9 Ways to Hack your Brain to Think Faster

POSTED BY McEvoy IN Offbeat, Popular ON 22 May 2008

Lets face it, the brain is basically a biological computer. It needs food, it needs oxygen, it needs exercise. You can take steps to improve the power of your brain, in effect it’s about improving, modifying, hacking the brain. OK, we may not get to the level of Einstein, but no reason why you can’t be getting the best out of what you have got.

1. Take a daily dose of EPA.

EPA is the chemical in fish oil that makes it brain food, everyone must surely be aware of that by now so why not feed your brain and increase your brain power by taking fish oil capsules. Research has shown that fish oil helps facilitate better signalling within the brain, it increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, improves memory and concentration levels, all of which allow you to perform mental functions more efficiently. So what better way to get you started on your goal of becoming brainier than to take fish oil on a daily basis, just make sure it’s high in EPA though, as that is the fatty acid responsible for optimum brain function.

2. Lots of regular sex

Having sex regularly releases chemicals that helps to improve brain power according to a recent book “Teach yourself. Training your brain” written by a senior university lecturer and a leading biochemist. Sex is an excellent form of exercise, which also increases the blood flow to the brain. It reduces stress and releases tension both of which can inhibit brain efficiency. Interestingly, sex is also an excellent cure for those headaches, so no more excuses.

3. Do some puzzles

Crossword puzzles, sudoko, brain teasers etc. all help to keep the grey matter in good shape. Just like any other muscle, if you don’t exercise it regularly it loses its ability to perform as well as it could. Research has shown that people who do puzzles are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Keep those neural pathways open.

4. Go for a walk

There’s nothing like a breath of fresh air to clear the mind of clutter and to reduce the mental chattering that interferes with logical and constructive thinking. A daily walk in the countryside, down by the river or even in the park will clear brain fog, do wonders for your mental health and help you to think more clearly.

5. Learn a new language

Speaking another language can delay the onset of dementia by up to 4 years according to a recent article in New Scientist. The exact reason for this is not known but is believed to be linked to increased blood flow and maintaining healthy neural connections. So start learning a new language and increase your vocabulary daily, not only will you keep your brain in shape but the feeling of satisfaction you will gain will boost your confidence and you can impress everyone with your new linguistic skills.

6. Laugh a lot

Laughter is not only the best medicine; it improves brain function as it stimulates both sides of the brain at the same time, which enhances learning. Make sure you have a really good belly laugh each day. If you are somewhat serious and would find this difficult, then go to laughter therapy classes or force yourself to laugh artificially – your brain doesn’t know the difference. Laughter is contagious so if you force yourself to laugh you might even find yourself laughing for real.

7. Be creative

Take up painting or learn how to play a musical instrument, join an art class even if you believe you will be crap at it. Being creative allows you to find new solutions to old problems and expands your awareness at the same time. The act of being creative stimulates different parts of the brain and allows new ways of thinking and new neural pathways to develop. Knowledge is simply retaining information whereas intelligence is about knowing how to analyse and use that knowledge so stimulate those brain cells into becoming creative.

8. Learn how to juggle

Researchers at the University of Regensburg in Germany scanned the brains of jugglers and non-jugglers and found that the act of juggling can alter brain structure. After a period of only 3 months, the jugglers showed a significant expansion in two parts of the brain, the mid-temporal and left posterior intraprietal sulcus areas. Juggling is not as difficult as it looks, all it takes is a lot of patience and some practice. The secret is to start with two balls and as you throw one in the air avoid the temptation to just switch the second ball to the other hand, which is the most common reaction. The second ball has to be thrown upwards in an arc also and then caught with the hand on the other side. Master this and you are juggling, it’s just a case of adding in extra balls depending on how much you want to show off.

9. Get in touch with your inner child

Einstein once said that imagination was more important than knowledge and he used his to indulge in “thought experiments” where he happened to discover the most famous equation ever (E = MC2). Take a look at the kids, they are full of imagination, and they learn more in the first few years of their lives than the rest of us do in decades. Learn to lighten up and take things less seriously; you’ll find that even the most mundane tasks become more enjoyable. As we grow older we can get stuck in our ways which can only inhibit our minds. Free yourself from the illusion of what it is to be “adult” and get that twinkle back in your eye. It will not only make you more interesting, it will open up new ways of thinking too and you never know, you might even be the one to stumble upon the next major discovery.

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