad I don't behave that way”. If you start feeling anxious around people, remind your brain that you're picking up their pheromones and that it's okay to calm down. Take a few slow deep breaths to help your physiology readjust your heart rate and slow cortisol production. Tell your unconscious "It's okay; this is not my problem".

It may sound strange that you can talk to your own brain and be understood by the unconscious parts, but this is true. It's simply “input” and it's treated as part of the incoming data about 'what's going on'. All you are doing is sending the message “problem explained! -cancel red alert; it's okay”, and as you develop this habit your unconscious will learn to comply without needing to know why, because it trusts you absolutely. So take care of it, and don't let it get ambushed by anxiety.

You can increase the percentage of input from yourself in ANY situation.

We're not suggesting that you should talk aloud to yourself (although you can in private if you like). Unconscious information is received whenever you think the thoughts; whenever you imagine the images. This means thought alone can be used as a defensive strategy.

Association, imagination and memory are all affected by emotion and mood. If you become aware that you are for some reason feeling "in a bad mood", you can plan a strategy for deliberately changing it via input control, for example: stop what you are doing and take a break, eat something nutritious, get sleep if you need to, occupy your mind with funny or interesting things until it can get 'off the subject' of your annoyance. Give your mind time to assimilate all the unconscious information it has collected in short term memory. Use the relaxation response. Developing self awareness (knowing how your own chemistry works and what unbalances it) is important at this stage.

We are NOT 'at the mercy of' our moods; we are responsible for them. Just like you probably have strategies for getting rid of an unpleasant headache, so we can have strategies for getting rid of an unpleasant mood.


various options for input and output control

Use your face: Our own facial expression tells our brain and other people's how seriously to take input and what sort of chemicals to respond with. Use a mirror and pictures of the basic emotions (in this tutorial, above) to model the facial expressions of healthy emotions. The signals your face sends to your brain will encourage the growth of healthy emotion response networks, and you will more automatically use them in appropriate social situations.

Use your body: Our posture can make others (and ourselves) feel unconsciously more or less anxious. Deliberately look out for and interrupt any unconscious habits of modeling the behavior, postures or verbal accents of anxious people when you're with them -remind yourself of, and take care to maintain, your own posture and your own voice, and remain aware of the volume and speed of your speech.

'Smelling' of oxytocin spreads goodwill to all humans, but can make you gullible, especially if NE is high. DIY sex or massage before an attractive encounter will make you 'smell' more attractive and less anxious during that encounter (but do wash your hands before making the gourmet meal).

Doing things that you enjoy with accompanying smells will increase your sensitivity of the smells themselves and augment the experience with higher resolution memory. A massage with natural flowers in the room will make you release more serotonin and oxytocin. Lovemaking with flowers in the room has similar effects on dopamine.

Be aware, and take responsibility for your own attention. Recognize what's really going on around you and remind yourself of it: Sometimes even just realizing that someone else around you is anxious can prevent you from modeling them.

By now we should be increasing conscious awareness of unconscious systems such as attention, and taking responsibility for what we pay it to. We can hack automation by various means and one of the best is the noble art of ignoring things. Go to places that have a TV on and practice NOT paying any attention to it. Behave as if it isn't there. Deliberately focus your attention on things such as: who is the healthiest looking person in the room? Who is the most interesting-looking person in the room? Whose clothing is the most aestheticallly pleasing? Who is the noisiest person in the room? Where are the nicest combinations of colors in the room? Where is the light and shadow effect most pleasing in the room? Can you remember when you first came here? What was your first impression of this place? Was it accurate? Has this place been here for a long time, or a short time? If you owned this place, what would you do with it? Where is the nearest natural scene? What is the best item or activity available to you in this place?

By occupying your own attention in these ways, it will get used to being directed by your conscious mind rather than wandering about undirected responding automatically to everything the eyeballs turn towards. Do not be a robot! Take responsibilty, because that gives you respond-ablity.

Anxious people routinely employ sentimental imagery in the media and even during ordinary social interactions to attempt to bias the decisions of others. This 'subliminal advertising' can be done the other way round: visual scenes such as smiling and attractive faces, natural surroundings, lighting effects, music, creativity, sensory enhancement, chemicals, meditation, appetizing foods, comedy, fantasy, scents, nature documentaries, new ideas and beautiful pictures can all evoke strong healthy emotions in ourselves and those around us.

In media, take responsibility for being 'programme controller' for yourself instead of taking your input from whatever is being pushed at you. Don't use the radio or TV just to 'make a noise'. If you need to go to a public place where screens and adverts are everywhere, train yourself to be able to NOT look at them. Focus your attention on the most aesthetically pleasing object in the room, then search for other wholesome visual input. Make it a habit to always seek out the most wholesome thing in every environment and circumstance. That way even in bad circumstances you are still getting some good input, an it also teaches you which are the most 'deprived' and which the most 'enriched' places to hang out.

Learn how to entertain yourself; plan an evening as though you were inviting your double round for a good time, then live it. If you have to wait in a boring place, play mental games to pass the time using only your mind, for example using your memory, imagination or intellect.

Who we are today is largely the result of what input we have experienced in the past, but that doesn't matter, because who we are tomorrow is largely the result of what input we are providing for our own experience today. The best way to assure success in the future is to construct it in the here and now.

Behavioral control

We are developing a powerful interface with our unconscious computer. All we have to do is build that interface, and the computer will solve all the problems and avoid all the bullets. We build that interface by interaction between conscious and unconscious processes, and that means practicing directing normally unconscious processes.

Remember, we can express things to others' unconscious awareness in just the same way they can to ours: by the unconscious messages in our own behavior and chemistry. If others are 'surrounded by you' frequently enough and your input is good, they will automatically improve.

We'll learn more about this in the next tutorial when we explore the core conditions for interaction. (If you want to know more before going on, read “Interaction and core conditions: the basics” in the Basics section of the Library).


hacks for improving congruity and communication between unconscious & conscious awareness

lucid dreaming

Lucid Dreaming is consciously being aware within your dream.

Studying your dreams can teach you many things about yourself. The state of dreaming can arguably be viewed as the ultimate form of meditation. Dreams bring your unconscious mind to the forefront, and can convey unconscious knowledge about your health, relationships, and other matters. For example, they may offer symbolic images that tell you about biological processes going on inside your body, and what you need to do to stay healthy.

When you are dreaming and you become conscious that you are dreaming you can start to control your dreams. It can be an exhilarating experience, and the feeling of euphoria after your first few lucid dreams can last for days. To start remembering your dreams try this simple technique -- Keep a dream journal. Even writing a few short sentences about your dream is enough. This will get you into the habit of remembering your ordinary dreams and to start looking for dream signs within your dreams.

Next, pick out dream signs. A lot of your ordinary dreams will have objects or people in them that could act as a cue to becoming lucid in your dreams. Choose an easily-remembered one that you can use as a reminder that you're dreaming. Whenever you see it in a dream, your unconscious can be trained to give you lucid awareness whilst still dreaming.

Working from themes or symbols that have occured in your own sleeping dreams is often most productive here. Refer to the 'basics/ details/ idea' document.

If your images are irrelevant, erratic, unfocused, confusing and generally not getting anywhere it may be useful to start off by 'entering' an imagined archetypal scene.

The scene should, as far as possibe, be emotionally neutral in itself so that the dream activity that evolves out of this scene relates to current feelings in your mind rather than associations with the scene. A meadow, hill or brook are usually suitable. (check that the scene you chose doesn't have any strong associations for you.) Then once you have got yourself into the dream it should take over and develop naturally.

To be consciously aware in your dream world means you have to be conscious and aware in your waking world, so high anxiety will prevent lucid dreaming. Being consciously aware means looking around you in the here and now and being aware of what you see, feel, hear, smell and touch and able to think about it. If you start to consciously focus more often on awareness in the world around you, you will carry this ability over into the dream world.

Ask yourself right now ‘Am I dreaming?’. Your obvious answer is to say no, of course you are not dreaming. How do you know? Try and think about why and how you know you are not dreaming. This again will carry over into your dreaming world and your unconscious will start asking the same questions in your dreams.

The unconscious is very suggestible. Many people have their first lucid dream simply by reading an article like this about it. You might find that you become over-excited at first and lose the lucid dream, however, your first lucid dream will be remembered for years to come. By far the best technique for overcoming anxiety at the surprise of finding yourself aware that you are dreaming is calming yourself down with self suggestion and hypnotic scripts (see below). If you find that you are losing your lucidity, you can talk to yourself to calm yourself down and just start noticing the things around you in your dream. Hypnotic scripts encourage you to look at details and this focuses your mind on staying lucid.


inducing hypnagogic experiences

Hypnagogic experiences can be induced in a number of ways, from sensorimotor tricks such as holding up one of your arms as you go to sleep, to using tech to induce alpha or theta states which are subjectively similar to sleep onset. [111]

More complex methods include forms of sensory deprivation or enhancement, the use of techniques like meditation to "hover on the edge of sleep" thereby extending the duration of the hypnagogic state, self-suggestion, and training yourself in the art of introspection to heighten observation and attention while relaxing front networks.

Most of these are also hypnosis techniques, so read on...



Hypnosis is one of those methods that is both a hack and an exercise! We'll include self-hypnosis techniques in these practical sections from now on.

In tutorial 2 we outlined briefly some benefits of self-hypnosis. It's way more effective than getting someone else to do it -simply because with a stranger involved, the unconscious feels more stressed and often suspects coercion. This is why many people can't 'be hypnotized' by others, and we recommend self-hypnosis as being a lot easier for this reason.

Before doing anything it's always useful to know what it is, so let's shift our concept of hypnosis associations away from 'you are feeling sleepy' and stage magicians and pendulums and old horror movies. Hypnosis is simply the focused, relaxed use of imagination-based abilities. It is the beginning of 'self-programing' for many and as such their gateway to self awareness and self control.

Hypnosis is one of the most effective methods for inducing interaction between unconscious and conscious awareness, because it induces the brain chemistry that correlates with the first stage of COMP VC.

If we couldn't 'go into hypnosis', we wouldn't be able to learn, to sleep, or to get ourselves anxious by doing 'negative self hypnosis'. (You know when you imagine things going wrong and it makes you feel anxious? Well that's hypnosis!) When you are 'hypnotized', you are just really relaxed and focused; you have achieved the relaxation response chemistry, and added CNS ACh.

That's the state of 'concentration' in COMP VC; the perfect chemistry to begin learning, as we are fearless, comfortable and receptive. It is important to learn that hypnosis isn't like being asleep - we can be aware of everything around us, just like when we meditate (in fact the two states are nearly identical). In hypnosis, we simply have a stronger focus on input, plus wonderful deep relaxation.

We never try to 'tell ourselves what to do' in hypnosis. As in any other context, coercion slows us down and gets in the way. We need the unconscious to work with our conscious minds because it wants to, because it feels safe and it knows from experience that's the most beneficial thing it can do. And its fun. Exercises in self hypnosis give it that experience.

The intelligence factors we are using in self hypnosis are attention, orientation, association and imagination, plus our ability to initiate the relaxation response. When we go into hypnosis, we simply get very involved with an inner reality, and we create this involvement, this focus, by drawing attention to detail in an interesting way. This is not just about creative imagination or data-mining our memory, it's about controlling our attention - learning how to get it focused on one or several things.


We use various tools in hypnosis that make it easier for interaction and communication between conscious and unconscious awareness. The most helpful ones to learn to use first are hypnotic 'scripting' (HS) and the six 'hypnotic language/thought patterns' that are useful in programming:

  • Universal Nominalizations (UN)
  • Embedded 'commands' (EC)
  • Metaphor and analogy formats (M/A)
  • Illusory choice algorithms (ICA)
  • Presupposition algorithms (PA)
  • Adjunctive suggestions (AS)


To be good at hypnosis we need to practise using these tools until they are familiar and easy. We'll give examples of how to use them in this and the next few tutorials.


Universal Nominalizations (UN)

UNs are words whose specific meaning is personally interpretable (unlike words such as 'head', 'mathematics', or 'tree' that have specific formal scientific definitions). Using UNs in hypnotic scripts tends to grab unconscious attention and to focus us inwardly.

UNs are words that tend to evoke emotion and imagination, and can be used against us by unscrupulous people (and are every day in the advertising industry, by professional interrogation teams, and by all political and religious leaders.) You'll start to notice how others fall unconsciously into using them if they get confused (or are trying to confuse you), but like many other tools they can be used for our benefit in healthy ways.

Sentiment-related words like 'worry', 'guilt' and 'shame' are UNs too, and unfortunately they tend to encourage inner searches just as efficiently laced with anxiety. That's why we avoid sentiment terms in hypnosis. Instead of saying, "I felt worried" we replace it with something like "I felt less confident". Instead of saying "I felt angry" we say "I felt less amity" or "I felt less empathy". It is important to use positive nominalisations during hypnosis, rather than 'the absence of negatives'. For example, "A pleasant memory came to mind" rather than "No nasty memories came to mind".

Of all hypnotic language/thought patterns, UNs are one of the most important to learn about.

The first stage in self-hypnosis is the relaxation stage and if you can't achieve the relaxation response you won't achieve self-hypnosis (and you shouldn't be doing intermediate tutorials).

Those who have got this far will already have their own favorite methods for inducing the RR, so we begin with that.

The next time you deliberately initiate the relaxation response, focus on the experience and sensation of gently directing your mind to create a restful state of internal calm. This is the same method you will use for self-hypnosis, so that's where we start.

When we are in a state of relaxation, we induce an hypnotic state by drawing attention to details of an experienced event. The idea is to 'create a VR scene' in our mind.

We use UNs in hypnotic scripting to develop the most important hypnotic ability -the ability to recreate concept-sets consciously within the mind.


Try this exercise: (you will need somewhere comfortable to sit or lie and some way of writing things down.)

Invoke a pleasant memory of an experience you have already had; something relaxing such as a holiday, a cool place you have really been to, or something you have enjoyed doing. Instead of just recalling this as 'walking in the forest' or 'sitting by the lake', break the experience down into the separate components of experience and write down what you remember seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling (tactile sensation) and mood (emotion) in the event you are describing, incorporating the experience into a dialogue (like a story) and associating as many UNs as you can with your experience, from those in the list below:


Universal Nominalizations (UNs):

Peace Calm Relax Tranquility Easy Nice Pleasant Peaceful Relaxation Strength Lovely Special Wonderful Deep Amazing Comfortable Warm Cool Drift Float Dream Fantastic Enjoyment Sleepy Gentle


To help you, here's another student's example:

"We went to a lovely forest on Jersey Island, there was a deep, deep ravine with a fantastic view all the way down and a wonderful slim bridge across the gap. I stood on the bridge in the pleasant semi-shade and felt an amazing special calm and tranquility. I could see lovely shades of green with flashes of color, in trees and plants everywhere around. There was almost silence, behind me the gentle drift of dream-like voices, ahead the peaceful sounds of nature, leaves drifting and floating by on either side in the warm breeze, comfortable on my skin, smelling wonderfully of pine resin and flowers. The lovely taste of strawberries was still in my mouth as we'd eaten some. I felt relaxation and strength, all at the same time."


...we count 23 UNs in this example.

Words, even silently in our minds, can evoke an experience. When you're building up an hypnotic experience, you're looking to use all the components of experience. Read back your story, imagining yourself in the same situation now, then 'zoom in' on one detail and think of more associated details. For example, in the story above, what position is the body in, what sort of other things are there to be seen? What is the texture of the ground beneath or objects in the hands? What sort of clothing is being worn? What is overhead? What other colors make up the landscape? What other sounds form an ambient backdrop? Analyse the details of what makes up a particular taste or texture or sound.

Now write this second part down, incorporating it into the dialogue and using UNs as before.

This is a basic hypnotic script. The next stage is to either record your script and play it back to yourself, or ask an assistant to read it to you in a calm, peaceful voice, immediately after you have achieved the relaxation response. As you listen, you will drift away from the immediate environment and start to focus on the scene in your imagination. Look at each detail and notice how memory 'goes searching' for associations. Noticing the details in surroundings and in our own body deepens relaxation, and UNs interspersed in the contents tend to increase this capacity for this inner search.

If you do this exercise regularly, you will achieve an hypnotic state.


Embedded 'commands' (EC)

Rather than be too direct when doing hypnosis, this hypnotic language/thought pattern allows us to be more subtle in imparting interactive instructions. If we want the unconscious to listen carefully, for example, we could say: "Listen carefully", or we could say "When we listen carefully, we tend to remember much more."

By saying this, we have not only given the instruction, 'listen carefully’, but also put it within a context that gives the unconscious mind a compelling reason to do so.

When read aloud, the embedded command ('listen carefully') should be emphasized or spoken slightly differently to the rest of the sentence to 'mark it out' so that the unconscious mind is more likely to pick it out.

Here is an example of an hypnotic script containing embedded commands:


UPPER CASE = Universal Nominalization

Underlined = Embedded Suggestion

"You can go into hypnosis with eyes open or eyes closed, but it may well be more COMFORTABLE just to take a moment to close your eyes right now. And the interesting thing is that when you begin to relax deeply, the flow of blood in the body is altered. When a person becomes tense, blood tends to leave the stomach and go into the major muscle areas and people can develop digestive problems but when you RELAX, quite often parts of the body feel warmer. The hands can feel warmer sometimes and blood flows into the hands and the stomach often begins to function in a very NICE, EVEN way as you begin to RELAX. Now what you can do, is just to take a few seconds now to imagine the sort of place where you could be at this time on listening to this where you’d be BEAUTIFULLY, NICELY, PEACEFUL and RELAXED. The sort of place that can give you the space in your mind, to really learn and discover the new ways of doing and being in your life."


IMPORTANT!: When you record hypnotic scripts, do not listen to them when your conscious attention is employed (for example using machinery or driving).

There will be more self hypnosis exercises in the next tutorial.


hacks to help you build up strong congruity in association & imagination

Data mining & coding

You need either your neurohacking diary and a pen, or a (small) computer. You’ll have to carry it with you for a while so try to make it light.

Prepare a spreadsheet or note page as follows: create three columns, the first two of which are only about 3cm/1" wide each.

Label the leftmost column ‘Basics’, the central column ‘Details’ and the right hand column ‘Idea’.

Carry this document with you as you go about your daily life. Whenever you have an idea, you should make a note of it.

What do we mean by ‘an idea’? Well, it might be, “Hey, I haven’t eaten Chinese food for ages; I’ll have some tonight!” It may be, “Ah, I wish I’d said such-and-such a thing to so-and-so in that argument with John at work today.” Or it may be, “Wouldn’t it be great if someone wrote a computer game about giant lobsters?” Many ideas crop up in our everyday thoughts all the time.

But this is not just a simple record of thoughts. The ‘Basics’ column is where you list the 'overall subject' of your idea; the examples here would be ‘Food’, ‘Argument’, and ‘Game’. The basics will be big concepts associated with many thoughts.

The Details column is for the details, in this case ‘Chinese’, ‘John’, and ‘giant lobsters’.

The last column is for the actual idea. Don’t write in lots more details, just one or two sentences at most.

You can collect as many ideas as you like, but about a week is a good length of time. After a week, look through your list of ideas. Ignore the actual ideas themselves; just look at the 'Basics' column. Scan the list for recurring subjects.

For each recurring subject, begin a new page. Title the top of the new page with the subject, then make 3 columns as before.

Transcribe (or cut/paste) the ideas from the first set of sheets onto their relevant pages, but instead of naming the ‘subject’, number them instead. The second and third columns will be exactly the same. Now you have subject-specific sheets for recurring subjects. Once you have subject-specific sheets, you can collect your ideas there instead.

You need about three weeks’ worth of ideas to move on to looking for patterns. To do this, think about how the ideas connect with each other. Look at what subject your unconscious pays the most attention to (it will be the biggest subject list). Think about what you might be paying too much attention to! Think about what inspires you… Look for associations.

If you kept your lists well, some things will become apparent to you straight away. We may be surprised at the things we discover, once we realize what we spend most of our time thinking about!

What’s the point? In much the same way as keeping a dream diary improves your dream recall, keeping an ideas diary improves your strategic thinking and your awareness of unconscious content. Your mind ‘gets the hang’ of what you appear to want from it and begins to associate ideas for you in the same way that you associate them in your notebook.

If you then pay more attention to creative or logical thoughts, more of them will occur to you. Doing this exercise properly can really make you consciously aware of the plasticity of your brain, and you’ll begin to get a glimpse of some of the things you will be able to do with it as you start to direct that.


Improving sensorimotor association & balance

Tune into your body

Take a minute out and sit very still. Now, place your hands on the arms of the chair or the desk in front of you, and try to focus your attention on counting your heartbeats. Can you feel a throbbing drum beat, a sense of vibration, or nothing at all? How does your bladder feel? Is it empty or will you need to visit the bathroom soon? How relaxed are you -particularly in the back and shoulder areas?

You may be surprised to learn that tuning in to these bodily sensations is helping you think. Recent discoveries about mind-body connections have overturned the view of the body as a passive vehicle driven by the brain. Instead there is more of a partnership, with bodily experiences playing an active role in your mental life. The brain cannot act independently of the body. Tune in to the body's signals like this, and you can exploit the association to improve your creativity, memory and self-control.


Find out if you have a sensory orientation bias.

Nobody is totally left- or right-handed, but most people have a dominant hand. The degree of dominance for different tasks varies and will tell you about the degree of density of the sensorimotor networks associated with each hand. These exercises will show you the degree of dominance.


1. Screw up three balls of A4 paper and make a 'target' on the floor [masking tape on carpet is great] with an inner square of about a foot [30cm]. Sit opposite your target, about 12 feet away. Try and land the paper balls in the target square, first throwing with one hand, then the other. Measure how close each ball got after the throw and note which hand did best.

2. Using a stopwatch, measure how long it takes you to write out the alphabet with one hand and then the other.

3. Get some lined paper. Draw a horizontal line between two of the lines all the way across the page, first with one hand, then the other. Count how often your line touched the sides for each hand.

4. Get a pair of tweezers, a box of matches and a stopwatch. Measure how long it takes you to remove all the matches from the box one at a time with the tweezers, using first one hand and then the other.

5. Now measure how long it takes you to get them back in, by the same method.


Now you can calculate your sensory orientation. Which hand won, overall?

If they were both about the same, you can ignore the 'sensory orientation & balance' exercises in the section below. If you found you had a strongly dominant hand, you should do them.


Verbal learning memory booster

memory can be boosted by taking a brief wakeful rest after learning something verbally new, and that memory lasts not just immediately but over a longer term.

"Boosting new memories with wakeful resting." July 23rd, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-07-boosting-memories-resting.html




Exercises for sensory orientation and balance (to improve congruous association of sensory motor & spatial networks).

You need to concentrate on the hand that GOT THE LOWEST SCORES in the hacks section tests above.


1. For an ongoing 'balancing' exercise for networks 1 & 2, use your non-dominant hand to write out a simple sentence of your choosing [between ten and fifteen words is best] once a day. Time it. When your non-dominant hand is as fast as your dominant hand, just practise this exercise once or twice a week.


2. This is an exercise that can strengthen neural connections and even create new ones.

Switch the hand you are using to control the computer mouse or track pad. Use the hand you normally do NOT use.

What do you notice?

Does your brain assume that directions are 'the other way round'?

Is it harder to be precise and accurate with your motions?

Do you feel like you did when you were first learning to tie shoelaces?

If you are feeling uncomfortable and awkward don’t worry, your brain is learning a new skill.

Try other neural building and strengthening exercises with everyday movements. Use your opposite hand to brush your teeth, dial the phone or operate the TV remote. Try drawing simple shapes (eg square, triangle, circle), letters of the alphabet, and numbers with the non-dominant hand.


3. Engage different senses

Try to include one or more of your senses in an everyday task

Get dressed/undressed with your eyes closed (don't do this one in the office).

Share a meal with a friend and use only visual cues to communicate. No talking. -Do you find you make eye contact more?


4. Combine two senses:

Listen to music and smell flowers, perfume or incense

Listen to the rain and tap your fingers

Watch clouds and play with modeling clay at the same time


5. Break routines:

Go to a regular destination by a new route

Eat with your 'opposite' hand

Get your food from somewhere different


6. Close your eyes. Now, with eyes completely shut, use your other senses to hone in on a specific familiar object. Whether it's the front door, the coffee pot or your shoes, use only your other senses to find your way to it. By facilitating spatial memory, sense of smell and touch, the brain is automatically associating nerve pathways and allowing cells that fire together to wire together.


7. Break the Regimen. Change your daily routine by simply adding or subtracting components from usual activities. A good example of this would be to have a family member or friend accompany you while you work. Or better still, do something you normally wouldn't do - e.g., go to the park instead of the mall; walking somewhere as opposed to driving there.


exercises for improving self control/ autonomy ('willpower') via input

looking at addictions

People tend to know consciously when they are addicted to smoking or drinking or gambling.

The most common examples of harmful unknown addictions are sugar, TV, noise, money, sleeping pills, constant company, and material possessions.

Now consider: is anything on this list an essential biological need that we are born with?

Imagine yourself on a remote beautiful island where there is plenty of food and water and a friendly tribe of fun people, who really like you. Think about it...in this situation, if any of the items on the above list were taken away, would you experience 'severe trauma'? How would you feel about the prospect of never getting it again?

Is there anything not on the list that you would experience trauma leaving behind?

Now imagine some people you already know and like are transported there with you. They could be family members or friends. Consider how each one of them would cope in that situation without the stuff in the above list. What other activities or items do you think they might have trouble doing without.

How easily would your companions adapt to the new situation? Chances are you find yourself thinking things like, "Well, so-and-so would be fine as long as there weren't any snakes", or "That person would only be happy if there were loads of hot girls", or "This person would go mad without access to burgers/ TV/ baseball". You could probably also assess who would settle down and adapt the fastest, and the effect that the behavior of some of you would have on the behavior of the others.

Now imagine someone you respect (factual or fictional) in the same situation. How easily would they adapt? Do you think it's their personality and attitude or their physical behavior or their neurochemistry that would help or hinder them?

Thought exercises like this help us empathize with people's similarities as well as differences, and they also help us to get a perspective on our own addictions and to 'know ourselves'. That helps us to look in the right areas for healthier input as replacements for neurodegenerative habits.

If you suspect you may be addicted to anything that's getting in the way of independence, hack it. Self control is not about stopping ourselves from doing things; it is about choosing to do things and interactively directing the flow of our lives.


Exercises for practising healthy emotions and making congruous association between emotions and events

Don't do these all in the same session! One at a time is best, or one in the morning and one in the evening at most.

Every time you genuinely laugh, you're helping yourself move towards or stay in the green zone. Levity, or 'mirth' is a core emotion. It's a good one to start with, because most of us already know what it feels like to experience amusement. Plus you can always ask a friend to tickle you.

Learn what things you can think about, listen to, watch or read that make you laugh, and DO your NH -pay attention to them. Your mission is to make yourself laugh and WHILE LAUGHING, think to yourself "This is levity" (or whatever name you have chosen.) Pay attention to the way you feel when you laugh, bodily, mentally, and associate it all with the name you have chosen for this experience. Also remind yourself that this is causing the release of healthy transmitters.


Q: Can you remember what they are likely to be?

Clues: Consider which network is most active when you're amused, and what transmitters are associated with this behavior.

This chemical helps us feel focused but relaxed, and motivates us to 'stay on target'.

A: If you got 'Acetylcholine', good for you. Due to different cascades in varying circumstances other transmitters likely to be released are oxytocin and serotonin. If you got both of those, laugh it up some more.


Next, go for comfort/happiness/pleasure: practice identifying and invoking sensory pleasure in yourself and learn how to make your body feel nice and your surroundings feel comfortable. Consider what your favorite tastes and textures are, what music helps you feel relaxed and chilled out, what sort of activities leave you with a feeling of warm satisfaction. Notice how your behavior can change what emotions you feel. In the same way as you did for levity, deliberately think about the associations between the feeling and the name you have chosen for this emotion.

Explore the many sub-categories of desire including lust, hunger (try fasting all day then eating whatever you like in the evening), excitement (try to find something non-sexual to get excited about. Think of a project you could get excited about), intrigue (think of a puzzle or mystery that you would really like to solve, or something you would love to know about but don't).

Think about people you like and respect, and either are or would like to be friends with. What friendly things can you imagine doing for somebody really cool? Thinking about these behaviors will invoke feelings of amity and friendliness. Spend a while enjoying what it feels like. Notice how different it feels to lust and mirth.

Think of something you know you are good at doing and consider how confidently you behave when doing it. Spend time being proud of yourself for being such a cool dude that you care about your mind and the quality of your life and are taking positive steps to improve it. Consider improvements you have noticed and remember that is the result of YOUR good work, taking care of yourself as all intelligent beings should. This is genuinely-deserved pride, so notice how it improves your self esteem.

Think about the things that give you joy. If you're not sure you've experienced joy yet, imagine being with a whole group of people who love you and respect you, as you do them. Imagine things that you think are beautiful, magical, amazing, mind-blowing and wonderful.

We do not recommend you deliberately practice each networks' hazard-related emotions; disgust, alarm, offense, gravity, uncertainty or grief. Even though these are all healthy emotions, and will be useful later, they cannot assist us at this stage.

First become familiar with the 'growth' related emotions. At the same time, begin looking at your input with a critical eye. When you watch a movie or read a story, what healthy emotions are portrayed?

If you cannot find any, its likely that you've been soaking up examples of sentiment, so review your reading, listening and watching habits -are they encouraging you to behave in foolish ways?


practising healthy emotion via modeling

Choose your partners: by now you should have located some examples of healthy emotion in video & literature media that you have been able to model. Now it's time to use your imagination and abstract this behavior into everyday real life.

As you go about your daily life, it is inevitable that you will witness (and maybe involved in) events that are emotional. Imagine how your role models for healthy emotion would respond in these various situations.

Consider circumstances in your own life that are emotional and ask yourself how your role models would respond. Also think about past events in the same manner. If you see beneficial outcomes, incorporate the behaviors into your own responses.

Next, abstract the characters into fantasy scenarios. Put them through their emotional paces and observe.

Then imagine yourself in these various scenarios and considering what emotions you would expect to feel and how you would respond with healthy emotion in the following situations (remember, you are only allowed to consider healthy emotional responses). If you have difficulty with this exercise, go back to considering how your healthy emotion role models would respond.


Being misunderstood

Someone you like offering a sexual encounter

The death of a loved one

Losing contact with loved ones unexpectedly

Discovering a new activity that is very interesting

Injury or illness (oneself or a loved one)

A generally-unpleasant idiot tells a good joke

Receiving an unexpected great gift from a friend

Being abused or ignored

Becoming a parent (in healthy circumstances)

Excessive demands from others

A challenging problem you seem to be stuck on

Disagreements with allies or loved ones

Someone you don't like telling you that they love you

Lack of experience necessary to do an important task

Making presentations in front of respected allies

A super-nice meal in relaxing circumstances

Getting through boring unproductive and time-consuming incidents

Someone you really love telling you that they love you

Coercion of any kind

An interesting-looking stranger being friendly

Someone you like telling you they don't like you

Stranger on a plane faints and nobody knows what to do

Facing & treating phobias (e.g., morbid fear of the dark, silence, insects, disease, flying, heights, public speaking, chatting with strangers at a party)

Being asked to join something you really want to be part of

Someone you find sexually attractive rejecting your advances

Someone intelligent telling you you're cool

Waiting for medical test results or similar important news

A professional massage from a friend you really trust


Congruous association and trust

We include this as it is a common problem for students to understand the concept of 'trust' if they have been used to using sentiment.

When you have congruous association, trust is a relative concept (that is to say, nobody can be trusted to have competence in all fields and abilities.) We probably know an assortment of people whom we might variously trust to drive a car safely, cook us a good meal or hold on to something important for us without forgetting about it. We may not know anyone we could trust to do safe open heart surgery, helicopter piloting, or bomb-disposal.

Trust has NOTHING to do with morality. You cannot trust me to fly a helicopter because I have no idea how to. I'm not a trustworthy pilot. We trust our brain and body to remember how to walk safely in most terrains. WE may not trust them to be able to do so on craggy ice or in deep sand. These are facts, with no emotional values attached.

Trust is about ability. Can you trust someone to have an ability? Think of six people you know and like. Which of the following things do you think each one is able to do competently? Which ones could you be trusted to do?


Remember to post a letter on a certain day

Write a computer program

Pay attention to what is said

Remember that something is meant to be kept confidential

Keep something confidential

Understand the importance of something to someone else even though it's not important to them

Fly a plane

Design an efficient trap for catching live animals

Arrive at a place at an exact time

Change a baby

Navigate a strange place without getting lost

Remember that they promised to do something

Handle dangerous reptiles

Learn a new dance


Trust is about capability-assessment. Is someone ABLE to keep a secret? Is someone ABLE to fly a plane? Is someone ABLE to copy a procedure? Is someone ABLE to experience genuine emotion? Is someone ABLE to control their emotional expression? Is someone ABLE to interact? The inability to keep a secret or remember something important is a lack of ability, not morality.

If someone is not able to do something, it is not a moral judgement to assume they cannot be trusted to do it safely. If they are, they can. It's important to remove sentimental attachments from the concept of trust, because trust is simply a measure of ability. There are things that none of us could be trusted to do (a professional ballet dance, for example), and that does not mean there is anything wrong with us (unless we're professional ballet dancers). NOBODY is 100% 'trustworthy' because nobody can be competent at dong everything. EVERYONE is 'trustworthy' in the things that they are competent at doing.

To find out what someone can be trusted to do, you need to know them really well. That includes yourself.


Core skills for emotional stability

1. Recognizing healthy emotion

An inability to recognize real emotion leaves us at the mercy of sentiment. Without healthy emotional empathy we are effectively emotionally 'tone deaf'. We need to hunt down and model examples of healthy emotions.

2. Autonomous motivation

Has your 'get up and go' got up and went? Evoking emotions and inspiring ourselves in the pursuit of a goal is essential for paying attention, for self-motivation and for creativity. We should be taking increasing responsibility for how we feel and respond at this stage in NH.

3. Understanding how the emotional system can be hijacked by anxiety

Awareness of how the emotional system works gives us the details of how to interact with it. We have explored this to some extent in this tutorial and will continue to look into it in T10.

4. Practising emotional direction/management

Handling emotions so they are appropriate and interactive is an ability that builds on awareness of how the emotional system works. Emotional self-control, and the ability to delay 'instant' gratification and control impulsiveness, underlie accomplishment of every sort. The ability to soothe oneself, to shake of gnawing anxiety, gloom or irritability are basic emotional abilities that are meant to be a part of natural human intelligence development. It doesn't matter if we've been denied them in the past; we can learn them now.

5. Self assessment -know yourself emotionally

Recognizing a feeling 'as it happens' in real time is the axis of our power in self direction. The better we know your own responses, the better we can direct them in future.

6. Interaction/ handling relationships

This is mainly about skill in understanding and responding effectively to emotions and sentiments in others, and social competence, and we'll be exploring that in tutorial 10.

Each of these domains represents a body of habit and response that with the correct moves can be improved upon, moving from immature action/reaction behavior into more mature and successful interactive behavior.




Much of the research for this tutorial was inspired by online conversations with members of NHA. Many thanks to all of you for great useful feedback and most especially LeScal, for those long long emails and discussions (it was worth it dude!) : )




Last Updated on Thursday, 30 September 2021 17:58