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21.08.2012 21:45
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Sakiro's Hackipedia Volume 1
Section 1: Hacks and Exercices for All Networks
Section 2: Basics Hacks and Exercicces
Section 2: Network 2
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Section 2 Basics H&E

 

 

Network 1 abilities & functions

1.1 Senses of touch, taste, temperature and pressure

1.2 Motion, self care & hygiene, system maintenance & repair

1.3 Sensorimotor memory & association

1.4 Sensorimotor processing & categorization

1.5 Attention

1.6 Concentration

 

 

1.1 Senses of touch, taste, temperature and pressure

Exercises to improve touch sensitivity

Two Point Discrimination exercise:

Obtain a pair of blunt compasses or tweezers or a short piece of firm wire bent in half. Open them so the points are about 3mm apart, with this gap you will probably still be able to discriminate two separate points touching the skin of your fingertips or lips, but if you now place the compasses on your chest you can only feel one poke. Adjust the gap until you can feel two separate points on your chest. Measure this gap. In this way a chart may be made of the sensitivity of the skin in different parts of your body.

Having made a chart, repeat this exercise for a minimum of ten days, in different areas, and see if there is any increase of sensitivity. What conditions change the sensitivity of your skin to touch?    If you get improvement quickly or are very sensitive to start with, you can try a harder version if you can find an assistant (do the exercise with the assistant placing the compasses on the skin and keep your eyes closed.)

 

Tactile enhancement exercise: 

Choose an area or a room that contains nothing that could be knocked over and broken or spilled, or trip you up. Spend 15-30 minutes exploring the room blindfolded. Be sure to make a good job of the blindfold, putting cotton wool pads over the eyelids if the contours of our face make it difficult to get a good seal. Identity all objects by touch alone.

Estimate the weight and dimensions of various chosen objects, checking your guesses later. If an object you know well surprises you with the way it feels, spend some time with it. Notice the exact position of fittings such as handles, relief design, indentations, holes, robustness, flexibility, articulation etc. Gradually increase the speed and confidence with which you can move about the room. Repeat this exercise once a week, until you can move around the room with as much ease as if you were not wearing a blindfold. After a break of a week or so move on to a new room, area or place.

 

Object Identification exercise:

a. Procure many similar sized objects covering a range of basic forms. Do not include sharp objects. Put them in a bag or a box. Wearing a blindfold, tip them out carefully onto a table or the floor in front of you and without picking them up, examine them by touch alone. Become readily conversant with their different shapes, textures and details.

 

b. (needs assistant) Sitting comfortably before a table, wearing a blindfold, ask a friend to place on the table several surprise small objects from around the room, which you touch in the same way, without picking up. Try to determine what the articles are.

Repeat for ten days, and note down changes in touch perception.

 

Exercises for increasing smell or taste sensitivity

Touch/taste discrimination

A. Using a mirror, with a small spoon put a bit of honey onto the tongue. Is it the slippery feeling or the sweet taste that is first perceived?

B. Dab your dampened little finger into pepper and put a very little pepper onto the tongue. Pinch the nostrils with the other hand. Is there a taste separate from the irritation?

C. Experiment with other edibles. List them, and note the components of the sensation that they give.

 

Detail Differentiation exercise

Take one particular category of taste/smell and sample 6-10 varieties. If these may be sampled simultaneously - as in the case of fruits or cheeses - note the unique characteristics of each sample. Then arrange it so you may sample each without seeing it - of course it is difficult to hide textures sometimes- and guess which it is. If several may not practicably be tested simultaneously, as with bottles of wine - although wine tasting parties are a good excuse to do this - then make notes on the taste at the time. Then compare your notes and memory of this taste with the next.

 

Temperature: Thermal (heat) sensitivity (hack + exercise)

Surface Temperature Variations: The simplest way of stretching the body’s heat control mechanisms out of their 'central heating slumber' is to vary the surface temperature of the skin quickly without allowing serious heat losses. The best way to do this is to go to a shower with separate hot and cold controls - set the heat full on, then adjust the cold until you can comfortably bear it.

When you are well heated step out of the shower and turn off the hot. Then dive back under the rapidly cooling shower, for as long as you can bear it, or until you are well cooled off. (The first time you may only be able to bear a quick splash, but regular repeated practice makes the practice a pleasant and invigorating one). Then repeat this quickly 3 or 4 times until you feel yourself tingling all over.

This tingling is the lazy old thermo-nerve endings spluttering their way back into operation. The refreshing effect initiated by the tingling will continue for about half an hour.

Regular exposure to cold in controlled conditions will also adapt your body to the change without going into a shock response. If you ever fall into cold water, this ability could save your life!

Sauna, Russian and Turkish baths can do a similar job, but require more time and money. Outdoor sweat lodges and swimming in Spring and Autumn will be as good, if you make sure you get well warmed up between dips.

 

Temperature control (hack + exercise)

A cheap and easy device to use for Biofeedback is a digital thermometer (they cost about $20; do an internet search for “stress thermometer”). Your biofeedback task is to hold the sensor and relax so that you slightly decrease your finger or toe temperature. This is a mind-body exercise with trial and error learning. Learning how to bring blood flow to your extremities is a particular form of relaxation that can be mastered with training and practice.

The goal of this exercise is to learn to alter your temperature within five minutes. Remember the ambient air in a room is usually cooler where there are draughts at ground level and warmer higher up, so don't change the altitude of the thermometer during the exercise.

 

Assessing Conductivity of Materials exercise

Different materials have the capacity to hold different amounts of heat. Metal holds lots and wood holds little. So, even when it is at the same room temperature, a metal bar will feel colder than a wooden rod. Go around your room (blindfold helps) or your house (the parts of it that are at a similar temperature) and check out the comparative temperature of different materials. List them in order of cold to warm.

Floors, walls, plastic, water, glass etc. will all be at roughly the same temperature but will feel different because of their different heat capacity.

 

 

1.2 Motion, self care & hygiene, system maintenance & repair

 

The inner you (exercise)

Pay attention to the motion INSIDE your body. Does your digestive system operate smoothly and without problems? What is your natural sleep cycle? How often do you get hungry in a relaxed day? A busy day? What is your usual resting heartbeat or pulse? Your usual blood pressure? Your usual weight? Make a point of finding out.

 

The outer you (hack + exercise)

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 and can cause reproductive system problems.

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. Pay particular attention to shoes, socks, stockings, waist-contriction, neckties, collars and hats. Clothing should not restrict circulation, and if it does we are depriving our brain of oxygen.

4. Nylon or other synthetic underwear, which encourages UTIs (Urinary tract infections) and acne.

5. When lifting, use the legs, not the back. Do not bend the back to lift or to put down heavy loads. Cultivating this habit will ensure that you don't get low back problems.

 

Our body is like a spacesuit that allows our brain to move about and interact with the world. Our life depends on it, so make sure it’s in good working order and it has healthy habits. Our 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.

 

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.

 

 

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, 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.
 

 

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.

 

Quick fitness test/exercise

Assessment with Biofeedback

You will need a watch or clock with the ability to display seconds and something about 8” (20cm) high that you can stand on safely. The bottom step of a flight of stairs or a solid footstool will do nicely.

Take your pulse and make a note of what it is. Stand with your feet together in front of the step and start the clock. For three minutes, step up and down at the rate of twice every five seconds (up-down-up-down is 'twice'). Stop if you begin to feel uncomfortable. When the three minutes are up, sit down and rest for exactly one minute, then take your pulse.

If your circulation’s working properly and you’re fit, your pulse should be almost back down to where it started. Here’s a guide to different results:

Final pulse rate:

Under 82 = very fit

82-92 = fit

93-107 =somewhat unfit

108 plus = very unfit

N.B. These scores do not apply accurately to anyone under 15 –please contact us if you need details for younger ages.

If your score was over 93, you need to practise control with biofeedback for the sake of your physical health as well as your brain, but you should not begin a physical exercise program unless you are sure of what you’re doing –find out more about why you are unfit first and deal with any physical health problems.

You can get this sort of straightforward biofeedback information from your body once every few months to see how you improve.

 

Find Out If You’re Fit Enough to Supply the Brain with the Oxygen it Needs (test/exercise)

You don’t need any special equipment to do this. You need a watch or a clock with a second hand, OR a BP/Pulse measuring machine.

Sit quietly for a minute or two, then measure your “resting pulse” [the easiest way is to count the number of heartbeats in 15 seconds and multiply by 4]. Make a note of it in beats per minute.

Now subtract 7 from 978 in your head. Say the numbers out loud and do it as fast and as accurately as you can. When you have a result, subtract seven from that result, and so on. Do this for about two minutes.

Take your pulse again. It should have risen by between 10 and 20 beats per minute.

If it doesn't rise at all or only increases by 5 or less, you need more physical exercise to supply your brain with its needs.

 

High Intensity Training (hack + exercise)

Recent research shows that as little as three minutes of intense exertion per week can deliver many of the health- and fitness benefits people get from hours of conventional exercise, including improved insulin sensitivity by an average of 24 percent in four weeks

Recent research also shows that when healthy but inactive people exercise intensely, even if the exercise is brief, it produces an immediate change in their DNA. It appears this contraction-induced gene activation promotes genetic reprogramming of muscles for strength and other structural and metabolic benefits associated with exercise

Ideally, you’ll want to do high intensity exercises two or three times a week for a total of four minutes of intense exertion with recovery periods in between. For optimal health, you’d also be wise to incorporate low GI nutrition.

 

Exercises to avoid 'internet neck' 

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 the 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 or programming 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. Sit in your chair and clasp your hands behind your neck and the bottom of your head. Push backwards with your head and resist the push with your hands. Do this three times.

3. SLOWLY move your head in all directions; up/down, left/right, sideways (onto your left shoulder and then right shoulder) and backwards/forwards (like the turtle.)

 

Relaxation exercises (ALL relaxation techniques hack anxiety)

DIY Head & Face Massage

A great one for in the bath or shower, or before bed.

Relax your hands. Massage and shake them out until they feel tingly. Rub them together... fronts, backs and between the fingers.

Begin by slapping your scalp all over with loose wrist and limp fingers. Then massage the scalp using the fingertips. Think of tension being

released in the back of the neck; as it releases it lengthens. Fingertip massage around the hairline. Stroke the forehead. Place the palms of the

hands over your eyes and imagine the eyelids relaxing under your hands.

Brush the skin back from center temple around to the ears. Continue this down the face pulling the skin back from the center line in slow

rhythmic waves.

Such simple pleasure can seem unworthy of the effort of self discipline and not functional enough to be included in your self-care. To find out

why they are, repeat this exercise daily for ten days and note the effect.

Self-massage is also effective for the relief of pain, as it alters the brain's representation of the body's borders and boundaries. Even crossing

the arms can relieve pain in one hand!

 

Relaxation Response Hack

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.

 

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

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.

 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

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!

 

Combination techniques: PMR and breathing

* Sit quietly and comfortably.

* Close your eyes.

* Start by relaxing the muscles of your feet and work up your body relaxing muscles.

* Focus your attention on your breathing.

* Breathe in deeply and then let your breath out. Count your breaths, and say the number of the breath as you let it out (this gives you something to do with your mind, helping you to avoid distraction).

Do this for ten or twenty minutes.

An even more potent alternative approach is to follow these steps, but to use relaxation imagery instead of counting breaths in step 5. If you like, you can prove to yourself that this works using biofeedback equipment.

 

Sex

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

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.

 

Gardening

The physical activity of digging, pulling and planting can be a great anxiety releaser, your skin absorbs a mood-lightening neurochemical from soil (serotonin), plus free vitamin D, peace and quiet. Planting or tending a garden of fruit, vegetables, flowers or anything else that grows, can be a wonderfully relaxing pastime, with the reward of delicious organic food, a beautiful bouquet, quantities of cannabis, really cool interior décor, or a gorgeous yard to chill out in as well!

 

Sleep

If you have a lifestyle that includes alarm clocks, sleeping pills or night lights, you're robbing your own intelligence of resources. Natural sleep is essential for mental health and most particularly memory & association. It's also essential for body and mind maintenance & repair.

Sleep when you're tired, not because it's a certain time of day. Take naps when your body wants to.

Don't doubt the transformative power of sleep -try it. Most of us are chronically sleep-deprived. One week of natural sleep can transform mood, energy levels and immunity. You'll 'feel like a new person' because you'll be one; the one biology meant you to be.

 

Hack for those who currently 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.

 

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.

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’re under 24 years old you’re going to need more sleep unless you meditate because your brain (and at many ages your body) is still physically growing.

 

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

If you have small children you are almost certainly sleep-deprived. Try to sleep whenever your child sleeps (we know how tempting it is to use the time to “get everything done” but your mental health is a lot 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!

 

Diet & health

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!

 

Temperature has a profound effect on fat metabolism. Cold temperatures can increase activity in our brown fat regions. In fact, cold-induced glucose uptake is increased by a factor of 15! Simply cooling your hands during exercise hacks your genome, and can boost fat loss and increase performance.

The molecular switch, known as PRDM16, regulates whether immature cells will turn into brown fat or into muscle cells.

Intermittent one-day fasting is another technique that can help give our metabolism a boost to increase fat loss.

 

 

epigenetic hacking with nutrients

Studies in genomic imprinting have revealed how DNA methylation patterns are influenced by diet, and how epigenomic sensitivity to environmental cues and specifically diet can be used to influence disease susceptibility.

Nutrients extracted from the diet enter metabolic pathways and are transformed into useful molecules. These nutrients are known to have epigenetic targets in cells such that they can be used to modify the epigenome in order to correct abnormally activated or silenced genes and can be combined into an “epigenetic diet” useful as a therapeutic or chemopreventive measure. During this transitory phase methyl groups are formed from key nutrients including folic acid, B vitamins and s-adenosyl methionine (SAMe), and these methyl groups comprise important epigenetic marks for gene silencing. Diets high in such methyl rich nutrients may significantly alter gene expression and offer protective health benefits.

Deficiencies in folate and methionine, both of which are involved in cellular processes that supply methyl groups needed for DNA methylation, can change the expression (imprinting) of growth factor genes such as (IGF1).

Specifically, deficient levels of folic acid lead to epigenetic alterations which result in demethylation and chromosome instability. Thus, not only can dietary folate bolster a healthy locus-specific and global DNA methylation program, but can also direct proper uracil incorporation, inhibit DNA breakage, and foster DNA repair via thymidine and purine biosynthesis.

Dietary folate is present in a variety of green vegetables including broccoli, zucchini, brussels sprouts, green beans and spinach participates in maintaining a healthy DNA methylation profile and even reverses accrued damage.

 

Antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Disruption in the balance between reactive oxygen species and antioxidants may result in harmful health effects caused by DNA damage due to the genotoxic effects of oxidative stress. Protective agents that target the epigenome include micronutrients found in folate, retinoic acid, selenium compounds, polyphenols from green tea, apples, coffee, black raspberries, and other dietary sources. Similar compounds are present in foods containing curcumin and resveratrol.

While certain food components epigenetically increase the levels of DNA repair enzymes, others such as isoflavones and bilberry anthocyanins actively decrease DNA damage.

Anthocyanin is an effective antioxidant for humans that is found in plants and are easily identified by its potent red or purple pigment. It is found in plants such as eggplant, plums, pomegranate, red onion, cranberries, blueberries, kidney beans and cherries which all possess anthocyanins. This flavonoid serves as a powerful antioxidant that contributes to scavenging of DNA-damaging free radicals.

Another example is the polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is contained in green tea and has been shown to retard carcinogenesis. The pathway involves regulation of DNA methylation at key genes to elicit positive epigenetic outcomes.

Others like sulfopropanes from cruciferous vegetables and green tea are capable of reverting an aberrant epigenetic profile.[197]

 

herbs & spices

Epigenetic effects have been identified for several spices and herbs. For example, tulsi and ginger regulate histone H3 acetylation, and other spices such as turmeric and cinnamon possess similar effects.[198]

 

 

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.

 

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 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.

 

Eating for you (hack)

Eat for your brain as well as your body. Food is a very useful hack for many ills and with knowledge you can use food to affect specific changes in genome expression.

Eat when you're hungry, not because it's a certain time of day. You'll get more nutrition out of every bite if you work with biology.

Resources: www.glycemicindex.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcaRTDsLmiA

 

Vitamins & Supplements (hack)

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. For humans to digest vitamins, they need to be chelated and preferably in liquid or gel form.

You can find out lots more about hacking with chemistry in NHA library "Drugs & chemicals" section.

 

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.

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.

 

Change the variables (hack)

Habits depend on association, so if you change one variable in the association, behavior changes accordingly.

Want to eat less? Try using your non-dominant hand when snacking! Experiments prove it reduces consumption notably and also makes us more aware of stale food.

 

If you Have to Take Medication: Assess the Drugs Cupboard (hack)

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.

 

Input control hacks

Music

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 the article “Music and neurotransmitters”.

 

Laughing Database

Watch comedy movies, slowly compile all the sources of your favourites, videos, actors, music, movies of humor, ready to be used when you need it.

 

Smile Hack

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.

 

 

1.3 Sensorimotor memory & association

Identifying rapidly by touch (exercise)

You will need a stopwatch or clock with a second hand, and a selection of objects that are roughly the same size and shape (for example apple, tennis ball, baseball, round potato, orange, lemon, pear, onion, grapefruit, peach, nectarine). Put them all into an opaque bag.

Start the stopwatch or note the time on your clock. Put the bag behind you and feel in the bag, taking out the first item. Keep it out of sight behind your back, and as quickly as you can, identify what you think it is. Then look at it and give yourself one point if you were right.

 

 

1.4 Sensorimotor processing & categorization

Tactile image transfer (exercise) (needs assistant)

You will need a pen that will write on skin (and can be washed off), plus a pen and paper or drawing application.

Sit at a table with your drawing equipment in front of you. A stool is best but if you're on a chair turn it sideways so that your assistant can stand behind you.

Put one hand behind your back. The assistant should slowly draw something simple on the palm of the hand behind you. Your task is to copy what you think is being drawn, onto the paper in front of you. As you get better at this, increase the complexity of the drawings. Remember to wash your hands after this exercise!

Try drawing designs on just one finger. Is it easier or harder to reproduce them? 

 

Aristotle Illusion (hack sensorimotor input)

This is a very old trick. You need a small spherical solid thing, the size of a pea, small marble, rabbit turd, piece of blu-tak or plasticene etc. Cross your fingers, then align the object so you can touch it with the tips of both fingers, close your eyes, and touch it.

It feels like you are touching two peas. Your mind can’t imagine why the hell you would go around touching things with your fingers crossed, and it doesn’t compute. If you look at the object while touching the effect will wear off (but can be surpisingly persistent).

 

[NEEDS ASSISTANT] Now get two different objects of this kind. Cross your fingers, close your eyes and then touch the two different objects simultaneously - a piece of Blu Tack and a dried pea, say - one with each fingertip. [You will need assistant to guide your fingers onto the objects] This is a variation of the same hack. It’s not so reliable, but if it works your sense of touch will tell you that the objects are the opposite way round from where they actually are.

 

There's also the reverse Aristotle illusion: cross your fingers, close your eyes and touch the inside of a corner of a room or a box. This time, because the wall is contacting the insides of your fingertips, you should feel one surface, not two. Some people even experience three.

A similar effect can be achieved by holding your hands in front of you with palms down. Close your eyes and get somebody to lightly tap the back of both hands once, one after the other, with as short an interval as possible between the taps. Open your eyes and wave the hand that was tapped first. You'll get it right every time. Now do it again with crossed arms. If the taps are sufficiently close together - less than 300 milliseconds or so - you'll get it wrong a lot of the time.

Surprisingly, the illusion can also be made to work with sticks. Hold two wooden spoons out in front of you, one in each hand, with arms uncrossed, and get somebody to tap the ends of the spoons in quick succession. Again, you automatically know which stick was tapped first. But cross the spoons (not your arms) over and you'll get it wrong. Even more weirdly, if you cross your arms and the spoons, the two crossings-over cancel each other out and it again becomes obvious which one was tapped first

 

Sensorimotor fun (hack sensorimotor input)

Your fingertips are among the most sensitive parts of your body, and this makes them surprisingly easy to fool. Take an ordinary comb and pencil

and lay your index finger along the top of the comb, then run the pencil back and forth along the side of the teeth. Even though the teeth are

moving from side to side in a wave-like motion, your finger will feel as if a raised dot is travelling up and down the comb.

This works because the unfamiliar motion of the teeth causes similar skin deformation to the more usual action of running your finger over a

raised bump, so your brain interprets it that way.

 

There is no spoon (or in this case, fork) (hack sensorimotor input)

Take a fork and press the tip of your tongue between the prongs. You will feel as though the middle two prongs are bent out of shape. This is

because the skin on your tongue is distorted in a way that doesn't normally happen, so your brain assumes that the prongs, not your tongue, are

bent.

 

 

1.5 Attention

Improving Attention

Practise some kind of Meditation:

Attention Meditation (hack/exercise)

Gaze at the second-hand of a clock without the slightest waver of attention. As soon as your mind wanders note the time. As you repeat this exercise you will notice your attention span increasing.  

Some gurus claim that if you can keep full attention, without wavering, falling asleep or being distracted for thirty minutes then you have

achieved enlightenment..... all we can say is you definitely haven’t drunk too much coffee.

 

Mindfulness Meditation (hack/exercise)

Resource: http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html (great free online/pdf book)

 

Meditation for fine-tuning control over attention (hack/exercise)

Everyday experience and psychology research both indicate that paying close attention to one thing can keep you from noticing something else. However, attention does not have a fixed capacity - it can be improved by directed mental training, such as meditation.

Seeing and mentally processing something takes time and effort. Because a person has a finite amount of brainpower, paying close attention to one thing may ordinarily (without training) mean the tradeoff of missing something that follows shortly thereafter. For example, when two visual signals are shown a half-second apart, people miss the second one much of the time. Your attention gets stuck on the first target, then you miss the second one. This effect is called "attentional blink," as when you blink your eyes, you are briefly unaware of visual signals. This limitation is not strictly physical, but is subject to mental control.

Meditation is a family of methods designed to facilitate regulation of emotion and attention. Research has found that three months of rigorous training in Vipassana meditation improved people's ability to detect a second target within the half-second time window. Because the subjects were not meditating during the test, their improvement suggests that prior training caused lasting changes in attentional ability. Their previous practice of meditation is influencing their performance on this task, and this shows that attention capabilities can be enhanced through practice.

If you don’t know how to meditate, start with the Relaxation response exercises.

 

Exercises that will improve your attention span:

Sit facing a screen and play any video with the sound off (or a TV with anything on will do, but make sure to mute the sound.) Now fix your attention on one corner of the screen (say the top right) and say aloud everything recognizable that comes into that corner (it's best to do this when on your own).

You may end up saying stuff like “blue sky/ spiky shape/ bit of a word/ someones ear/ hair in the wind/ car roof/...” and so on; whatever appears in that particular corner.

When you can do this without being distracted by the image on the entire screen, you go to level 2 and do it with the sound on. Level 3 you learn to do it silently in your mind (just think the things in words instead of speaking them aloud) and if you get that far you'll find your attention is much more controllable than it used to be.

If you find this impossible, tape some paper or a cloth over the screen except for the corner you want to concentrate on, and practice this way. Remove the cover when you've got the hang of the habit of attending to that one corner. Then proceed as above.

Can you do the same thing when the content is a favorite movie?

 

Color Composition (exercise)

Collect objects and scraps of similar but not identical color. Cut areas from colored packaging, materials and plastic, leaves, wood, flowers until you have filled a small cardboard box. Then arrange the pieces in a long line, in a sequence so that one color will flow into the next.

 

Ambient Sound attention training (can also be used as a meditation exercise)

1. For this exercise and each of the following developments it is suggested that you repeat it once a day for ten days and then note any improvements. It is essential to work gradually and methodically, or little useful progress will be achieved.

a. Sit outdoors or open a window. Sit still and comfortably and relax. How many sounds can you hear? Count them. Write them down. Distinguish for each sound - direction and cause.... differences in tone and strength... rhythmic qualities... groupings.

b. Select one of the most obvious sounds and list everything you can imaginably say about it. (next time, select a new sound.)

Detect one of the faintest sounds you are hearing. List everything you can say about it.

Select the most pleasant sound you are hearing. Note every reason why you feel it is pleasant.

 

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.

You can do this exercise 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.

 

Biofeedback (hack + exercise)

Biofeedback brings unconscious processes into conscious attention. 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.

Biofeedback means live interactive training using a display of your physiological responses. You may think you are relaxing, but are your body & brain actually relaxing? How do you know unless you wire yourself up?

 

Biofeedback sync (hack + exercise)

The goal of this exercise is to get your heart rhythms and breathing in sync. When we inhale our heart rate increases, and when we exhale, our heart rate decreases. Having a wide range of heart rates within a single breath is an excellent indicator of overall health. Getting your breathing in sync with your heart rhythms is excellent for anxiety reduction and health training.

The fastest way to train for heart rate variability is to use a stopwatch for timing and breathe at around one breath (in and out) every ten seconds (that's six breaths per minute). Counting your heartbeats or your pulse comes next: around five or six beats breathing in, five or six beats breathing out should be close to your timed breathing if you're reasonably healthy. You can check the heartbeat method against the stopwatch method for accuracy and fine tune your practice until you can breathe six times a minute without needing a stopwatch; just by counting your own heartbeats.

 

 

1.6 Concentration

Focusing on one sound amongst many (exercise)

Collect together four sources of sound; TV, radios, clock, music players etc. Put them all on at a quiet but equal volume and different programs. Shut your eyes and listen attentively to one of them only for about one minute. Switch attention to another sound source for one minute. Every minute switch your attention. It doesn't matter how interested you become (within reason) ...

If you find this too difficult move the sound sources further apart and turn to face the one you are paying attention to. If you find it too easy add more sound sources. A super exercise to pass the time at school, in prison, at dull meetings or boring parties with a different music player in each ear!

 

Musical details (exercise)

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.

 

Noise Filtering Exercise (new)

Here is a great exercise that even people without hearing problems should participate in. For this exercise, you will also want to have a friend

there, and two different sources to make noise – they could be tv’s, cd players, anything that makes consistent, random noise. To begin the

exercise, simply turn on one of the noise sources and begin having a conversation with your friend. Try not to raise your voices too loud or lean

in to hear each other – focus on what they are saying and do you best not to ask them to repeat themselves. After a few minutes, turn on the

second noise source and continue your conversation. The goal of this exercise is to learn how to filter out the noises you do not care about, and

focus on the noises you want to hear. After a few tries and attempts you will be able to easily focus on anything in most situations.

 

 

 



Обновлено 30.11.2016 10:08