Your Brain is Like a Muscle. Here’s How to Work it Out.
We constantly see headlines about “brain hacks” or advice on how to “re-wire your brain.”
The truth is, hacking and rewiring are more appropriate terms for your tech devices than they are for the most complex structure in the entire universe (yes, that’s your brain).
Author and memory optimization expert Jim Kwik suggests a different outlook: treating our brains like a muscle, rather than a machine.
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Kwik has become somewhat of a brain-science-superhero over the years. After suffering two brain injuries as a child, doctors told him that he would suffer from life long learning disabilities.
He refused to accept their diagnosis.
He made it his life’s work to understand the brain and find strategies that would enhance mental cognition and performance for people around the world.
Now, he is recognized as a world-leading expert in optimal brain performance, memory improvement and accelerated learning. He works with notable celebrities like Will Smith and corporations such as Nike and Google.
His new book, which is set to release next week is titled ‘Limitless.’
Here are his top four recommendations keeping our most important muscle in shape.
Take a Break and Train.
Kwik says that our 200,000-year-old brains are easily overwhelmed by the “digital deluge,” aka technology.
He recommends carving out a minimum of 30 minutes a week with absolutely no technology. During this “whitespace,” Kwik says to do one thing and one thing only: memorize the phone number of one person you speak to regularly.
Even that small task, he said, can train your memory muscle to process and retain more information.
Just like our bodies, our minds require the proper fuel to get the job done. Kwik says there are lots of healthy options that benefit our brains, his favorites are avocados, blueberries, broccoli, leafy greens, walnuts, coconut oil, eggs, turmeric, salmon, water, and dark chocolate.
Solve Problems While You Sleep!
Does that sound useful? Trust us, it is.
This is something we at Blue Door have been practicing for months now, we talk about it here.
The idea is to ask a specific question of your subconscious before you go to sleep (be sure to write it down). Keep a journal close by and answer the questions as soon as you wake up in the morning.
Kwik also notes that practicing dream recall is another exercise that can dramatically improve memory.
Stomp Your ANTS.
Not like actual bugs.
ANTS are Automatic Negative Thoughts. Stress caused by negative thoughts can have a real impact on your cognition.
One of the best ways to do this is by surrounding yourself with a “positive peer group” or an uplifting community.
Kwik also recommends strategies like meditation and breathing exercises to help keep your mind at ease. We couldn’t agree more; both of these techniques have helped us tremendously.
If you want to learn more about meditation, we recommend Sam Harris’ Waking Up app.
For breathing exercises, check out this article.