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Brain Hack #28: Onar

Many people have the impression that being creative is a talent: some people have it, some people don’t. However, neurobiologists have a greater understanding of how the different parts of the brain interact with each other, and have realized something. The state of mind which fosters creativity is something which can be induced, exploited, and yes…hacked! In fact, people have been doing it for years.

A few years ago, we came across a few books (Mind HacksMind Performance Hacks) on mind-hacking. The books are a great source of cool things one can do to the brain without the use of chemicals and their associated side-effects. Whenever we have some time on our hands, we flip through the books and select something to try. We, of course, are no strangers to messing with the brain of our interns. However, when we learned that one particular Brain Hack involved naps, we decided to investigate it ourselves.

Hack #28 is for anyone interested in leveraging the unconscious mind as a means to stimulate the formation of ideas during hypnagogic sleep. We have all experienced that weird transition state between being awake and falling asleep. Well, that is the hypnagogic sleep state.

There are a few ways to perform this hack, but the basic steps are:

  • Find a comfortable place to sit or lie back (armchair, bed)
  • Hold in your hand something which will make a sound when dropped. We are using a pair of Chinese Medicine Balls. They make a twangy sound when shaken.
  • Close your eyes and think about the problem you are hoping to solve
  • Allow your mind to drift, but try to hold onto the problem for as long as possible
  • At some point, the object you are holding will fall out of your hands and make a noise, waking you up.
  • Record any interesting thoughts while you were in the quasi-sleep state.
  • Repeat.

Obviously, this brain hack can be done without any of the props we are using (Chinese Medicine BallsBoogie Board LCD tablet), but what would be the fun of that? We will give the hack a try and report back with some of our ramblings. Who knows, maybe we’ll come up with the next Instagram-like idea! If nothing else, at least we will have had a nice refreshing nap.

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