Training the mind muscle – Enhancing the human super power (Part 2)

How you can train your brain and enhance the most valuable organ we have as a species, the mind – Part 2 of 2.

In part two we look into the drills that develop the skill of getting the most out of your brain.

First point will be to wrap your head around what it feels like when your mid brain/primitive brain is jumping in and overriding your ability to think, here are two examples:

1.     Sit and hold your breath for as long as you can. If you hold for long enough, you will feel your body start to “panic”, the muscles that help you breath will naturally convulse, your body will flush with warmth and you might get tingling in your limbs. This is all a natural part of the “thinking” brain over riding the midbrain and the midbrain fighting back.

2.     Trigger point. Ever been to the physio or for a deep tissue massage? One of the most common things they tell you to do is breath and relax, ironically during the moments when it is the hardest to do so, think during a hip release or upper trap release.

Naturally during these moments, the body will feel as though it is “grabbing on” or tensing and that is the midbrain sending the panic “fight or flight” like signals down to the body.

Now, take a second and think about personalities (it might even be yourself) that are jumpy, highly strung or constantly stressed… they probably don’t like being touched very much and probably “feel” pain more than normal.

So what do you do?

Well, there are an endless number of ways to influence this process of the nervous system. If you approach it like any skill (think playing the guitar or learning to write) the more you practice the better you get.

After all, you are using the same brain that learned all the skills you now have.

For now, here is a simple drill to get yourself started:

-       Sit still and relax for a second wherever you are.

-       Close your eyes and scan your body for tension.

-       Keep your eyes closed and take a big inhale in.

-       Exhale out and feel your body relax.

-       Repeat this for another 10 breaths.

-       On your 10th, exhale and hold empty.

-       Stay still and calm with no breath for as long as you can.

-       Genuinely challenge the body and the brain to go as far as it can without breathing.

-       When you finally need to breathe, take a big inhale and hold for 5 seconds.

-       Breath out, scan your body for a few seconds.

-       Open your eye and see how you feel.

It may seem as though it is too simple, but this is all it takes. Repeat this for as many efforts as you like and notice how much more your breath hold will improve and your body will relax.

It is as simple as making the decision to do the drill or any drill for that matter. As humans, we make hundreds if not thousands of simple decisions a day and choosing to improve your brain shouldn’t be that hard to add to the list.

If you want to dive into further depths on this topic I recommend the following references:

-       Book, The Brain That Changes Itself – Dr Norman Doige

-       Book, Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Khaneman

-       Google, YouTube or Podcast Whim Hof

There’s hundreds of others, but they’re a great start.