Biohacking for those taking the journey often travelled – Part One

Biohacking-for-those-taking-the-journey-often-travelled

I recently came across this term whilst travelling on a Qantas flight to Sydney. In bold type, Qmagazine afforded this new movement prime position for readers. I must admit I like the term although it does suggest there are short cuts to total nirvana.  My understanding is that it refers to altering our biology via a range of methods, some of which I found a little bizarre if not disturbing. But who am I to comment with any authority? I haven’t experimented very broadly so rather than simply dismissing, I would like to apply the term to the more tried and tested methods. The biohacking ideas and activities to be shared here are those that essentially alter our biology via the limbic system or more correctly, the mind/body connection. These biohacking downloads, often   with an ancient history, are designed to reset anxious, overworked limbic systems, build greater connection between our mind and body and enhance our busy lives.

Most of us will experience stress and sometimes extreme stress. We have busy lives and forming and maintaining a work/life balance can be challenging. Part of the difficulty in maintaining balance is the ‘practice’ is often low on the hierarchy of needs/priorities within our work environments. This is not just unfortunate but also ineffective long term. Research increasingly demonstrates that stressed minds and bodies result in irrationality, poor judgement, memory problems, lack of creativity and poor team culture. This series of bio-hacks, starting with ‘breaking tech shackle’s’, invites you to explore methods to rejuvenate for free, assess the benefits of regularly applying simple meditative apps and consider minor adjustments in self- concept, routine and how you ‘do’ time.

Let’s firstly look at the use of technology. A balanced view tells us that technology can be very positive – it connects us, increases our efficiency and even gives us access to many apps designed specifically to restore harmony in our worlds. We also need to recognise what impact technology has on our wellbeing and how to adjust if needed.

If your technology creates anxiety – that is if you literally cannot put it down, be away from it and malfunction sends you into a total meltdown; you may want to take steps to interrupt this over enmeshed relationship.  Here are a few detox methods to counter-balance. Your brain will thank you.

Option 1. Introduce a tech free time zone – ideally around bedtime. About an hour before bed, dim lights and put your devices away, as in out of reach. (I know you will have reasons why this just isn’t possible – but it really is).

Option 2. Ease into a kind of tech fasting period – choose a period of the day and starting with just 30 minutes, put all the technology away. Maybe even have lunch with a friend or colleague totally tech free. Then build up over a week at 30mins extra each day (it’s only 2.5hours over a work week). At the end of the week – pay attention to the experience of building a more balanced relationship with your tech and make longer term adjustments as you see fit. You can revisit this hack any time as a means of detoxing and resetting.

Option 3. It may be useful to block technology during periods of work that require focused attention, giving yourself instead, check-in times (every 30mins) rather than being disturbed by a constant flow of notifications, taking your attention away from the task at hand. This little hack improves concentration, leaves you in the ‘flow’ zone longer whilst also allowing for regular check-ins so you don’t miss anything. I highly recommend this during meetings so you are paying attention to topic, relationships with real people and are better able to listen.

At the individual level – if we want something to grow stronger in our lives, we need to direct more of our attention to it and conversely, if we want something to diminish in our lives. The balance of attention and intention holds transformative potential. These tech bio-hacks along with others to come in this series, aim to support this balance without having to commit to anything that adds to our to-do lists.

Happy Hacking!

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