Nutritional Therapist Christine Busuttil, from Team UP, asks “What if there were ways to control you biochemistry and increase energy and brain function?”
Biohacking is becoming a popular way to increase performance in all areas of life. Here are some simple hacks to upgrade cognitive function and help inspiration flow;
Switch off Stress
Stress affects memory, concentration and increases procrastination. Switch off stress by breathing into the belly ten times. Breathing deeply rewires your brain to be calmer and you will instantly feel better and improve focus. For a more scientific version follow the link and try HeartMath’s Quick Coherence technique here.
Get some NEPA
Sitting is the new smoking. It restricts blood flow, so mix things up with some non-exercise physical activity (NEPA). Put a few stacks of printer paper under you monitor and stand to work. Schedule little breaks for a few stretches or march on the spot to get the blood flowing. Research shows productivity is not affected by standing to work, so figure out ways to move. (1)
Managing stress through Exercise
Not only does exercise help keep the heart healthy and get oxygen into the system, it is also very efficient at depleting stress hormones. Exercise releases happy hormones (Endorphines), helping to combat the negative effects of stress. Whatever exercise you try, you will soon discover its major benefit is that it allows you to forget your problems. Exercise helps you to shed the day’s irritations resulting in higher energy levels and optimism, which can help you feel clearer and calmer.
Connect with Nature
Even just a few minutes outdoors can help clear your mind, make space for inspiration or help you find solutions to problems. Go for a short walk, if that isn’t possible try a few minutes of meditation or just take time to be still and empty your mind.
Dietary Building Blocks
Both laboratory and epidemiological studies suggest that stressful events lead to unhealthy food choices.(2) Therefore you should aim to keep blood sugar levels steady.
– Fruit eaten in moderation but not in isolation
– Swap processed and refined foods, especially those containing sugar and artificial sweeteners for natural whole foods.
– Caffeine elevates cortisol and adrenalin levels when at rest and during periods of stress. (3) Replace coffee and tea with herbal teas (particularly liquorice and green) as well as plenty of water.
– Include 6-8 portions of vegetables per day focusing mainly on green leafy vegetables and non-starchy vegetables.
– Include multiple sources of essential fatty acids like chai seeds, flax seeds, oily fish, walnuts, almonds and hemp.
Get to Bed on time
Energy is the foundation for getting work done, and quality sleep is the key to good energy. If you don’t get to bed before 11pm, a surge of cortisol will be created and the next day is going to an unproductive one. To maintain low bedtime cortisol, don’t exercise within two hours before bed unless it’s something calming like yoga and don’t drink coffee for at least eight hours before bedtime.
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1. Int J Oesity 2014, 38-755-65.doi;10.1038/ijo.2013.223
2.Adam TC, Epel ES. Physiology & Behaviour. 2007;91:449–58
3. Lovallo WR Psychosom Med. 2005 ; 67(5): 734–739. 2.