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Neurohacking - Tutorials
Written by NHA   
Friday, 10 April 2009 16:31
Article Index
Neurohacking Tutorial 2 - N1 & N2 + Self Assessment
New Perspective On Mental Health
Sleep and Food
Epigenetics and Input Control
Summary and Exercices
All Pages



The Most Important Things to Remember From This Tutorial


The brain has networks. Intelligence needs them all to function well.

A functional analysis will tell you which networks are strongest and which need upgrading, giving you the basis of your personal NH plan.

The brain structure and all networks are plastic and can be changed, repaired and improved.

What goes in comes out (epigenetics shows that beneficial environments and behaviors improve intelligence).

The main thing getting in the way of development is anxiety.

Start practising anxiety reduction.

Start practising input control.





Hacks for anxiety: the most successful cost-free methods

On a limited budget or prefer to do things the most organic way? Here are some completely free, ecology-friendly anxiety reducing techniques that are most effective for the amount of work and time involved:


Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing is an easy anxiety reducer that has numerous benefits for the body, including oxygenating the blood, which ‘wakes up’ the brain, relaxing muscles and quieting the mind. Breathing exercises are especially helpful because you can do them anywhere, and they work quickly so you can relax in a flash.



Meditation builds on deep breathing, and takes it a step further. When you meditate, your brain begins a kind of functioning that’s similar to sleep, but carries some added benefits you can’t achieve as well in any other state, including the release of certain hormones that promote health. Also, the mental focus on nothingness stops your mind from working overtime and increasing your anxiety level.

(if you want to know more about meditation before going on, read ‘benefits of meditation’ in the methods & tech section of the library)


Guided Imagery

Do your functional analysis first, because this method (and the next two) work well if you have a strong network 3.

It takes a little time to practice guided imagery, but this is a great way to leave anxiety behind and relax your body. Some find it easier to practice than meditation, as lots of us find it more doable to focus on ‘something’ than on ‘nothing’. You can play natural sounds in the background as you practice, to promote a more immersive experience.

The technique is to make up a little story and imagine you are transported to a beautiful place where the weather is fantastic. Fantasize as much as you like, happy in the knowledge that it’s good for your brain. There's only one rule: everything that happens in this place is really cool.



Building on guided imagery, you can also imagine yourself achieving goals like becoming healthier and more relaxed, doing well at tasks, and handling conflict in better ways. Also, visualizing yourself doing well on tasks you’re trying to master actually functions like physical practice, so you can improve your real life performance through visualizations as well!



You can learn self hypnosis if you don’t like the idea of using a hypnotist. Self-hypnosis incorporates some of the features of guided imagery and visualizations, with the added benefit of enabling you to communicate directly with your unconscious mind to enhance your abilities, more easily give up bad habits, feel less pain, more effectively develop healthier habits, and even find answers to questions that may not be clear to your conscious mind! It takes some practice and training, but is well worth it. We’ll be introducing you to self hypnosis during these tutorials.


Physical Exercise

Many people exercise to control weight and get in better physical condition, to become more healthy or physically attractive, but exercise and anxiety reduction are also closely linked. Exercise provides an opportunity to step back from complex situations, as well as a boost to your brain’s blood supply, and gives you a lift via endorphins as well. (if you want to know more about exercise before going on, read ‘the benefits of exercise’ in the methods & tech section of the library).


Progressive Muscle Relaxation

By tensing and relaxing all the muscle groups in your body, you can relieve tension and feel much more relaxed in minutes, with no special training or equipment. Start by tensing all the muscles in your face, holding them tight for ten seconds, then completely relaxing for ten seconds. Repeat this with your neck, followed by your shoulders, etc. You can do this anywhere, and as you practice, you will find you can relax more quickly and easily and help prevent posture problems, reducing tension as quickly as it starts!



You probably already know that sex is a great tension reliever, but have you officially thought of it as an anxiety-relieving practice? Perhaps you should. The physical benefits of sex (including masturbation) are numerous, and most of them work very well toward relieving anxiety. Sadly, many people have less sex when their cortisol levels are high. Learn how to avoid this trap!



Yoga is one of the oldest self-improvement practices around, dating back over 5 thousand years! It combines the practices of several other anxiety management techniques such as breathing, meditation, imagery and movement, giving you a lot of benefit for the amount of time and energy required. There are many accessible books and sites online where you can learn yoga.



The physical activity of digging, pulling and planting can be a great anxiety releaser, your skin absorbs a mood-lightening neurochemical from soil, plus free vitamin D, peace and quiet.

Planting, fertilizing and tending a garden of vegetables, flowers or anything else that grows, can be a wonderfully relaxing pastime, with the reward of delicious organic food, a beautiful bouquet, large quantities of cannabis, really cool interior d├ęcor, or a gorgeous yard to chill out in as well!


These methods all use renewable resources and are good long term choices. Other methods using minimum resources are:



Music therapy has shown numerous health benefits for people with conditions ranging from mild to severe. When dealing with anxiety, the right music can actually lower your blood pressure, relax your body and calm your mind. There are some suggestions of different types of music to listen to, and how to use music in your daily life for effective anxiety management, in future tutorials.


Dancing Alone (singing optional)

Belting out one of your favourite optimistic tunes, either on your own, or with CD backup or a video, can be a great form of anxiety reduction. Dancing releases tension from your body, and singing can therapeutically take your mind off problems and move them onto solutions.


Input Control for Improving the Immune System

Our ability to withstand anxiety-related, inflammatory diseases is associated with our behavior. Behavior that is less exploratory and less communicative can be a sign of high anxiety hormones.

An emerging area of medical science examines the mind-body connection, and how behavior and anxiety contribute to disease. Long-term exposure to cortisol takes a toll on organs. Like any injury, this brings a response from the body's immune system, including the release of key immune chemicals that trigger inflammation in an attempt to begin the healing process. The same process goes too far as part of diseases from rheumatoid arthritis to Alzheimer's disease to atherosclerosis, where inflammation contributes to clogged arteries, heart attacks and strokes.

One current study found that that people who interact more, and in particular those with high "dispositional activity" or involvement in life, have dramatically lower levels of the inflammatory chemical and stronger immunity than those who do not.

You can use input control here and actively engage yourself in life. Join the forum : )

Involvement in life can come in many forms. Even if you're shy of company, you CAN learn to play a musical instrument, start a garden, go to the cinema or out for a meal, on your own. Treat yourself to new activities and also to days or nights out. Communicate with those you like, and also put yourself in places where you can meet new people who may share your interests. Variety is the spice of life, and if you find you don't like something, you can always withdraw. You're the Captain; get into the habit of being in charge of the activities you choose, and you're now choosing behaviors that you know will increase your health and intelligence.

Combining this type of input control with physical exercise has rapid effects on both anxiety and inflammation levels.

Hack for Those Who Have to Conform to Artificial Sleep Patterns

Work with your biology -when your brain wants to daydream, allow it to do so as often as you can. Daydreaming allows extra 'memory filing' time for the brain and reduces the effects of lack of sleep. Psychologists have also discovered ways to increase and decrease mind wandering when you either have time for it or you don't (so you can let your memory catch up whenever you have time). You need a random number generator (several free ones are available online).

Set it going on single digits and then tap a key every time you see a new number appear on the computer screen but DON'T tap if the number is three. You'll soon find your mind wandering, at which point just let it and stop tapping the numbers.


Exercises to Improve Networks 1 & 2

Input control practice (good for all networks)

Smile. Give your brain a good cheery smile message with your lips apart and preferably teeth slightly apart as well. Keep smiling as you read that you’re now releasing the neurotransmitter called Serotonin. Keep smiling even more as you find out that this will improve your self confidence and your immune response without your having to do anything else at all. And start laughing your head off when you learn that the amount of serotonin in any mammal’s brain is directly related to its social popularity and its status. A surprising side effect of doing this regularly is that you’ll also feel you have more energy. You won’t know why at this point, but the results prove the point of how simple n-hacking can get.

In networks one and two, physical movement and the movement of thought can trigger each other. Because you associate good things happening with smiles, your brain associates smiling with good things happening. Using muscular movements or muscular relaxation is a great way to convince your brain that something is happening.

Exercise for networks 1 & 2 (Do not do this exercise just after eating!)

This is one of the few physical exercises we do. Stand or sit or lie down comfortably anywhere there is enough room in front of you to bend over. By whatever means is most comfortable to you, get into any physical position that leaves your head slightly lower than most of the rest of your body [on a chair with head between your knees, crouching with head lower than knees, hanging your head off the edge of the bed].

Remain in this position while you take ten slow, deep breaths.

Slowly return to your original position [if lying down, support your head with one of your hands as you sit up]. If you feel at all dizzy, remain still and breathe deeply and slowly until it passes.

You have increased the blood and oxygen supply to your brain, and doing this now and again is a useful way of sharpening your mind –good for that ‘mid-afternoon drop’ in energy many people experience, or if you’re feeling too stoned [professional athletes adopt this ‘head below the knees’ posture to recover after great physical exertion, to prevent oxygen deprivation to the brain causing fainting.] For a short time you can take advantage of the increased glucose supply you have caused in the brain, so save this hack for those times when you need a quick boost. If you have a coffee or other stimulant just after doing the exercise the effects will last longer.

Exercises to Improve Attention & Observation (good for all rear networks)
Zoom In

Choose a small familiar object from your domestic surroundings that possesses detail. A matchbox, clock, radio, ornament, key, postcard, brush, shoe, book, plant, mug, cushion, lamp, pencil, painting, all will do. Begin to observe it very closely. The exercise should last a definite time. Ten minutes is a good timespan. If you cannot keep up an intense level of concentration for this long, you may find that drawing the object is a good aid. Don't worry if you can't 'draw a likeness'.

Body Awareness

Lying in bed, slowly stretch your body in all directions. Make all stretches very gentle. Do not force limbs into painful positions! Pay attention to each part of your body from the feet up and stretch it a little. Then relax, and every time you naturally breathe out, concentrate on a different part of your body to relax.

Estimating Dimensions
  1. At home, every time you go into a new room estimate the dimensions by eye. Note these down and then measure them with a pocket tape. How many rooms do you have to enter before you are accurate within one foot / 30cm?
  2. Spend five minutes going around your home estimating the dimensions of furniture and then checking it with a pocket tape. Continue daily for ten days, rest and assess your improvement. Continue in periods of five or ten days until you can guess dimensions including diameters within one inch /2cm.
  3. Cut various random lengths from a ball of string. Each length is let fall on a separate part of the floor. Guess the lengths and check against ruler. Take five minutes and continue daily for ten days or until required accuracy is attained.

Testing for Sleep Deprivation

Find out whether you are sleep-deprived. [This is best practised at weekends or when not working, and it won’t work if you are taking lots of drugs -including coffee, tea, sugary foods, soda, alcohol and tobacco].

Make sure you have at least a whole day in which you don’t really have to do anything at any particular time. Take your watch off, and try to avoid watching the clock. Whenever you feel tired, regardless of what time it is, go to bed. As you go to bed, note and write down the time.

When you wake up, write down the time as soon as possible. 

How long did you sleep?

If it was more than 8.4 hours, you’re sleep-deprived. If you’re under 25 years old you’re going to need more unless you meditate because your brain [and at many ages your body] is still growing.

Being sleep-deprived retards the growth and performance of intelligence because we process memories during sleep. Your memory and concentration are the first things to suffer when your sleep is disturbed. If you are able to practise this exercise for two nights running, you will notice that on the second night you need less sleep. You have ‘caught up’, and should set aside time to do so regularly as a first change of behavioral habits.

Lack of sleep does not affect mental function only, but is related to the degree of risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and inflammation. Finding this out means that we should, as intelligent people, consider sleep as an important component of a healthy lifestyle and also essential in maintaining optimal mental function. Allow yourself at least one day per week to sleep in so that your brain can catch up with its memory storage duties and you’ll notice your memory –and ease of learning- improves immediately.


If You Have Small Children and Not Enough Spare Time to Do This Test

Try to sleep whenever your child sleeps (we know how tempting it is to use the space to “get everything done” but your mental health is more important than housework. If the former improves, you’ll have more energy to do the latter, so you’re not saving any time or energy by working instead of napping!

We’ll learn more about sleep and memory as we go on. (If you want to know more before going on, read: “Learning & memory: the basics” in the Basics section of the library).

You should now move on to tutorial 3


Last Updated on Monday, 29 May 2017 12:58