In this article I'll illustrate to you some ways you are likely already participating to some degree in biohacking, and also share some simple techniques and ‘naturally’ derived quantifiable “hacks” available to us all which can help heighten our senses, raise our vibration and improve our wellbeing and longevity.
It’s likely you are familiar with the proverbial saying ‘You Are What You Eat’ based on the notion that it is important to eat good food in order to achieve overall wellness. While this may be true, it is only part of the story. Thinking more holistically, it would perhaps be more apt to suggest “We Are What We Consume’. I'm not just talking about food, but all types of consumption. Our environment, what we listen to, the technology we adopt, the products we use, where we prioritize our time and focus, our physical activity, daily routines, lifestyle choices and so on. All of these things to varying degrees affect our mental, physical and emotional health.
In short, the things we absorb into our physical bodies and multiple senses are inputs into our biology. I.e.: What goes into us affects what comes out of us. Our behaviors, our health, and our performance in all areas of life are outputs. Biohacking is really just about identifying which inputs achieve optimum outputs, and experimentally testing the effect of different tweaks to stack the deck in our favor.
All the things I have explained to this point form the premise of biohacking, however where things can start to get skewed are the varying approaches used and the extremes biohackers will go to in their pursuits. From more common biohacking techniques, such as meditation, taking supplements, intermittent fasting or using health tracking apps, to the opposite end of the spectrum, encompassing such things as inserting technology under their skin, daily sessions in sub-zero cryo-chambers, transfusions of teenagers’ blood, and trying to edit their genes using a DNA altering technique called "Crispr".
Among the more well known Biohacker enthusiasts are:
- Elon Musk who holds the belief that human beings can and should use technology to augment and evolve our species, and hopes to usher in an era of transhumanism with his new brain-computer interface company, Neuralink.
- Bill Maris, founder and former CEO of Google Ventures, who has launched Calico (an acronym for California Life Company), the sole aim of which is to “solve death”.
- Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO’s who often praises the benefits of fasting intermittently and drinking “salt juice” each morning.
- Dr Josiah Zayner, Former NASA scientist and current CEO of ODIN, a company that makes genetic engineering available to consumers at home. Josiah gained notoriety after replacing the entire bacterial population in his body with another humans, saliva, skin and faecal samples, he also famously injected himself with DNA from the gene-editing technology Crispr in front of an audience.
- Dave Asprey, known as the 'Father of Biohacking'. Is the founder of Bulletproof. Over the last two decades Dave has devoted his life to elevating human performance using the latest scientific research combined with ancient healing traditions. His mission is to share with the world the latest discoveries in peak wellness. He has personally spent millions on his own personal quest to slow the normal ageing process and optimise every part of his biology. Notably, Dave is a big fan of the Life Cykel Biohacking Kit and extracts we stock. His personal favourite is the Lion’s Mane extract if you’re looking to ‘hack’ your REM sleep.
Although there are certainly many Biohack's that would not be out of place in a science fiction movie, the fact is many prominent biohacking practices have existed in the daily lives of human beings for thousands of years. If anything, science is finally able to quantify some of that which our ancient ancestors already knew. Shamans of old for example utilised special healing plants, which we now know are loaded with phytonutrients that switch on the genes that create health and switch off the genes that create disease. They used mediation to free their consciousness from their body, and their lifestyle and spiritual practices kept their stress levels low, so they were not plagued with the toxic hormones that keep many Westerners in a constant state of fight-or-flight today.
Whilst Biohacking has become a “buzzword” fuelled by new research and technology coming out all the time, and controversial biohacking practices. I think that many people are putting way too much emphasis on this and not enough on simple techniques and empowering “hacks” that for the most part have been available to us since the beginning of time. Following is a short list that I personally incorporate into my daily life, which you may want to try too. Remember though, no two people are born exactly the same. An input that works for one person may not necessarily have the same output for another. Which is where personal experimentation is required. Listen to your intuition and your body to gain an understanding of what your body most needs and wants (and what it does not), whether that is nutrients, a lifestyle choice, or something else.
To simplify, I have listed (9) actionable biohacks that you can start doing immediately. I have purposefully excluded one of my personal favourite biohacks, which is “Rewilding” because I have already written an entire blog about Rewilding that you can read here should you wish:
Movement, nutrition, laughter, sleep, no alcohol, presence & mindfulness, sound, purpose & gratitude.
1. Movement: Get Outside and Move. One of the most important biohacks you can do for yourself TODAY is to get outside. Getting out into nature away from the urban areas many of us live in is best, but at the very least just get outside.
- Kick your shoes off and walk in the grass
- Expose your body and eyes to as much sunlight as possible
- Take a walk in the forest
- Swim in a lake or at a beach
- Garden and get some dirt on your hands
- Unleash your inner child and ‘play’ (run, jump, roll in the grass)
- Rewild yourself
With mostly processed and refined options stocked in supermarkets, it can be hard to know what we should be eating.
The guidelines for us personally are pretty simple: organic food in its rawest form, local and seasonal as much as possible, and the best are things we have grown ourselves, visit our culinary grow kits here if you are seeking some easy ways to get started growing your own food too.Candice and I currently enjoy a Vegan diet, and have done so for many years. We eat mindfully and include lots of variety, colour and texture throughout every meal. If you want any inspiration you may like to visit some of our shared Recipes here.
When it comes to water, the same guidelines apply. Whenever possible water from a local spring is best. If that isn’t possible, finding pure spring water that comes in glass bottles will do. Candice and I are fortunate to enjoy natural bore hole spring water at our rural home.
If you must drink council tap water, it is a worthwhile investment in your health to filter it. Reverse osmosis is good as well as carbon filters that have a second stage for filtering fluoride and chlorine.
Laughing has a few benefits… :-)
— It reduces stress hormones
— It boosts your immune system
— It makes you happy
- Think about something that stresses you. Maybe a deadline, a conversation you’re second-guessing, or an event you’re not looking forward to.
- Now, pretend you are pointing at it and start laughing out loud. Even if the laugh is pretend, it still works. Your physical state can alter your mental and emotional states.
- Keep laughing while you act out the thing that stresses you. Make it silly.
You’ll feel the stress of the situation melt away. It’s a wonderful feeling.
4. Sleep: or “brain cleansing” will extend your life and help prevent illness by strengthening your immune system. It’s a deep meditative state where you explore your subconscious and the dense ball of neurons in our heads wash themselves, clearing out the metabolic by-products (“toxins”).
The key to sleep is to save the last hour of the day for non-work-related things that let your brain cool down. Other basic steps to mastering this biohack include: no phones in bed, no caffeine many hours before bed, no alcohol before bed (or in our case ever) because among other things it messes with sleep cycles. Maintain a somewhat regular sleep schedule, and keep your bedroom dark—or wear an eye mask if necessary. We also have our Wi-Fi set to automatically turn off an hour before sleep.
We also personally use Reishi Extract to assist our Non REM sleep and Lion's Mane Extract for REM sleep.
*You may want to incorporate technology to monitor your sleep patterns using one of the various apps on the market. We personally don’t, but this is a popular biohack for many to experiment and tweak.
5. Quit Alcohol (or biohack it!):
Did you know Alcohol consumption?
- lowers testosterone
- reduces libido
- kills brain cells
- leads to leaky gut
- makes you overweight
- disrupts sleep
- dehydrates your skin
- is expensive
Obviously, quitting alcohol would provide a boost to our health and performance. The only problem is that quitting is hard! There’s a lot of social and societal pressure to drink.
- Commit to 30 days without alcohol. That’s only 4 weekends. It’s really not too much time. Then use these tips to make it easy.
- Reframe your thoughts. You are not making a sacrifice to quit; you are giving yourself a gift by quitting. Remind yourself about this each day (daily prompt?).
- Tell yourself “I will ONLY drink water or caffeine free tea tonight” rather than “I will NOT drink alcohol”.
- Commit to having the most fun of anyone at the party.
- Try non alcoholic drinks. Yes, drinks exist that are organic, chemical-free, sugar/carb-free, low in alcohol and sulfites (meaning you can drink healthily and not have hangovers!)
- Make early morning plans so you don’t want to stay out late.
- Use this as an opportunity to genuinely care about other people and to learn more about them.
- Don’t apologise to anyone for not drinking, but also don’t judge others for drinking.
- Find a friend to do it with you.
6. Presence & Mindfulness: Mind Full Vs. Mindful
Presence is a state of clarity and flow that enables our peak performance, whilst
Mindfulness is a clear, non-judgmental awareness of the present moment that moves us closer to Presence. The experience of living right now, in this moment, without thoughts of the past or worries of the future.
Normally, we live in our heads. If you stop and ask, “where is my attention right now?”… it’s in your head. You’re thinking. We spend most of our time there.
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally. A way to achieve a state of calm and clarity rather than the chaos of the otherwise typically busy mind.
Studies have shown that mindfulness practice increases memory, and is associated with an increase in reported happiness and a decrease in negative thoughts.
Some tips to help you build mindfulness, clear away fog, and move toward presence are:
- Infuse your activities with intention and attention. Set a clear intention prior to beginning any task rather than operating on a subconscious autopilot. if you bring forth a conscious intention for the activity you’re engaging in, it will activate additional attention on what it is you’re doing.
- Be Aware of Your Breathing. Your breath is always with you; as long as you live, you breathe. The breath, therefore, is an ever-present anchor to the present moment. By bringing your awareness into the fullness of each breath, you ground yourself in the here and now. Deep, full breathing calms the mind, soothes the body, and takes you into the timelessness eternity of each moment. In the middle of any activity that is pulling your mind into the past or the future, settle into your breath and come home to the now.
- Place Your Attention in Your Body. You don’t have a body and a mind—you have a body-mind. The body-mind is a unified, inseparable whole being that is in a state of constant communication with itself at every level. When you shift your attention to your body, you begin to eavesdrop on a symphony of sensations, subtle nuances, vibrations, pressures, temperatures, and movements. Think about it, nearly all of your waking energy is directed outward. When you turn your awareness inward, you begin to have a genuine in-body experience. Feeling the body during any activity or experience or directing your focus to one or more of your senses whilst in a meditative state helps you to be more mindful and aware of the here and now.
- Notice the detail. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, let your awareness penetrate deeply into everything you notice. A vast universe of amazing complexity and fascinating detail lies in front of you, waiting to be unmasked. Everything you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel is made up of molecules, atoms, and vibration of energy within an infinite field of consciousness. Beauty is all around you if you are paying attention.
- Daily Meditation Practices. The habit of meditation is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever learned. It’s also one of the most simple habits to do. You can do it anywhere, any time, and it will always have immediate benefits. While there are many types of meditation, the practice can be as simple as paying attention to your breath while sitting, walking, showering, doing yoga or even when swimming laps. Anywhere and during just about any situation where you can feel comfortable and relax really. It can take just one or two minutes if you’re busy. There’s no excuse for not doing it, when you simplify the meditation habit.
When you make everyday experiences mindful, you take the ordinary ‟stuff” of your life and transform it into a pathway toward enlightenment.
7. Sound: Neuroscientists have discovered that certain types of music and/or sounds can help you achieve various states. When sound waves hit your eardrums and are transferred to your brainstem. The locus coeruleus, or decision-making parts of your brain, are impacted by the frequency, and listening to the right kind of sound inputs can enhance outputs. So choose your music consciously with intentional purpose. Is it simply for entertainment to drown out boredom or negative thoughts? Are you wanting to enhance your mood, build your energy, or perhaps dance? Or is the purpose to relax, meditate or focus?
To dig deeper into audio as a biohack, it’s important to understand how the brain works at a high level.
Your brain has 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. When this activity is measured with an EEG, the result is a wave-like pattern called a brainwave.
The frequency of this brainwave depends on what you are doing.
- 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 unconscious mind.
- Delta (0.1–4 Hz): deep dreamless sleep, restorative, complete loss of awareness.
In a process called Frequency Following Response, a consistent sound wave has been shown to change our brainwaves.
* Research has shown that nature sounds or binaural beats help meditators create awareness 8x faster than traditional meditation.
8. Purpose: Chasing happiness is not a biohack. Chasing purpose is.
The difference is sort of subtle, because when people feel purpose in their lives, they tend to feel happy. But the primary intention is what matters. If you chase happiness itself, the utilitarian part of your mid-brain will likely lead you to the most expedient path to the strongest hit of dopamine. Often those come to us through substances and screens. These hits can become addictions, no longer giving happiness. Chasing purpose reverses the order: You take up something that doesn’t initially reward you, but pays off, neurotransmitter-wise, in dividends later.
Notably the four wisdom seeds we make all of our decisions around at Eden Tree Eco are Purpose, Presence, Passion & Prosperity.
9. Gratitude: Develop a daily gratitude practice.
We can think about the same experience in many different ways. If we are grateful, we positively change our perspective on the events in our lives.
- Gratitude Journal. At its simplest, just write down 3 things you are grateful for each night.
- Five Minute Journal. Answer three questions each morning and two before bed. Puts you in the right mindset to start and end your day.
- Gratitude Walk. Be very present and feel gratitude for everything you see and experience during that short walk. Try to feel the gratitude in your heart.
- Gratitude at meal time. Cultivate a habit of thanking your food before you eat it. Taking the time to have a mindful moment before you eat your meal can help with your digestion as well as your fullness cues. Appreciating what is on your plate—the colours and smells, as well as the texture and taste when you take your first bite—allows you to slow down so you chew every bite and are able to stop when you are full.
Gratitude is a daily practice, similar to meditation. Like meditation, it becomes more natural over time. In fact, gratitude and meditation are two peas in the same pod.
Remember: What you put into your body affects what you get out. In this case, your thoughts create the world you experience. If you put gratitude in, you get gratitude out.
I like to think that somewhere deep inside of us there is a genetic blueprint for the most perfect version of ourselves, and when we tinker with our environment and ourselves we either bring about alignment with, or suppress this ideal blueprint.
Beyond the tips I have offered in this article, If you'd like to dip your toes further into the deep ocean of biohacking, I invite you to explore our website which includes many goods, services and resources we offer that also promise to support your holistic wellness and flow lifestyle. Including growing your own food, plant-based meal recipes, apothecary, reducing or removing toxins from the household and your body, aromatherapy, meditation and spiritual growth.
Most obviously to the nature of this article is The Biohacker set of functional mushroom extracts we stock, which are known to enhance a variety of areas in your life from energy and stamina with Cordyceps, cognitive abilities and REM sleep with Lion’s Mane, reduced stress and anxiety with Reishi along with Non-REM sleep, gut health and immunity with Turkey Tail, radiance with Shiitake, to all round health with Chaga.
I hope you enjoy testing and measuring the hacks I have listed throughout this article. I would love for you to share in the comments any biohacks you personally use that you swear by.