If you are reading this it means you are ready to start biohacking your life. Congratulations on reaching this point, it will be an amazing journey! In this post I will go through five easy steps you can take today to improve your life.
Technology has been more and more present in our lives throughout the last decades. Along with it’s growing importance, the term hacker became part of our culture. A computer hacker is any skilled computer expert that uses their technical knowledge to overcome a problem. While “hacker” can refer to any skilled computer programmer, the term has become associated in popular culture with a “security hacker”, someone who, with their technical knowledge, uses bugs or exploits to break into computer systems. even though the term biohacking sounds like taken out of a science-fiction novel, it’s really all about self-improvement. It covers a wide domain, from do-it-yourself at home projects to high-tech lab experiments that intend to change your chemistry and physiology in order to enhance your body.
The whole idea is that you can change your body and brain in order to become smarter, faster and better human beings, working your way to becoming a superhuman.
There are many things you can change about your lifestyle in order to hack your way towards the goal, so it might be daunting at first. It is important to take it slow and be dedicated in order to be able to keep going. I would recommend a few easy steps you can take without purchasing any devices or making any investments.
1. START YOUR DAY WITH WATER
What is the first thing you do after getting up in the morning? Your morning rituals affect your whole day in some way or the other.
Our bodies are more than 60 percent water and, unfortunately, this makes us quite prone to dehydration. By the time you actually feel thirsty, the body is already a bit dehydrated. Also, oftentimes you feel hunger when the body needs water, because we, as human beings, used to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables that contain water, and the brain is trying to tell you you need water. Getting a good six to eight hours of sleep is great, but that is a long time to go without any water consumption. That’s why drinking a glass of water right after waking up is a good way to rehydrate your body quickly. It also helps you with moving the lower bowels for regularity in the mornings.
The benefits of drinking water in the morning go beyond the physical: if you help your body hydrate when you wake up, you feel you have made something good for yourself right from the start of the day, and you are more likely to continue with healthy choices throughout the day.
Gratitude has been influencing our lives for decades. Most of the religions (including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Hinduism) encourage cultivating gratitude as an important moral virtue. Philosophers have also been debating about it: according to Cicero, gratitude is not just “the greatest virtue,” it is also “the mother of all other remaining virtues.”
Numerous studies are demonstrating how gratitude journaling can increase one’s happiness. Others show that inflammation in one’s body can decrease. Each study offers insights into how a person can improve their overall health and well-being.
As Summer Allen from Greater Good Science Center wrote in the whitepaper “The Science of Gratitude” (2018), there are multiple benefits to practicing gratitude:
- increased happiness and positive mood
- more satisfaction with life
- less materialistic
- less likely to experience burnout
- better physical health
- better sleep
- less fatigue
- lower levels of cellular inflammation
- greater resiliency
- encourages the development of patience, humility, and wisdom
The way we view life has a huge effect on our moods and our general levels of fulfillment. When you are consistently grateful for everything that comes your way you become more focused on the positive. Do you find adopting this type of attitude difficult? Biohacking can help! Changing your mindset is really nothing more than practice. You need to consistently instruct your brain to see the positive in every situation until it becomes second nature. The best tool I found for this is a gratitude journal. You write everyday tree to five things you are grateful for. This helps you focus on the positive and recall all the good things you experienced throughout the day.
I use this app, and I find it great:
You can read more about the benefits of practicing gratitude in post.
3. COLD SHOWER
Cold showers offer benefits to the body and could help improve health in a dozen ways, from relaxing the mind to improving the skin and to reducing fats. At the end of your morning shower, try switching to cold water. start with the right foot (farthest from the heart), then the left foot followed by the right hand, left hand and the whole body. At first, you will most likely hate it, but just try to resist for 5-15 seconds. After a few days it will not bother you anymore and slowly you will start loving the sensation.
Here are ten reasons to pick up this habit:
- improves immunity
- improves blood circulation
- promotes fat loss
- lowers stress
- lowers the chances of depression
- increases testosterone levels
- improves fertility
- speeds up muscle recovery
- enhances skin
- boosts lymphatic system activity
4. INTERMITTENT FASTING
We can’t have a conversation about biohacking and health without touching the diet topic. There will be another article about what you should eat, but for now, we will focus on WHEN to eat. Intermittent fasting is a biohacking diet that regulates your nutrients intake. It is more of an eating pattern than a diet, as it does not regard what you eat.
Fasting has been a practice throughout human evolution. Ancient hunter-gatherers didn’t have supermarkets, refrigerators or food available year-round. Sometimes they couldn’t find anything to eat. As a result, we evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time. Fasting is actually more natural to us than always eating 3–6 meals per day.
When it comes to food intake, the human organism can have three states: fed, post-absorptive and fasted.
The fed state begins when you start eating and lasts tree, up to five hours after that, until your body manages to digest the food. While in this state, your body is focused on digesting the food, while the insulin levels are high and your body can’t process stored fat. The post-absorptive state lasts for eight up to twelve hours after a meal, and only after this the body enters the fasting state. Because it takes so long to reach this state, it is rare that a body stays in this state in normal circumstantial. While in the fasted state, there are a couple of benefits you experience: the level of growth hormones increases up to five times the normal levels, the insulin levels drop and the body can now process stored fat, and some studies concluded that it can even decrease the levels of “bad” cholesterol.
There are many types of intermittent fasting, but the most popular ones are:
- 16/8 (also called the Leangains protocol): you basically restrict your eating period to 8 hours, and fast the next 16.
- stop-and-eat: once or twice a week you fast for 24 hours
Many people find the 16/8 method to be the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to stick to.
If fasting for 16 hours sounds daunting, you can start with a shorter interval for a week or two. For example, you can try to go for 14 hours.
5. FUNCTIONAL MUSIC
The human brain has over 100 billion neurons that use electricity to talk to each other. At any moment, millions of neurons are talking at once, which produces a lot of electrical activity. If you place electrodes on specific sites on the scalp to detect and record the electrical impulses within the brain, you can use an EEG (electroencephalograph) to measures brainwaves of different frequencies within the brain.
The main brain frequency groups are:
- Beta (14–30 Hz): awake, concentrated, alert. We spend most of the day here.
- Alpha (8–14 Hz): meditative state, awake but relaxed, twilight state between sleep and waking, improved memory recall.
- Theta (4–8 Hz): light dreaming, access to the unconscious mind.
- Delta (0.1–4 Hz): deep dreamless sleep, restorative, complete loss of awareness.
A reliable way to change your brainwaves is through a consistent sound wave. You can use Brain.fm to access programs specifically designed for you. This is a paid service, so if you don’t want to go that far, you can still change your mood and mindset by simply listening to your favorite music.
Biohacking is a very wide domain, and it is yet in its early stages. Great things are about to come, and I am very excited about the future.
Becoming a biohacker is a great experience, and it is up to you how deep you want to dive. There are many things you can try, but I tried to gather here five easy steps you can take today to improve your life.
There is a saying that goes “if it’s not scheduled, it won’t happen”. So decide when you want to start, mark it in your calendar and give these five steps a try!