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Stress takes its toll in many ways - and the effect is compounding. At the inaugural Bulletproof Biohacking Conference, Dr Justin Marchegiani presented a stress management framework. He identifies

4 types of resilience to stress:

emotional, physical, mental and spiritual.

types of resilienceImage taken with a phone camera circa Jan 2014.

Achieving a state of coherence means successfully becoming resilient to stressors in all 4 domains.

By addressing lifestyle stressors in each area, we can build a foundation of wellness on which to thrive.

This is an opportunity to nip all those pre-clinical ailments in the bud, before they evolve into chronic disease. It's those consistently repeated good habits that keep us thriving. And it's those repeated bad habits that contribute to chronic inflammation and stress.

It’s best to prioritise and tackle things in order of magnitude of possible improvement in any dimension while remaining aware of the stressors in each domain. Why is this important? Examples:

  • Training hard, but eating poorly and not getting enough sleep will negate the gains you are aiming for.

  • Eating well, but living in an environment with poor air quality and excess noise pollution is only part way there.

  • Compounding physical stress of exercise with a lack of resilience to daily challenges will mean your body is not given the opportunity to recover properly. In large amounts, cortisol causes an increase in serum amino acid levels by breaking down muscle and also inhibits protein synthesis. The opposite of what is desirable.

  • Spending 8 hours a day seated in a chair with bad posture will give you OOS, RSI and places your body in a neurologically inefficient position that can compromise your ability to perform even simple physical tasks like bending and picking up a box without injury.

Our Top 10 Stress Management Biohacks

Alcohol is probably the most common substance we willingly use to disrupt our circadian rhythm. If you drink alcohol, you can use antioxidants like Vitamin C, NAC, l-glutathione and Activated Charcoal to mitigate the effects of alcohol's toxic by-products. Check out Dave Asprey’s more comprehensive guide to Bulletproof alcohol consumption.

Here are some of the most effective biohacks we use to help us lead healthy, resilient, coherent productive and fulfilling lifestyles. (a.k.a our super duper long list of little things that can make a big difference.) These aren't in any particular order:

#1. emWave2 Training Helps You Make More Objective Decisions by Gaining Greater Control Over Your Emotions

EMWAVE2
Our brains were designed to experience anxiety in short bursts, not for prolonged stress.

It's why you can feel like a tiger is on the verge of devouring you. You have to convince yourself that the tiger is in fact, not in the room.

The emWave2 is a training device that helps you become less reactive to fight or flight triggering events. Make decisions while in a coherent state and train to become more resilient to petty stressors over time.

Read more about how to achieve a state of high performance through resilience training.  

#2. Brain Plasticity Means We Can Get Smarter With Training


brain plasticityQuantified Mind helps you figure out your peak mental performance routine. You can use their free tool to test different variables and  track and improve your cognitive performance.

Lumosity's brain training games leverage the fact that your brain has the ability to strengthen and grow neural connections. The challenging games can make you aware of weak areas and improve concentration, productivity.

No excuses for not having a go with their free iPhone and Android options are also available. 


#3. Start the Day Right. Fundamentally, Your Morning Routine is the Most Effective Habit Forming Opportunity Available to You

morning routine

Get things going on the right track from the start. Use this as an opportunity to make sure that you:

  • Rehydrate with water and mineral rich unrefined sea salt. This will reduce adrenal stress by providing a re-stock of the minerals that your body needs to get going (raise blood pressure etc) first thing in the morning.

  • Have all of your supplements (morning appropriate ones). See Dave Asprey's article on where to get started.

  • Get your Bulletproof Coffee into you!

  • Meditate.

  • Alkalise with lemon and greens if you're so inclined.

  • Use blue light therapy. When winter rolls around, this is an effective way to ward of S.A.D and keep your sleep-wake cycle in tune. The Phillips GoLite BLU comes recommended by Tim Ferris and I have one on order.

  • Your sleep-wake cycle is intricately linked. Check out Leon's epic post on Artificial Light & Sleep

#4. Drink Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee for Breakfast

Of course we would recommend this one :) 

paper cup with Bulletproof logoCoffee is the number one consumed source of antioxidants in Australia. Bulletproof Coffee helps you eliminate performance robbing mycotoxins (mould). You are also giving your nerves myelin nourishing fat that.

Ever get jitters, headaches, nausea or anxiety after a  cup of coffee? Dealing with inconsistent coffee bean quality week to week? You don't have to!

Mycotoxins can form at any stage between farm and bag. Only Bulletproof Coffee's vigorous quality assurance process can guarantee you get mycotoxin-free beans every time.

Bulletproof Coffee Beans are single origin, organic, carbon neutral and Rainforest Alliance Certified. Grown on a family owned farm at height of 1,250m in Guatemala, we know exactly where the beans are coming from and the high standard of care with which they have been handled.

With Bulletproof Coffee, you can eliminate brain fog and perform better for 6 hours before you even begin to think about lunch (great for intermittent fasting.)

Adding Vanilla and/or raw chocolate powder will not only add flavour, but additional antioxidants, potent anti-inflammatories and magnesium (from cocoa powder), which so many of us tend to be deficient in.

Lots of people like to put butter in their coffee ... but it's not Bulletproof unless you include Upgraded MCT oil and mould free Upgraded coffee.


#5. Sleep Well. The Ultimate Biohack?

Quality trumps quantity. Sleep deficit and low-quality sleep are culprits in negatively impacting quality of life. Poor sleep is a result of poor diet, excess emotional, mental or physical stress.

Lack of sleep is typically the result of overworking / overplaying. Sleep deficit has a compounding effect itself. In combination with our lifestyle factors, the result can be stress piled upon stress. Sleep deficits can lead to depression.


A lack of sleep disrupts gene expressionJust to show you how one dimension can affect another: A lack of melatonin may be linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes. While many of us are able to fall asleep after a cuppa at night, quality of sleep suffers.


Hack your sleep by:

  • Blackout curtains and make sure there is no light pollution in your bedroom (this includes removing TVs, laptops and tablets). A sleep mask is a simple workaround. We’ve written extensively about the impact of artificial lighting on sleep. 

  • Cut back on alcohol. 

  • Don't consume coffee within 8 hours of when you plan to sleep (or drink decaf.) Yes, this has as much to do with the stimulatory effect of the caffeine but it also raises your cortisol levels which gets in the way of  melatonin production. Some people are still able to fall asleep easily after drinking coffee at night, however, it can affect your sleep quality.

  • Take magnesium (glycinate / citrate / l-threonate) or spray on some magnesium chloride and consider adding in l-theanine and GABA supplements an hour before bed to help you relax, fall asleep faster and keep you asleep.

  • Try Huperzine-A 30 minutes before sleeping to help induce R.E.M sleep. For more on the value of this, see Tim Ferris’s Guide to Lucid Dreaming.

  • You can take this further by wearing blue light blocker glasses after sunset and also using apps like flux to strip blue light from your computer display.

  • Dave Asprey's sleep recipe: don't drink coffee atl east 8 hours before bedtime; take some MCT oil, raw honey, protein and krill oil before bed. Also check out his podcast with Dr Wisor about how to hack your sleep and why it is so important.

#6. Talking20: Measure and Track Key Biomarkers with In-Home Blood Test Kits

How do you change what you cannot objectively measure? We love the idea of being able to get a blood panel every month without getting the third degree from our GP. 

Talking20 enables you to take your own blood samples and send them off for testing, with your results made accessible to you online.

Ever wondered if those supplements are actually working? Taking too little? Taking too much? What impact are those early morning workouts having on you? 


This is an opportunity to take control and get a quantifiable answer about your health. Your doctor doesn’t own your data - you do! Check out our Talking20 Unboxing post. Note that Talking20 was a startup that never got off the ground. Today there are alternative at-home testing services like Everlywell. Australian at home blood testing kit providers include Prixtesting and i-screen.com.au.


#7. Movement: Train Your Nervous System to Enable Optimal Human Performance

training

At the inaugural Bulletproof Biohacking Conference aka Biohack Your Life, EvoUltraFit advocated that “movement was the key everything.” We learned that how we move (or don’t move) conditions our parasympathetic nervous system.

Every movement you make counts towards your ability to live pain free and maximise enjoyment of recreational activities. Modern lifestyles in offices, cars etc. contribute to breakdowns in proper movement patterns which can lead to injury. (Weekend Warrior Syndrome anyone?)

In his TED talk, Dr Eric Goodman distills this biohack down down to the ability to hinge at the hips and presents a simple hack for alleviating pain:


Dr Mark Hyman also points to chronic repetitive motion as a source of inflammation

(side note: It’s funny - our narcissistic tendencies mean we focus on what we can see in the mirror - the front of the body. What we see is more important than what we feel. Our workouts focus on building 6 packs and bulging biceps and we neglect our posterior chain which is supposed to be the strongest group of muscles in our body! Our glutes, hamstrings and back are supposed to be doing the heavy lifting.)


#8. (Good) Position is Power

See how to do the push up and the squat, demonstrated by people who have never done it wrong their entire lives!

#9. Go Barefoot: You Are the Stability, Arch Support & Pronation Control

They say high tech shoes = low tech feet. Barefoot is best. Ergonomically correct and probably the most comfortable shoes ever. Vibrams let you move how you were meant to - without being hindered by raised heels and toe suffocating shoes that contribute to physical strain and biomechanical inefficiency.

Over time, you can strengthen the muscles in and around your feet and eventually run around happily barefoot like you did as a kid. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that since moving away from shoes with heels and arch-supports, all pain in my lower-back and knees has dissipated. 

Walking around with 5 toe shoes may be a little too unconventional and barefoot may not be practical on city street. You can still seek out shoes like Xero, innov-8s, Skora’s and Vivo's which have been designed with function in mind.
 

#10. Stand Up: People Who Sit for Most of the Day Are 54% More Likely to Die of a Heart Attack

We simply were not designed to sit at a desk or in a car / train / bus / tram for the majority of our waking hours eating high calorie nutrient deficient junk food and doing minimal movement.

Stand while you work and start to wake up some muscles that have been left to atrophy and keeping your body in a more neurologically sound position throughout the day and reap the benefits. Yes it will be hard to begin with, but you will get used to it.

Movement Biohack: 

Electrostim. EvoUltraFit use the ARPWave to accelerate injury rehabilitation and performance gains with any movement pattern. For instance: By applying one of their modalities to your treatment or training, you will be able to train your nervous system faster thereby eliminating problematic compensation patterns while perfecting athletic movements. 

What's your number one stress management biohack? Please comment and share below!

Want to learn more tips? Check 10 more biohacks to relieve stress.

 

References
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925443916300163

Guest Author
Guest Author

This article was contributed by a guest author with expert knowledge in their field.



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