“Brain Hacks like these are the foundation by which we can move into making changes in our lives in a successful way.”
Brain Hack #1: Meditation
Neuroscientists have used brain scans to monitor how meditation and mindfulness practices affect the brain. They have found that meditation has been connected with increased resiliency in stress management, depression and anxiety, pain, sleep issues and an overall sense of self-regulation.
Meditation isn’t just for Zen masters sitting on top of a mountain at sunrise. In fact, even just five minutes a day can yield benefits and is being adopted in psychotherapy group work, practiced by lawyers, doctors, and other professionals on their lunch breaks, and even taught to children in some schools.
Meditation can be as simple as taking a few minutes to focus only on your breathing, or it can be guided meditation for a specific purpose or goal. There are apps and online guided programs, both free and for a fee, that can help teach you meditation and even send you daily meditations in your email.
Brain Hack #2: Visualization
We cannot attain what we cannot visualize first. Daydreaming, a lost art from our childhoods, is an important part of the precontemplative stage of change. Daydreaming, when focused, is what visualization is.
In the area of change, it really is about taking a moment, getting comfortable, and creating a vision of what it would be like to have successfully made the change you desire to make in your life. Fast forward to the end, when it’s complete and successful – when you are celebrating victory. What does that look like? How would your life be different? As you picture what the best positive outcome might be, what do you notice about your body, about your thoughts, and about your emotions?
Focusing on our goal – on the best positive outcome – and visualizing what that will look like, is one of the most potent brain hacks a person can use. It counteracts any self-defeating thoughts or negative sabotage in the area of change. It makes the goal clear, personal, and meaningful.
Brain Hack #3: Mindfulness
Mindfulness means bringing our awareness to the present state – what we might think of it as “being in the moment.” This ties into the practice of Mindsight, as developed by Dr. Daniel Siegel, which he describes as a learned skill connecting mind, brain, and relationships. In his Mindsight program, he guides readers on how to focus their attention and awareness to create change. According to Siegel, focusing our attention can bring about changes in the brain’s organization.