Biohacking
Biohacking

Mental Wellbeing Biohacks

With the new day comes renewed strength, new thoughts, different feelings, and the opportunity for new actions.

Mental Wellbeing and health is most often linked to our brain, and our brain’s capabilities.

Why do we have a brain in the first place? Not to write books, articles or plays; not to do science or play music. Brains develop because they are an expedient way of managing life in a body.’ – Antonio Damasio – Neuroscientist and Professor of Psychology, Philosophy, and Neurology at the University of Southern California.

Why do we have a brain?

It is the Conductor of our ecosystem, AKA (as known as) our body. As Damasio says it’s the way in which we manage our body, and as an extension of this, the way we manage our Journey called life. When we’re brain-fit, we blend our thinking and feeling to make better daily (& life) choices, as well as the most optimal decisions for ourselves. These need to be ‘optimal’, relevant and specific for this ‘point in time’ on our life journey.

We have dispelled the myth that we only use 10% of our brain.
We also know that we can’t just ‘think our way out of adversity, trauma or suffering.
Emotional Intelligence is the magnificent sweet spot in the intersect between thinking, feeling and acting. This is a stool with three legs. We’re focusing on Mental resilience, as one leg in this article. But of course the other two legs are equally important and necessary for overall resilience (a sturdy stool). From a Mental Resilience perspective are you thinking about your feelings as well as how you ‘act’ / operate your daily life? What are you choosing to do, or choosing not to do?

This year, for the first time someone voluntarily (& without an injury) pulled out of the Olympics (Tokyo 2020). Simone Biles pulled out of the Team Gymnastics Finals saying that her mental health is more important than sports. She wrote on her Instagram (just a day before) about feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders, and she had therefore decided that she needed to just stop. She also cited Naomi Osaka as an inspiration.

For the first time in professional tennis, a super star (the second ranked woman in tennis) Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open, citing concerns for her mental health.

Let’s openly talk about mental wellbeing and the fact that we can, and should be prioritising daily mental self-care habits and routines!
As the Roman philosopher, Lucius Senera says ‘The only thing we own, is our mind’.

What are the bio-hackers suggesting?
Here are a few simple, practical and implementable tips.

  1. POSITIVE PODCASTS, NOT NEGATIVE NEWSFEEDS TO START YOUR DAY.
    Own your ‘lens’ on the world at the start of the day. This changes your personal view finder for the day. ‘Ringfence’ yourself and stop watching and listening to the news for a while. Rather be in control of what you ‘mentally absorb, especially at the start of the day.Here are a few Podcasts that will uplift you:

    1.  ‘Happier’ with Gretchen Rubin
    2.  ‘High Performance Mindset’ with Dr Cindra Kamphoff
    3.  ‘Better than Yesterday’ with Oscher Günsberg
    4.  ‘Tiny Leaps, Big Changes’ with Gregg Clunis
    5.  ‘Live Happy Now’
    6.  ‘A bit of Optimism’ with Simon Sinek
  2. REHYDRATE & CAFFEINATE AS SOON AS YOU WAKE UP.
    Your brain dehydrates overnight. If your brain is 2 % dehydrated you won’t feel good. If your brain is 5% dehydrated you’ll feel a sense of brain fog, making you feel miserable, and ‘low’. Your brain is really ‘busy’ while you sleep. If you have a good, restorative night’s sleep, your brain willactively flush out toxins (called beta amyloid) that accumulate on a daily basis. Waking up feeling slightly dehydrated is normal, and in fact good. This is not the case, however, if you imbibed too much ‘amber liquid’ (alcohol) the night before.Kick-start your day by rehydrating your brain with a glass of water. This sounds boring, so here are a few ‘biohacks’ that add both ‘flavour’ as well as benefits for your ecosystem.

    1. If you’re feeling sluggish: add a Magnesium fizzy and / or a spoon of granulated Vitamin C.
    2. If your body is stressed (e.g. from a major illness, trauma or surgery), add a spoon of L-Glutamine. (This is a conditionally essential amino acid). As with any dietary supplement, consult with your health practitioner to ‘personalise’ for your needs.
    3. Otherwise, make it simple – add antioxidant-rich lemon. On an empty stomach every morning, this is a great detox drink and an excellent source of ascorbic acid to boost your body’s natural immune system.
    4. Cross the chasm… from ‘knowing’ to ‘doing’. Have these items next to your kettle before you go to bed at night. Make ‘doing’ easy and effortless for yourself!
    5. Follow this with a cup of tea or coffee. Caffeine boosts your mental focus, and triggers the release of adrenalin which makes you feel more energized, alert and awake. The Biohackers add MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) Oil or Powder. MCT gives you a fat-burning boost of energy, and it is flavourless, so it won’t affect the taste. It is also phenomenal for brain health. Make sure the one you buy the MCT oil that is mostly C8. MCT is often a ratio of C8 and C10 fatty acids.
  3.  MUSIC UP, MOVE ABOUT, AND DRESS UP
    Maximise ‘me-time’ in mundane chores. Attending online meetings in a gown is now a 2021 Meme. Here are some ‘Activity Layering’ tips, which don’t take any ‘real’ extra and aren’t ‘rocket-science’. Knowledge is only a rumour, until it lives in your muscles. Make these daily habits to shift your mental and physical energy.

    1.  Have a Spotify playlist of your facvourite songs on your mobile.
    2.  Do a 30 sec or a 1 min plank on your bedroom floor (Your minute to win it challenge giving you a sense of control.)
    3. Move to the beat – while you dress.
    4. Dress up daily in clothes that make you feel good. Sloppy clothes = sloppy mind?
    5. Write a fun Post-it Note and stick it on your coffee mug. Something like
      “I am going dance my way into the day…for good, good , good vibrations”.
    6. Sing out loud and increase your heart rate at the same time.
    7. Knee lifts and lunges while you brush your hair.
    8. While brushing your teeth – look in the mirror and say something positive to yourself. Be your own ‘Observer’ …what would a GREAT Coach say to you right now?
    9. Put your toothbrush back and use this specific moment as a ‘trigger (twice daily) to say what you are grateful for in your life. Say it out loud.
  4. SEVEN SUPPLEMENTS TO SHIFT YOUR MOOD
    Anxiety, depression and the feelings of fear, aloneness, uncertainty and overwhelm are real and increasing. A major EQ study (0ver 20 000 people in 129 countries) just released shows that the decline in EQ is alarming.
    Here are a list of supplements suggested by Dave Asprey: known as the ‘father of bio-hacking’. See his website : www.bulletproof.com

    1. 5-HTTP: as a precursor to serotonin (the neurotransmitter that boosts happiness) and melatonin (necessary for restorative sleep).
      Dose: 100-300 mg per day.
    2. Zinc deficiency may cause symptoms of ADHD, memory disorders, and depression. Zinc upregulates BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), a critical brain protein used for regulating mood and stress.
      Dose: 15mg zinc orotate and 1-2mg copper orotate per day.
    3. Glutathione : a powerful antioxidant which helps with detoxing. As Dave Asprey says on his site “Your brain is especially vulnerable to oxidative stress, and more and more data supports the theory that oxidative stress plays a major role in psychiatric disorders such as depression. Think of a glutathione supplement as your brain’s extra stress-defense”.
      Dose: 1000+ mg daily.
    4. Vitamin D : low vitamin D causes lower serotonin levels
      Dose: 1,000 IU Vitamin D3 / 25 pounds of body weight
    5. The Spice Saffron: this is a highly potent and time-tested natural remedy for depression and anxiety.
      Dose: 30-50mg daily. Because saffron is so expensive, it is often included in combination with other synergistic compounds.
    6. Methyl Folate + B12 According to a study in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, roughly 30% of depression patients are folate-deficient. Folate deficiency is also linked to lower levels of serotonin.
      Dose: 800mcg DFE of folate, with 5mg+ of Methyl-B12
    7.  L-tyrosine is an amino acid that boosts your mood, and help you to keep your cool in stressful situations, Your body naturally makes L-tyrosine, but it depletes under stress.
      Dose: 500-2000mg L-tyrosine per day.
    8. WHAT ELSE?
      These are additional nudges for you to fit them into your schedule.
      “You fail to plan, you plan to fail”.

      1. Take your shoes off and spend 20 mins grounding yourself on grass.
      2. Scroll down your WhatsApp list and ‘connect’ with an old friend. Reaching out is always uplifting … for you and for the recipient.
      3. Lie on the grass and stare at the clouds …just be!
      4. Use the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique : breath in for 4 counts; hold your breath for 7 counts and then breathe out through your mouth (audibly) for 8 counts. Do this as many times during the day as you can. You will feel less frazzled at the end of the day
      5. Make an appointment for some accupunture (to balance your ecosystem) and / or a massage.
      6. Walk in nature and observe colours and textures … even if you don’t see birds / wildlife.

THE BOTTOMLINE IS FIND TIME FOR YOU.

The advice or recommendations made in this article are based solely on the individual contributor’s personal experience. Please keep in mind that they are not health professionals and that any exercise or supplementation recommendations may not be appropriate for you. Please consult your licensed health professional before starting any exercise or supplementations.

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