To ‘hack’ something means to make small changes to increase efficiency or bring improvements to your life. You can ‘lifestyle hack’, or ‘hack’ your work life to improve your productivity. In this article, we will discuss ways to biohack (change your biology in subtle ways), through dietary and lifestyle changes, in order to improve your mental health. To ‘biohack’ may sound a little scary, or even like it can only be done by someone with extensive scientific knowledge. However, it is simple, easy, and often free. So, what are 5 biohacking tips to improve your mental health?
Get enough sleep
Basically, every society throughout history has known that sleep has been immensely important in helping with every ailment. The consensus says that we should get 7 hours, but the most important thing is that you get good quality sleep. One study in the University of British Columbia found that not getting good quality sleep can have huge health consequences, but particularly for your mental health and stress levels. Biohacking gurus such as Dave Asprey recommend tracking your sleep through apps such as Sleep Cycle to improve the quality of your sleep.
Meditation has been trendy for a while, but it doesn’t seem like it will merely be a passing fad. This is because meditation is the ultimate brain hack. It can actually change the structure of your brain for the better, increasing brain plasticity and allowing you to let you go of your stress and anxiety. This is because meditation allows you to be more mindful and less focused on the banal worries that may have plagued you in the past. If meditation seems difficult, it is because it is, particularly in hyper-stimulated modern society.
The Exercise Biohack
Exercise is a sure-fire way to biohack your body and brain. It will improve your physique, which will increase your self-esteem and make you feel healthier, and this can only improve your confidence and thus your mental health. It also has profound effects on your brain. When you exercise, you release endorphins, which are chemicals in your brain that make you feel a sense of elation. In fact, exercise impacts on the same areas of your brain as morphine, and also increases serotonin in your brain, otherwise known as the happy hormone.
Change your diet
Changing your diet can help you to biohack your way to improved mental health. One way to do this is to eliminate foods from your diet that do not agree with you, for example, gluten or refined sugars, in order to improve your physiology and decrease your stress. Many have also claimed that fasting can improve your mental health and reduce anxiety. One reason that this could be is through stabilizing or reducing your blood sugar, which clinical studies have shown improved mood. Others have found benefits of combining fasting with products such as Soylent, so they will still receive enough nutrients.
Make Bulletproof coffee
You may not have heard of ‘bulletproof coffee’. This came about when an ex-Silicon Valley entrepreneur, subsequently to become biohacking superstar Dave Asprey, tried a traditional drink in Tibet, which contained yak-butter. Essentially Bulletproof coffee is a cup of coffee made with a stick of butter. It is very high in fat and saturated fat, but it seemed to work wonders, allowing him to lose weight and boost his energy levels and mood exponentially. According to Asprey, this is because it boosted his metabolism. If it sounds weird, you may as well give it a try, as you will surely have coffee and butter in your house. Asprey, though, also has his own proprietary blend.
Try any of these biohacking tips, and you will surely be more productive, healthier and happy, and those anxieties that may have plagued you in the past will surely improve. What’s more, most of them are free and don’t involve taking expensive supplements.