As I published my brainhack article… I realized I’ve forgotten something (ironic?).

What to avoid.

For example, you may have noticed how on that list, I haven’t included the likes of “screw (alone or not), stuff your face, or have a Netflixathon”. Worry not. I didn’t forget those items. They’ve been intentionally left out only because I’ve done the field research in this area and can successfully conclude the following: they don’t work. I mean, don’t get me wrong. That stuff has its functional purposes sometimes. For instance, for me, when I binge on McDougall’s salty noodles and wake up with Fugu face, it’s like I’m getting a painful regretful reflective review of a lesson I already knew but needed to be reminded of. Or when I erupt into an emotional volcano three days after casually forking a friend, I know (under my nice comfy quilt of denial) that’s probably the reason why. Bummer right? Would be so awesome if immediate gratification in lieu of rectifying the problem were the answer. But, unfortunately, all they do is cause a problem-metastasis in your brain once the high of them’s passed. Then all you’ve got is the problem still being there and lost time.

But what about those ten activities, you ask?

They waste time you could be spending solving the problem too – don’t they? Yes and no. They take time, but it’s only a “waste” if you’re wasting your brain’s reserves during the time you’re not actively working toward a solution. Movies and sex and food are fitting for some contexts. But if you’re doing any of them as an avoidance activity to anesthetize the pain of a to-do list you’re dreading, then you’re just using them to passively pacify your noisy mind, escape, and depart reality. During these times, your brain does nada. (Except get better at abandoning actuality.) On the contrary, when you actively connect, create, or indulge novelty, you’re reframing your brain. Most of the problem behind anxiety is the current status brain filter through which you’re viewing your issues. Once that filter becomes a racetrack, the old hopelessness feeling starts to set in and before you know it that vein in your forehead’s popping out and you’re looking under the couch for that Klonopin bottle you lost a year ago and just know is around here somewhere. Change that view-finder’s settings, though, and you’re golden. Might take a li’l effort. But if you can’t change the way you’re seeing a specific problem, then the next best thing is to pull the neural rug out from under it and change your brain’s layout altogether.

Hope this explanache helps you pick up the “remote”.

‘cause half of brain-changing is the belief that there might be something better on another station.