Brain Hack 12/23/20

I listened to this podcast yesterday, and it blew my mind. It’s long, but worth it.

I am an absolute sucker for “brain hacks” and other pseudo-mystical ten-X tech-bro bullshit. Especially when it works. This guy has a lot of information on how the brain works, and the different chemicals that get sent to the various regions when different things happen. Blah, blah. Here are the takeaways that got me excited:

  • Mood follows action. You cannot change your thoughts or your feelings in the moment. Thinking is both deliberate and spontaneous. The latter is uncontrollable. Therefore, you have to focus on action first.
  • Which actions am I talking about? Breathing techniques are coming out as the biggest non-pharmaceutical hack for controlling stress levels, which of course regulates the immune system and our ability to live healthy, creative, beautiful lives.
  • In the 1960s, mad scientists peeled open people’s brains like Hannibal did to Ray Liotta and poked around with electrodes. People alternately felt drunk, happy, horny, and sad. The spot they liked to have stimulated the most, however, was the area related to feelings of mild frustration and anger.

I’m also talking as someone with extreme OCD. The past 24 hours I have simply been allowing the thoughts to occur, understanding that I can’t change them, and acting anyway. This is one of those ideas that I’ve heard a million times…but something about this video made it click for me.

I can’t control my thoughts, but I try to, which leads to a feeling of mild frustration…which is my dopamine-addict brain’s favorite feeling. It will never let me go unless I starve it completely, and find new, productive ways to receive dopamine.

As Huberman says: “Addiction is the progressive narrowing of things that bring us pleasure.”

The way out is by expanding those things.

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