As you grow older, the general consensus is that Christmas becomes less about gifts, elves and stockings and more about time-off, seeing your family and eating so much you think you’re going to burst. However, I’ve never been one for the general consensus and I still get very excited about the range of awesome gifts I can either give or receive.
From the latest neurotech gadgets and mind-boggling therapies to captivating books and unforgettable excursions, Christmas provides the perfect excuse for expanding our minds. Plus, it’s impossible to get stuck in a boring conversation with your weird uncle if you throw in fascinating snippets about meditation, memories and moonwalking with Einstein.
To get you started, here’s my top five mind-enhancing gifts that should be on your Christmas list.
If you’re into meditation and mind-training, the Kasina Mind Media System is a game-changer. Resembling an iPod with a few more features, the Kasina is especially helpful for those who appreciate meditation’s stress-relieving powers, but struggle to get to that meditative state. Using a combination of light and sound, the Kasina works like a tuning fork by helping you get into the meditative state of your choice (e.g. focus energy, night voyage or trance etc.) in a matter of minutes. Instead of getting caught-up in a Christmas family squabble, plug in the ear buds, put on the spacey glasses and let the Kasina transport you on a mind-bending journey that helps you tap into your subconscious-self.
From the deep dreamless state of Delta to the working conscious state of Beta, our knowledge of brainwaves and their functions is ever-expanding. Gamma waves, however, are the new frontier of brain training. Previously dismissed as just ‘brain noise’, the fast and high frequency Gamma waves have recently been found to be highly active when in spiritual states, such as love, feelings of blessing and altruistic endeavours. They also positively impact our memory and are used to address hard-to-treat brain diseases like Alzehiemer’s. Yogis train for years to increase their Gamma activity and reach an enlightened state, but thanks to these gadgets you can just slump on the sofa and give yourself a brain workout moments after devouring your tenth mince pie.
Light therapy sessions
From treating joint pain and injuries to improving muscle recovery and blood circulation, Infrared rays have long been associated with fitness and beauty, but they can also boost brain cell activity and cognitive performance too. Often we feel sluggish and struggle to remember things when our bodies are ‘zapped’ (just think about your productivity after the Christmas break), but light therapy tackles that inflammation to sharpen our focus, promote new cell turnover and enhance our capacity for memory and learning. Two of the best technologies around are Joovv (for personal home treatment) and NovoThor (which offers its light spa treatment at a range of locations).
Strap on your seat belts and get ready for a mind-blowing trip into the world of the brain. Leonard Mlodinow’s book is a rollercoaster ride around the subliminal mind and how it influences the way we experience the world around us. Mlodinow concisely dilutes complex subjects into accessible anecdotes, which not only explain how our subconscious is in control of how we behave, think and remember, but also shows that with greater understanding we can learn how to influence it more. It’s the best book for anyone who wants a rationale, funny and in-depth look at how the subconscious works and will also provide you with infinite excuses for your behaviour over the festive period.
Ok, so it’s not a new book, but the ‘classics’ never are. Moonwalking with Einstein is my go-to book on memory: a fascinating exploration of the mind through card counting. In short, the book follows Joshua Foer as he tries to improve his memory. Using a mixture of scientific tricks and cultural techniques, Foer plunges the depths of his mind, wins the 2006 US Memory Championship (he memorises a deck of 52 cards in a record 1 minute and 40 seconds) and learns how we all are the sum of our memories. I can’t think of a better stocking filler.
Wishing you a very merry, mince-pie filled, memorable Christmas!!!
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