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What is biohacking?
At first glance, biohacking might sound like something a lawyer or a law firm would avoid but there is more than meets the eye. Biohacking is becoming an integral part of the legal and corporate world as leaders discover that health and wellness optimisation is great for the wellbeing and moral of their employees, and for the performance of the firm’s bottom line.
Biohacking (hacking your biology) is about optimising your internal and external environment by blending state-of-the-art technology with time-tested holistic wisdom. Where technology helps to reinvent the wheel, holistic wisdom illuminates where the wheel does not need to be reinvented because time has proved for some principles that no modern technology can displace its efficacy. Science in many respects is starting to catch up on these holistic practises and now vindicating them in academic journals. It’s a fun and engaging means of self-experimentation and is characterised by the use of quantifiable data and insight into your own unique biology, physiology and mental state, in order to determine the means to help you achieve optimum health, performance, longevity, and vitality.
Biohacking fundamentals that you can cultivate today:
Biohacking your sleep can be as simple as going to bed at the same time each night. It’s an easy way to dial into your natural circadian rhythm. Our sleep physiology loves a stable routine and in the corporate legal world, it can become all too easy to get into a routine of varying sleep and wake times.
If you want to take sleep optimisation to the next level, you can invest in a sleep tracker in the form of an app on your phone or with wearables such as an Apple watch, Oura Ring or Whoop Strap. These devices will give you deep insights into the quality of your sleep, what disrupts it and how to optimise it
Biohack your mind with an attitude of gratitude. It’s a simple, time efficient and time tested method for changing and optimising your mindset, because where your mind goes your body and emotions follow. Optimising your mindset takes daily practise, but a bit of consistency can allow you to view situations differently. Where they once stressed you and affected your emotions become ones where you see opportunity and abundance. Journaling three to five things you’re grateful for when times get stressful, will begin to help you reframe your day to help you focus on the positives.
A simple nutritional biohack that can have a positive impact on your health, body weight and longevity is to eat all your food within an eating window. This is known as intermittent fasting. It may sound daunting but it is quite straight-forward: you fast for 16, 18 or 24 hours each day, and then eat your daily food in a reduced eating window. So it may look like 12pm - 8pm, 1pm to 6pm or one big meal a day at 6pm.
When you fast, you increase your levels of growth hormones as much as five times their normal rate, which boosts your metabolic rate. Fasting can also reduce your insulin resistance, which lowers your blood sugar and makes stored body fat more accessible to burn. There are plenty of fasting apps available to help you keep track of when to eat and when not to eat.
Getting outdoors and into nature is a biohack for your mind, body and spirit. In this busy, modern era where most of us are more connected to the concrete jungle, or our work-at-home desk than the great outdoors, it’s all too easy to forget the healing powers of a simple walk outside or a little sunshine on your face. In short, mother nature is a powerful biohack. Getting sunshine boosts vitamin D levels, enhances mood, and the unique light that the sun gives off is fantastic for optimising our biological processes. The simple act of walking helps to optimise our digestive and lymphatics systems, which is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.
To step this up a notch, try feeling the extremes of the outdoors, like extreme heat or extreme cold. A sauna and ice bath work perfectly. The sauna helps release heat-shock proteins and the cold releases cold-shock proteins in your body, which are great for fighting inflammation, boosting recovery and boosting mood-enhancing chemicals in our body.
I find biohacking is always best when done with another person, so why not reach out to a colleague and ask them to join you in your biohacking experiment and start to implement some of the beginner steps together. It will give you a lot to compare with and you will likely see just how unique we all are. Over time, you will begin to learn what works best for you and the dos and don’ts when it comes to personal and professional life optimisation. Start with these small steps and before you know it, you will be on a path to a fully quantified self.
Charlene Gisele, former litigation lawyer turned corporate wellness and burnout advisor to law firms www.charlenegisele.com
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