Biohacking is all about understanding how your body ticks and then varying some behaviours (like what you eat, when you sleep and so on) to make sure that everything works as efficiently as possible. Sounds great, right? Find out how to get cracking right here.
Srsly, what is it?
Biohacking is a mixture of biology and hacking (a term often applied to computing, but which generally refers to improving something). It covers a massive range of things you can do to help yourself be a super-efficient machine of a person. Some are simple (like pausing to take deep breaths when things are getting too much) and some are crazy extreme (like inserting magnets and computer chips under the skin – look, just don’t even think about it, OK?).
When you do an experiment in science, you look for reasons why certain things happen, track variables and carefully record the results. If you monitor your body’s behaviour using the same tactics, it’s possible to modify your body’s actions to make sure you always get a good outcome.
For example, if you want to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, you could track what time you go to bed, what time you wake up, what you do before bed, the temperature of your bedroom, whether the window is open or closed and most importantly, how rested you feel the next day. After a while, you might look at what you did on nights when you had a good sleep and see a pattern emerge, so you can start doing the things that help you feel rested every single night. See: it’s science!
Wanna give it a try? Here are a few easy ways to jump onto the biohacking bandwagon.
Pimp your environment
The places we spend most of our time can seriously affect the way we feel. We often spend far too much time around stuffy central heating, air conditioning, too much noise and no fresh air. Even on a cold day, opening a window for a few minutes will give you a boost. Experiment with listening to different kinds of music while you do different tasks and see which help you concentrate, relax or get energised the best. Fill your room with plants to improve air quality. Get to know what works for your mind and body and then repeat it!
Meditate to feel great
There’s so much talk about meditation being a brilliant way to help us all feel better, and biohackers seem to agree. Being able to focus on tasks deeply and without distraction is a sure-fire way to get great results in school work and exams, and learning to recognise when our minds are beginning to wander is the first step towards this. Spending some time meditating can help anyone learn how to keep their mind on track. Download a meditation app or look for a guided meditation on YouTube to give it a shot.
Many biohackers look to how our ancestors lived to remind us of what our bodies were originally designed to do. Slumping on the sofa staring at screens might be cosy, but it ain’t the one: it’s all about getting outdoors, breathing fresh air, seeing the sun and being in nature. It’s a really easy way to get more energy and feel better, fast.
Nutrition: woah, this is a big one. We already know that how we fuel our bodies has a huge impact on how we feel and perform, but some biohackers take this to the next level by tracking what they eat in great detail. If that sounds a bit involved, here are some entry level yums to try:
Carrot and celery juice are great, natural ways of helping digestion.
Leafy greens like kale, watercress and cabbage are packed full of nutrients.
Cinnamon is full of vitamins and minerals (as well as tasting amazing).
Switching to a positive mindset is a simple way to feel more relaxed and happy. Writing a gratitude journal is a brilliant way to reset your mind. Just grab a notebook or diary and take two minutes before you go to bed to write down three good things that have happened in the day. Even on the worst day ever, there will usually have been the odd moment that made you smile (like someone making you a great cup of tea, or finding your favourite pair of socks at the back of the drawer). This should put you in the perfect state of mind for a good night’s sleep and to wake up ready to go, go, go the next day!
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Image: Yoga Hosers