8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes

by Paul Michael on 26 August 2014 1 comment

Brain Hacking, also known as "mind hacking" has become increasingly popular over the last few years. According to Squidoo, mind hacking is "to perform some act that gains access to the fundamental mechanism behind your mind and other people's minds by here-to-fore unknown or apparently mystical means." (See also: 13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain)

Other people see it simply as "mind over mind over matter," which basically comes down to self-control using techniques that allow you to tap into your mind's seemingly unlimited potential. Now, with these 12 quick and easy brain hacks, you can unlock some of that latent ability and surprise yourself, and your friends and colleagues. And maybe even some new dates.

1. "Smell" Yourself More Attractive

Right now, you can make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex just by thinking one thought over and over in your head. That thought is, "hey, I really smell terrific," or some variation of it. Researchers at the University of Liverpool conducted tests on men, seeing how they felt about themselves after spraying on deodorants that contained powerful ingredients. However, half of the men got spray that contained no such magic ingredients. The results were the same. By believing they smelled great to the opposite sex, the opposite sex found them more attractive.

2. Reduce Your Pain…With Binoculars

"Pain is all in the mind." How many times have you heard that and thought "yeah, right!" If you slice your finger cutting vegetables, or whack your little toe on the corner of the nightstand, it's not so easy to convince yourself it doesn't hurt.

However, researchers at Oxford University found a non-medicinal way to make the pain shrink — they used inverted binoculars. When subjects looked at their wound through the wrong end, it made the wound seem a lot smaller, and in turn they felt less pain. It sounds nuts, but it's true. The upshot of this is when you get pain, you have to imagine that pain being much smaller; or simply look away. Focusing on your wound will bring you increased pain.

3. Organize Using Your Imagination

Cleaning. 99% of us really don't like doing it. Whether it's a messy room, a desk at work, or the cluttered basement, the task always seems overwhelming. But there is a very quick brain hack you can do to make that task much easier.

Watch how PJ Eby uses this trick on a messy desk.

First, you look at your desk and take in the whole situation. Look at the mess, the chaos, and the disorder. Then, close your eyes and visualize that desk as clean and organized. Next, you need to feel good about what you visualized. Feel relaxed about the desk. Feel proud. Finally, hold that feeling, and the clean desk image, in your mind. Let it wash over you. You should almost be seeing in x-ray vision, looking through the clutter to the clean space.

What you have done is kick-start your brain's automatic planning system. By comparing the two images, you are automatically going to see places for things to go, and what to do with them. It's something that takes less than a minute, but can save you hours of frustration.

4. Improve Your Memory With a Mind Palace

If you're a fan of the BBC show Sherlock, you will be all too familiar with the mind palace. However, you don't need to be an egomaniacal genius to make your own. It's a technique that dates back to ancient Rome and Greece, and it's a simple but effective way to store and recall a lot of information.

First, you create a layout of a building or town in your brain. It should be composed of memorable places and signs. For instance, you create a shopping mall, and the first store on your right is a jewelers, followed by a burger stand and then a gym. Now, you place items you want to remember inside the different stores. Once inside each store, there will be a similar approach to the layout, with different sections, and shelves. And the key is to always use very distinct and bizarre combinations together, such as the title of this memory book — Moonwalking With Einstein. You can very easily walk through your palace whenever you want, and pluck items from the shelves with ease. Try it. This journalist did, and look how it worked for him.

5. Use Your Eyebrows to Become More Creative

If you ever want to feel more creative, try raising your eyebrows and widening your eyes. This simple technique appears to act as a boost for your creative mind, literally broadening the scope of your ideas as your widen your eyes and take more in. This is all backed by scientific research that was published in the Creativity Research Journal. Two groups of people were asked to come up with captions for a seemingly mundane image. Those with raised eyebrows had much more creative and funny captions. Try it for yourself at home and see how it works with your family.

6. Write Stuff Down to Remember It

This does not mean, "type stuff down." No, you will have to go back to that archaic form of communication that uses a pen and a piece of paper. Or better yet, keep a little notepad and small pen or pencil on you as often as you can.

An experiment conducted at Indiana University proved that the physical act of writing something down stimulated parts of the brain that were not active when simply trying to remember something, or typing it into a computer. Perhaps it is the fact that your hand is hardwired to certain parts of the brain, and as you write you are pressing the words or images more deeply into your memory than the simple act of trying to remember. Whatever the reason, it works. Write it down, you'll remember it.

7. Avoid "Choking" By Singing

This is not the literal lack of breath, but rather falling victim to severe nerves and messing up something seemingly simple. It happens in sports a lot, but it can also happen to us if we have to give a presentation at work, or perhaps give a speech at a wedding.

Choking is the result of pressure getting to us, usually because our brain is working overtime on all the "what ifs" and worst case scenarios. The way to beat it is fairly simple; do something to keep your brain occupied. Research shows that singing to yourself gives your brain something to do instead of stressing out. By singing, you are holding your brain hostage to a task you have given it, and it cannot concentrate on all the disasters you think are going to happen. Sing until it's your time to do something, be it sinking a long putt, giving a speech, or bowling a strike for a perfect game.

8. Stop Stress by Laughing — Seriously

Fans of The Office (UK) will remember the painfully awkward scene with David Brent laughing as a motivational speaker. (If not, refresh your memory here.)

Although it was done poorly to showcase Brent's delusions, it's actually a great way to relieve stress and think more creatively. Laughter releases dopamine, and even if you feel dumb doing it, you will eventually reap the rewards. Of course, these days we all have an instant home entertainment system in our pocket. Just pull out your smart phone, Google a funny video (perhaps something you know has made you cry with laughter in the past) and spend two minutes putting a smile on your face. Your shoulders will lift, you will feel better, and you will think more clearly. Try it out.

Any other quick mind hacks you'd like to share? Please do so in comments!

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Marvin

Great tips. I personally agree with laughing when you're stressed. Stress can weigh on your chest like a ton of bricks. Laughing definitely lightens the mood and takes your mind off of the situation.