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A Neurohacker is generally considered to be someone who takes command of their neurology with sophistication. They do this by treating the power of their mind with the same care that most of us put into examining the specs of our computing power.
Our brains mediate how efficiently we use our computing tools. If you’re treating neurohacking as an afterthought, you’re shortchanging your capacity to hack, code, and create.
First, a warning; if you’re not doing the basics of “clean diet, regular exercise, good sleep,” start there. The neuro hacks in this article are to be on top of those essentials.
Assuming you have the basics down, here are 5 fundamental neuro hacks that will amaze you in the difference they can make to your cognitive function.
A nootropic is a substance with strong scientific evidence to support mental performance such as focus, clarity, memory, mental energy, and mood.*
Brain chemistry is incredibly complex, so ideal nourishment for the brain (such as certain plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, etc.) requires a lot more than 1 or 2 hyped ingredients.*
In the last few years, great nootropic regimens have gotten a lot easier because formulators have started pre-assembling dozens of key nootropics into well-dosed blends with amazing, fast-acting results.*
A legendary nootropic formula with a really well-rounded blend is Qualia Mind. It’s been a favorite of tech entrepreneurs for years and is a non-GMO, vegan formula with nootropics like bacopa monnieri leaf, ginkgo biloba, mucuna pruriens, alpha GPC, cognizin citicoline, uridine, and celastrus paniculatus.
Dr. Andrew Huberman is a neuroscientist of Stanford’s Huberman Labs and a regular on Joe Rogan and countless other media forums. He has spoken about the importance of trying to go technology-free the first hour after waking up.
By delaying the use of your cell phone and other digital devices the first hour of the morning, it’s keeping your brain’s ability to maintain impulse control, or as Huberman puts it, your “don’t circuitry.”
Keeping impulse control in check trains us out of constantly seeking dopamine spikes and other fast paths to addiction.
He also points to increasing evidence that as we sleep, our brains are reshaping how to view emotional and logistical challenges in our lives.
When we wake in the morning, we’re essentially “downloading” paths forward on events in our lives that are impacting us emotionally and logistically. Our brains construct these paths forward as we sleep.
But if we immediately go to a sensory experience (such as a cell phone, social media, etc.), it can hijack our ability to integrate those new perceptions that our brain worked to build.
For a clip of Dr. Huberman explaining the importance of the first hour after waking, go here.
You may be familiar with Dr. Jordan Peterson’s famous demand of young people looking to change the world to start by “cleaning their room.”
It turns out there’s very legitimate science as to how much the condition of the physical environment we spend time in affects our productivity and mental performance.
In fact, caring about your environment is one of the four basic cornerstones of neurohacking focus, which are:
✓our mind ✓our body ✓our relationships (we’ll get to that in #4) ✓our environment
Environmental psychology plays a massive role in our productivity and mental capacity.
It’s not just about “cleaning your room.” It’s also about caring about its looks in a meaningful way.
Be very intentional about the lighting, the colors, the sounds, the view, the furniture arrangement, the physical comfort of the chair and desk you’re working at, etc.
These directly inform how much your neurology will be primed for creativity and focus so you can tap into maximum productivity.
Here’s a great Foundational Guide To Neurohacking that goes into the science and strategy side of neurohacking in depth.
Hackers and coders are often notoriously independent (and a community known to have its fair share of loners). But even if you’re not warm and fuzzy about the importance of relationships, hear this out.
You may have heard the description, “We are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time around.” In the current era, “people we spent the most time around” can take abstract forms, such as Zoom calls, texts, online forums, etc.
But here’s the basic principle; if you’re spending your time around uncreative, uninspiring, negative human beings, it’s going to have a harmful impact on your ability to tap into your best work.
Conversely, if you’re spending time around people that are pushing your mind to its outer limits of capacity and inspiring you with examples of greatness and creative solutions, that will tend to rub off on your own output.
So the neurohack here is to take inventory of the 5 to 10 people you’re giving the most energy and attention to each day (in person or digitally) and clean up the psychological environment you’re volunteering for each day.
Decrease the time and attention you’re giving to uncreative, uninspiring, negative human beings, and pivot your time and attention in the direction of better influences, so your intelligence and talent are feeding off those around you (rather than being demotivated by those around you).
Many hackers, coders, and technologists spend way too much of their lives under indoor lighting.
Whether you have a hardcore workout regimen is up to you, but at an absolute minimum, break up your workday with a trip outside for at least 15 or 20 minutes each day for so many reasons that benefit the mind.
This is a form of neurohacking your biology.
For hundreds of thousands of years, humans have been evolutionarily designed to have their minds and bodies thrive in nature and the outdoors. Simply entering an outdoor space wakes up your senses in a way that can disrupt a stale, stuck mindset. And engaging (at least) mild physical activity while doing this has a very real effect on your mindset.
A simple walk around the neighborhood is great for the circulatory system and blood flow, which in turn affects how well we think.
Secondly, sunlight exposure and the resulting conversion to vitamin D are great for our health (in limited doses), specifically our immune system, and also very much affects our mood.
The combination of our body and mind getting some mild physical activity in the middle of a workday, along with waking up our senses to the nature we’re evolved to seek (such as a park or a hiking trail), might be the best 15 to 30 minutes of time you can spend to wake up an uninspired mind with a jolt of creative energy and motivation.
Neurohacking is not a hard concept to understand. It’s simply valuing our mental health in concrete, actionable ways each day, so our intellectual and creative contribution isn’t decreased from terrible self-care.
Beyond the basics of good diet, exercise, and good sleep, these 5 actions can give you the jumpstart you need to access your best mind, and as a result, your best work.
Pay this article forward to a friend and godspeed in your neurohacking journey!
Disclaimer: *These statements have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.