Writer Caroline Williams struggled with mental focus, so she spent a year hacking her brain.
“I would misplace things and put things into my [datebook] on the wrong dates,” she tells The Post. “My family and I once arrived to the airport a day late because I put in the start of our vacation incorrectly. We had to re-book the flight and spend the night in a hotel.”
Williams chronicles her attempt to improve her focus and other cognitive abilities in her new book “My Plastic Brain: One Woman’s Yearlong Journey To Discover If Science Can Improve Her Mind” (Prometheus Books).
Over the course of her quest to think more efficiently, Williams visited research labs in the US and Europe. She had her brain stimulated with magnets and electric shocks and performed various tasks to build mental muscle and accomplish various goals. Magnets and electricity were used to reroute some thoughts and block others. She came to recognize the ideal state of mind for different types of mental chores, which was eye-opening.
“I had been going about things all wrong,” she says. “I would struggle to concentrate when I had a deadline and really stress myself out. Through researching the book, I learned that the better way to go about it, when you can’t focus but you have to, is to do some exercises, get into the right state and try again … Learning to give myself a bit of a break when I am not in the right zone was a revelation.”
Read on to see how Williams fared with various lab experiments — and how you can hack your own brain at home.