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6 Hacks to Improve Brain Productivity

Dr. Philippe Douyon
July 27, 2023
6 Hacks to Improve Brain Productivity

There’s a lot of ways both people and the internet will tell you how to become much more productive in life. Sometimes the answers they’ll give are supplements, pills, or new-age limitless therapy that promises to unlock the remaining 90% of our brains that allegedly aren’t what we’re using. When Dr. Philippe Douyon is asked this in his practice, two things immediately come to mind.

Firstly, the old adage of humans only 10% of their brain has since been disproven. The human mind is in constant communication with its many parts in order to keep the rest of your body’s systems moving in order to keep you alive and moving. And second, there is no magical pill or product that can deliver on the promise of making you more productive. 

A doctor’s job is to help educate their patients in ways that can help improve their quality of life and only prescribe medicinal treatment when you’re sick - and not being productive enough isn’t a disease. What it is is that it’s a problem that can be fixed when approached with the right mindset and strategy. The good news is that the hacks that Dr. Douyon prescribes for everybody are all things that we are well and able to do without extra costs or fancy supplements. These are simple adjustments that are proven to make your quality of life better, train your brain into doing things more consistently and with the least amount of resistance.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to become more productive for a variety of reasons - you want to be more productive so that way you can create the life that you want, live a healthier life to create a bigger and better business for yourself for your employees, and by extension, yours and your employees family and friends. So what are these hacks?

The six hacks for increased productivity are simply:

  1. Laughter
  2. Exercise
  3. Healthy Eating
  4. Sleep
  5. Meditation
  6. Cold Showers

Simple, but if it were easy - everybody would do it. Dr. Douyon recommends these simple hacks alongside having the right mindset around incorporating them into your life.

Laughter: A Key to a Happier, Healthier Life

The expression, ‘laughter is the best medicine’ is a timeless piece of advice for a reason. One of the fundamental life hacks we'll explore today is the power of laughter—a truly remarkable tool for enhancing mental, physical, emotional, and neurological well-being.

Anecdotal evidence and patient stories reveal remarkable instances of laughter aiding in the healing process. From cancer patients experiencing miraculous tumor shrinkage after engaging in comedy marathons to people facing life-threatening diagnoses finding relief and joy through laughter, the impact is undeniable. Laughter triggers a rhythmic diaphragmatic auditory contraction, involving various respiratory structures, and releases endorphins and feel-good hormones like dopamine. These chemical responses not only improve blood pressure but also boost motivation and promote overall physical and mental health.

While laughter should not replace medical treatments or expert advice, it should certainly become a crucial aspect of our daily lives. Incorporating humor and laughter into our routines can create joy and happiness, improving our overall well-being. Embrace the power of laughter, allow it to enhance your mood, and positively impact your brain and body.

Movement: How Exercise Enhances Brain Health

Our bodies are designed to move, and it's not just about physical fitness; exercise plays a crucial role in boosting brain health as well. When we engage in movement, our brains receive vital information from our bodies, leading to improved cognitive function and overall well-being.

Dr. Douyon shares a great biological parallel about the importance of movement on the full podcast episode on  EP3: 6 Hacks to Improve Brain Productivity and more health advice on other topics.

As early humans evolved, movement became essential for survival. Our brains developed larger and more complex structures with billions of neurons to meet the demands of constantly adapting to new environments, hunting, and fleeing from predators. In the modern world, however, many of us spend our days sitting for extended periods, which can have detrimental effects on brain health. The good news is that exercise is a powerful antidote. Exercise promotes neuroplasticity, allowing our brains to make new connections and learn from experiences. It enhances memory, cognitive function, and even aids in healing from prior injuries.

Athletes provide compelling examples of the brain's capabilities when consistently challenged through movement. They exhibit not only exceptional performance in their respective sports but also the ability to excel in diverse areas like languages and business ventures. While you don't have to be a professional athlete to benefit, incorporating regular exercise into your routine can significantly improve brain health and productivity. 

Food: Healthy Eating According to Your Doctor’s Advice

The third brain hack for productivity focuses on our eating habits. The purpose of eating is often overlooked, which is to nourish our bodies for daily activities, promote healing, and prevent illnesses. However, our modern eating patterns involve consuming food for various reasons unrelated to nourishment, leading to detrimental effects on the brain and body. The digestion process, especially with highly processed and inflammatory foods, generates toxic byproducts causing inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. This inflammation can manifest as headaches, brain fog, or even more severe issues like seizures. Making healthier food choices can have a profound impact on our physical, emotional, mental, and neurological well-being, as evidenced by a patient who experienced significant improvement in epilepsy symptoms after cutting soda from her diet.

Rest: Sleep is for the Strong

One of the most underrated factors in having your productivity is evaluating and improving the quality of your rest. Sleep especially, is a crucial life hack for productivity and overall brain health. During deep sleep stages, the brain clears out toxins accumulated throughout the day, and chronic sleep deprivation can increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Sleep also plays a vital role in consolidating memories, so insufficient sleep can lead to memory problems. The recommended sleep duration varies, with most experts suggesting six to eight hours, but anything below four to five hours or over nine hours regularly can be detrimental. To improve sleep quality, one should limit caffeine intake, exercise regularly (avoiding intense workouts before bedtime), and create a sleep-friendly bedroom environment by removing electronic devices and avoiding heavy meals before sleep.

Making these simple adjustments to your sleep routine can have a significant impact on your cognitive abilities and overall well-being, reducing the risk of depression, anxiety, cardiovascular issues, and other health problems associated with poor sleep. Prioritizing good sleep is a valuable investment in your brain's health and your productivity throughout the day.

Meditation: Building Focus in the Silence

To boost brain performance and achieve success, incorporating meditation into your daily routine is a valuable practice. Meditation doesn't necessarily mean silencing the mind; it's about finding moments of stillness and blocking out external distractions. You can meditate in various ways, such as sitting comfortably in a quiet space, walking in a serene environment, or focusing on your breath. Consistency is key, as meditating in the same location tells your brain that this is a dedicated space for this purpose.

Meditation is important because it causes changes in the structure and function of your brain. Think about this, we live in a world that can be pretty stressful. Certainly, the last few years have been stressful for most of us being in a pandemic.” 
- Philippe Douyon

The benefits of meditation are remarkable. It induces structural changes in the brain, promoting neuroplasticity by generating new neurons and connections. By focusing on your breath and being present, meditation signals safety to your body, countering the effects of chronic stress. Moreover, meditation allows you to shift your thoughts towards the life you desire, activating the brain's capacity to seek opportunities that align with your goals, or discovering new ventures you never would’ve considered otherwise. Start with short meditation sessions, even just a minute or 30 seconds, and gradually build the habit to experience its powerful impact on productivity and overall well-being.

Discipline: The Truth Behind Cold Showers

One powerful productivity hack that has been generating excitement is taking cold showers or doing ice plunges. When you expose your body to freezing cold water, it triggers a survival response, causing blood flow to be redirected from your extremities to protect your vital organs, including the brain. With increased blood flow to the brain, you experience heightened alertness, focus, and a surge of dopamine, leading to an overall feeling of well-being. The effects of this practice can last for hours, making it an efficient and natural mood booster that rivals the temporary effects of medication. Moreover, cold showers activate brown fat, contributing to weight loss over time. Though stepping into a cold shower may initially be a challenge, it becomes a mindset shift, setting the tone for an easier, more successful day ahead.

By incorporating cold showers into your routine, you gain not only physical benefits but also significant mental advantages. Feeling down or anxious? A cold shower can quickly uplift your mood and reduce feelings of depression. Even on days when it seems like the hardest thing you'll face, conquering that cold shower sets you up with a victorious mindset, making other tasks throughout the day feel more manageable. So, consider embracing this invigorating practice to unleash its potential to enhance productivity and improve your overall well-being.

A final note

Maximizing productivity and optimizing brain health aren’t impossible - they can be achieved through simple yet powerful life hacks. From embracing the power of laughter to fueling your brain with healthy eating, incorporating regular exercise, prioritizing quality sleep, meditating to build focus, and disciplining yourself with cold showers, these hacks can revolutionize your life. Dr. Douyon emphasizes that there are no magical pills or shortcuts to productivity; rather, it's about making conscious adjustments in our daily routines and mindset. By adopting these practices, you can create a life of joy, success, and improved well-being, not only benefiting yourself but also positively impacting the lives of your loved ones and those around you - maybe enough to start your own podcast to help share your unique perspective with the world. So, take charge of your brain's potential and unleash your productivity with these life-changing hacks!

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