"For biohackers, “just living” isn’t enough." While the practice of biohacking dates back to way-back-when, it’s become a recent trend that has nearly every second Tom, Dick, and Harry reconsidering their lifestyles. Everyone who’s anyone now once a piece of the biohacking pie!
Life is tough, to say the least, and many of us are constantly grasping at straws to just barely survive the punches that life throws. But what if you were told that it doesn’t all have to be so drab and exhausting? What if you could grab hold of that steering wheel and “own” and control your own life for the good?
“Owning it” is the crux of what biohacking is all about. It’s a journey into self-discovery, health, happiness, and being ultimately content.
What is Biohacking?
Let’s slow things down, in fact, let’s take a step back. What, exactly, is biohacking?
“Biohacking is the process where you reorganise your lifestyle so that you constantly feel happy and healthy – often reaching levels of euphoria. Essentially, it hints at one’s ability to “manipulate” your body’s biology so that you are in a better physical, mental, and emotional state.
Let’s look at this example:
When you consider the timeless saying “you are what you eat” – we know from experience that we are likely to feel bloated and nauseous if we eat unhealthy, greasy foods. When we eat healthy meals, however, then we feel good about ourselves and our bodies are lively. But have you ever considered the broader meaning of this phrase?
When one embarks on a biohacking journey, the primary focus is on everything that we put into our bodies. This includes food, the things we think about, how we move, and what we listen to. Biohacking is the correlation between how one feels and behaves after “feeding” the body with all thins “good”.
Many say that biohacking results in a body transformation that has endless physical and mental health benefits. It’s one way to evolve so that you can become the best possible version of yourself - all by simply paying attention to what you “feed” yourself.
Does it Really Work?
While many may argue and totally debunk the theory, others swear by the process.
But, because there is no actual scientific evidence that biohacking does, in fact, work, the drawn consensus is that there is no harm in partaking in this scientific journey into self-discovery.
Where To Start?
When you decide to start biohacking then the concept can be a little daunting and at first, you may feel overwhelmed. This is why we will talk you through the fundamentals so that you can understand the pieces of the puzzle that form the bigger picture.
Remember that what you “feed” your body is what makes the ultimate “you”.
1. Genetic Profiling – Get to Know Yourself Better
Many biohackers commence their journey with studying their DNA profile. DNA profiling/genetic profiling is a process where people research their own DNA to discover inherited strengths and weaknesses.
Home DNA kits have made it possible for anyone to do a DNA test without having to go to a doctor for assistance. All you need to do now is purchase a kit, collect your sample, and then send it off to the relative lab. The laboratory will then email you your results and other relative information.
You can use this data to see where your focus should lie in terms of your health. For example, does your genetic history include a common pattern of high blood pressure or diabetes? Perhaps you carry the gene for Alzheimer’s? By having an idea of what could happen with to body, you could possibly avoid diseases by taking the necessary precautions.
2. Eat Healthy and Nutritious Food
As the saying goes – “you are what you eat”! Sticking to a nutritious diet is an essential component of biohacking but the process goes beyond consuming your proteins and greens. Biohacking focuses on your APOE gene. The APOE gene determines how a body breaks down fat and to what extent. Generally, there are 3 APOE gene variants that one could have and each person needs to follow a diet according to their own body’s variant.
Ketosis is also popular in biohacking.
Ketosis is a diet that relies on fat to energise the body instead of sugar. Because 78% of the population has the APOE3 gene variant (which allows their bodies to process fat faster than any other sources of energy, such as sugar), the Ketosis diet is one lifestyle changer that will have noticeable effects on your body and mind.
The Ketosis diet typically presents itself as follows:
• 75% fats
• 15% proteins
• 10% carbohydrates
When it comes to exercising then gaining momentum is always the hardest part. We know it is good for us but do we really want to wake up at the crack of dawn to run around the block? If you really want to biohack your life into shape, then your answer to this will be a BIG YES!
Staying active is another technique used for one’s overall health. Whether it be gentle strolls in the park or vigorous CrossFit sessions, exercise improves our mental, physical, and emotional health.
4. Gain an appreciation for nature
Sometimes discussed as “rewilding”, finding a new appreciation for nature involves instigating our biological roots and our natural habitats that kept us healthy centuries ago. Essentially, it means and practicing de-evolution (this is indeed a thing).
Ways to “rewild” can include:
- Eating wild and living foods.
- Drinking unprocessed spring water.
- Getting a good dose of fresh air.
- Exposing one’s self to sunlight.
It’s all about going back to basics, really. Eating raw plant-based foods, drinking water from natural streams, focused breathing, and a healthy dose of natural light are all ways one can re-stablish a relationship with the fundamentals of nature.
Have you ever considered that maybe traditional Buddhists have been right in their practises all along? Perhaps mindfulness and meditation are, in fact, the path to a happy and content life?
If you want to attempt biohacking, then meditation is one practise that will change how you feel inside as well as how you see things from the outside (a different perspective). You can then consciously work on creating your desires, your feelings, and your overall behaviour.
Meditation can easily be done at home, at the office, in a park, and even in your car! Or you can try out more dedicated practices like neurofeedback and 40 Years of Zen. Either way, when one makes a conscious act of focusing on and observing their emotions and thoughts, then a path is cleared for more rational thinking. Now you can create solutions to your problems instead of being clouded by endless irrational thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
6. Stand up tall
As humans, we’re not designed to sit for hours on end (although for many, this is now a common lifestyle). Sitting for many hours at a time does take its toll, however, and can lead to many health problems - including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
One very simple way of hacking your way to a healthier life is to perfect your posture. Seems a little silly – but it’s true!
We are so used to hunching our backs and shoulder that getting into the habit of straitening our back and neck can be quite the challenge. When we follow biohacking, the goal is to reduce the instances where we impair our muscles and joints by reducing the amount of time that we spend sitting down.
Why not try some of the following posture-correcting routines:
- Foam rolling
- Engage your abs while you walk and sit
- Keep your neck in a neutral position when you are at your desk
- Keep your shoulders straight
- Stretch your muscles frequently
If you can maintain a good posture, then you will give your blood the opportunity to move more freely through your body. This will help enhance your overall health.
7. Hack into your brain
Brain “hacking” is similar to meditation in that it requires you to focus on your thought processes by, well, thinking positively! Psychologists and spiritualists have been backing up the idea of “positive thinking” for centuries and more recently, biohackers are running with the same idealism.
By “thinking” your way to health and happiness you can “trick” your body into being content. From saying affirmations and creating visualisation boards to simply turning every negative thought into a good one - many agree that positive thinking does, indeed, work.
8. Show gratitude
Like meditation, gratitude should be incorporated into your life so that you start to see the world from a different perspective. This means that you would need to look at the glass half full and as a negative thought enters your mind, you will need to quickly rearrange it to see it in a more positive light.
For example, in a scenario where you have to listen to a banker try and offer you a loan that you have “qualified” for over the phone, you could have one of two reactions:
A negative reaction:
“This is such a waste of my time! I cannot stand these people who have nothing better to do with their time – all they want is my money!”
“That call took some time but now I do know where to go if I am ever in need of financial assistance”
Essentially - the more grateful you are, the more you will have to be grateful for (if that makes sense). Like meditation, gratitude will become a natural process over time but to get into the swing of things you can focus on the following techniques:
- Write in a gratitude journal and keep a note of what you are grateful for.
- Write a letter of gratitude to someone you appreciate or look up to.
- Take a few moments every day to think about what you are grateful for and what you love about life.
9. Avoid Stress
Easier said than done, I know! However, if you really want to work on your overall health, then stress is one factor that must be removed from your lifestyle.
Did you know that feelings of stress will automatically start to reduce when meditation and gratitude are a part of your lifestyle? Regular exercise will also help!
Try to resist stressful situations as much as you can. Remember to breathe and to always focus on the bigger picture!
If you can train yourself to resist the feelings of stress, then the mental and physical health benefits can be astronomical.
10. Sleep and sleep some more
Biohackers take the concept “sleep more live more” very seriously. If you are not getting enough rest then your body will never be able to cope effectively.
The first suggestion is to get into a good rhythm of going to bed at the same time every night and then setting your alarm for the same time every morning. Your body will soon adjust to this routine – and thank you for it.
If sleep doesn’t come easily to you then you might want to research some helpful sleeping techniques. Removing electronics from the room (they can be distracting) may help and essential oils and meditative music can also help one to fall asleep.
You want to get a good 7- 9 hours of solid sleep every day.
The Bottom Line…
While this might seem like quite a life-changing concept to grasp, it’s important to remember that biohacking is not something that happens overnight i.e. your mental and physical well-being will not change overnight. It could even take a couple of years before you start to experience the results. This means that you should view it as an investment into your “self”.
You also do not need to rush and delve into every technique straight away. You can start each of the steps listed above slowly and one at a time. If you make drastic changes too quickly, then your body could go into shock.
Biohacking is a process that requires dedication. You also need to ensure that you are following healthy practices at all times (always consult with a Dr first when you change your lifestyle).