Earlier this year two esteemed Professors at Stanford University published their study highlighting that the simple practice of extending exhales for a few minutes had greater effects on anxiety and stress than meditation or mindfulness.
It was a fast and efficient mental health ‘hack’.
These findings fully align with my own research and work in mental health, performance and the science of biohacks over the past 30 years.
My most recent 5-year research project was completed in September 2023 and the main outcome that screamed out of the studies was that most people cannot sustain any health practice that requires effort and/or cost.
Diet and fitness failed to produce healthy nations because these routines are impossible to sustain for a lifetime.
Most people will try and fail…repeatedly.
This is because we do not have evolutionary biological reward circuits that drive these types of behaviours.
These circuits were not necessary for survival at that time in our evolution.
So, I’ve spent the past two years examining and creating low effort and low cost ‘hacks’ that produce highly efficient effects on mental and physical health.
In November, I launched two of these new hacking tools as part of my Holidity wellness programme.
Firstly, a new collection of specially designed music tracks called MusicHacks.
We have added two extra beats in every other bar to enable listeners to easily extend their exhales when synchronising their breathing to this music. The tempo we’ve used also slows their breath down to resonance frequency rate. We’ve created versions of these tracks in many different genres so listeners can choose to match this practice to the style of music that matches their personal taste. This simple breathing hack can be accessed easily on the listeners’ Spotify or Apple Music account.
Secondly, a new coffee called Hack.
My research found that a very strongly embedded daily coffee drinking habit is now common. So we formulated a coffee boosted with essential vitamins, minerals and prebiotic fibre to hack that habit and support gut health. Many people are unaware of the gut-brain-axis and the power of this connection between the gut bacteria and nervous system. They don’t realize that poor gut health compromises mental health and neural performance. Most people do not consume enough prebiotic fibre in their diet but it’s the essential fuel for gut bacteria. Your gut microbiome cannot thrive without it. Switching to this specially fortified coffee makes it easier to support gut health.
In my talks and workshops I simplify the complex science that underpins this habit-hacking approach and give tips on how to embed the key ‘metahacks’ in your life. If you’re interested in learning more about these techniques for mental health and performance please get in touch with your JLA Agent.
Dr Julia Jones
Julia boasts over three decades of expertise in neuroscience and physiology, offering invaluable guidance to clients on leveraging biohacks for enhanced performance and well-being. A former Olympic sport psychologist, bestselling author and now conference speaker, she is also the visionary behind Holidity, Hack Coffees, and MusicHacks.
View Julia Jones‘ full speaker profile here.