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I heard about Dianetics recently, that it is set of ideas and practices which lead a man to effectively use his brain. That common man uses only up to 10% of his brain, but there are methods to significantly improve this.

Is it really helpful to improve our "body and mind"? It is quite unknown for me, and I am not sure that it is not something like religion and if it is suitable for anybody, or only for few percent of population, which is able to understand it and start to practice it.

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Just because Dianetics is bollox doesn't mean the question is. So I +1'ed it. –  xmjx Jan 21 '13 at 9:44
    
You may like this lumosity.com, its based on science, not pseudoscience like dianetics –  marscom Jan 22 '13 at 20:32

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

and I am not sure that it is not something like religion

Dianetics certainly is one of the most important element for the church of Scientology. This and the claims made by the inventor (e.g. healing of certain physical illnesses) makes me think that it is not a suitable method to improve your life in any form.

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Also important to note: Scientology was created because L Ron HUbbard, the founder, bet someone that he could create a religion. He was a (bad) science fiction author and many of the concepts of the religion come from his novels. It's a dangerous cult that's out for your money. –  Joe Baker Feb 2 '13 at 5:55

Use your instincts.

Conscious thinking only uses a small part of your brain. This is because conscious thinking is expensive in resources. Your brain will try to optimize common tasks by 'hardwiring' them.

The 'conscious', decision making part of your brain will override your instinctive part. For example, if you feel angry at someone, your conscious brain will suppress the urge to attack or yell at them. The act of suppression alone is costly, and this is why you'll feel tired under strong emotions.

Your brain does store a significant portion of information in the subconscious of the mind. Driving is a common example of something very complicated, but most people who are experienced drivers can drive and park with little brain activity. It explains why some people are 'drunken masters'; they can do something extremely difficult with little concentration or sober thought.

The key here is that these habitual memories will be accessed on the right triggers. If you see an object moving quickly towards your head, your habits/subconscious/instincts will immediately load the motor controls needed to either move your head away from the object or try to catch it (depending on how you've trained it).

Your conscious brain will always try to override this. If you 'clear your mind', you'll find that the subconscious part will automatically move your body. This is what people refer to as their instincts. It's a useful skill to know when to suppress it, when to listen to it and how to switch between both.

A good way to exhibit your instincts is to play a trivia game. Once questions start repeating, you'll find yourself successfully answering questions you don't even remember. Sometimes you'll know an answer to a question you've never expected to. This is your brain search engine at work, digging up links to associated keywords.

Sleep also does a good job of rearranging (defragging) your memories, so make sure you get enough of it.

Source: Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2011.

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common man uses the brain only up to 10%

It is a myth

So if you want to improve your "body and mind", there are many other methods without religious context. As I understand methods of dianetics is based on mix of psychoanalysis and some shamanic practice. So in my opinion classical psychology and some sort of eastern practise (meditation, yoga, qigong) will be more safely and effective.

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I think the saying is more that "10% of the brain is used for conscious thought", which seems to be glossed over in that wiki article. A large portion of the brain is used for things we don't notice like senses. –  Muz Jan 23 '13 at 3:01

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