Optimizing the human operating system

The BiohackingCongress is the platform and community for exchanging opinions and gaining exclusive skills between renowned scientists, nutritionists, dietitians, fitness explorers, life expectancy researchers, and authors of bestsellers on healthy food and sleep, mind.

Our goal is to help build a world where people are engaged with their health and living happy, wholesome, and long lives.

The all-day onsite Biohacking Congress in Silicon Valley took place on November 20. We are grateful to all our great Speakers for giving their educational lectures!

Amazing Kayla Osterhoff, MPH, Ph.D., gave her lecture on optimizing the human operating system. First of all, do you know what the human operating system is? That is a tricky question, isn't it?

Kayla explained that the human operating system is the system that is responsible for all human behaviors; it is also responsible for creating our version of reality. 

The human operating system consists of two main components - the brain and the mind. Now while many of you may incorrectly think these two things are the same but they are not. They interact to create what is called the human operating system. But they're two separate entities. 

"So actually the most significant scientific problem of the 21 century - we call it a problem meaning it hasn't been solved yet - is how the brain produces the mind", Kayla says, "The brain does not produce the mind, and the mind does not produce the brain. It is actually a relationship between them two, and it is not a linear relationship one to the other, the other to the other it is a bidirectional relationship." 

Talking about the human operating system as your human-computer, the brain can be described as the human operating system's hardware and the mind as your human operating system's software.

"The hardware is a physical construct, and it's the brain - we can see it. It is neurochemical and electrical as well as neurological in nature. The mind is your software. This is an invisible construct, you cannot see it, but it is just as real and significant as the brain. This is a set of invisible programs that comprises your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. This is psychological in nature. 

The interaction between your neurological, hardware aspect, and psychological software aspects, creates a physiological response through your nervous system that makes your body move. It is responsible for your decisions, the way you perceive reality. The brain can't function properly without the mind to tell it what to do, and the flip side of the coin is that the mind has no way to manifest in our physical world without the brain to do that work. “In order to optimize your human operating system, you must upgrade both your hardware and your software," Kayla underlined.

Credit: Kayla Osterhoff, MPH, Ph.D.

Here are four essential ways you can upgrade your hardware:

1. Neuroplasticity: reshape and mold your brain to your specificity;

2. Neurogenesis: grow your brain;

3. Neurochemistry: tune up your brain;

4. Neuroelectricity: rewire your brain.

Talking more precisely about each of these fundamental ways of upgrading the brain, Kayla described and gave each 3 unique and priceless biohacks. Reserve your time to watch the full lecture as well as 8+ hours video of Biohacking Congress, Silicon Valley. Here are some of them:

What is Neuroplasticity, and how to upgrade this to the hardware?

"This is about reshaping your brain. Building new neural networks and removing redundant neural pathways, including removing unwanted neural pathways. So that you can mold and shape your brain into the shape essentially for the function that you want it to have," Kayla emphasized.

Kayla gave three top hacks for Neuroplasticity. Here is the first one, a novelty: new experiences, new habits, things that get you out of your comfort zone. 

What is Neurogenesis?

Kayla explained, "Your brain can grow new neurons. Ten years ago, the scientific community did not think that Neurogenesis was possible in the adult human brain. We thought we have a finite number of brain cells when they die, that's the end. That's absolutely not true, and the best part about this is that not only can you create new neurons, but you can spark this process." 

Here is the first one out of three great hacks for Neurogenesis: increase growth factors. Kayla clarified BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), a brain growth factor, and our neural growth factor. You can use your metabolism as a hack to increase these growth factors in your brain. The best way to do that is through anaerobic exercise and fasting. 

What is Neurochemistry?

They are chemicals that act on the neuronal receptors in your brain. There are excitatory neurochemicals and there are inhibitory neural chemicals; glutamate is our main excitatory neurochemical and GABA is our main inhibitory neurochemical glutamate. 

The hack for Neurogenesis is about balancing your stress.

What is Neuroelectricity?

These are the electrical signals that travel through the axons of your neurons. This is how your brain network communicates with itself and to the body through your nervous system. 

One of Kayla's hacks for Neuroelectricity is sleeping. When you're sleeping, this is actually when your brain gets to rest and it gets to reset so that it can better communicate the next day.

Moving on to upgrading the software of the human operating system - the mind. The scientific community is just starting to scratch the surface on this, so it's an exciting field to be in.

There are two ways to upgrade it:

1. Reprogram your subconscious mind;

2. Be more conscious.

What is a subconscious mind?

"The subconscious mind is the one that runs automatically in the background. This is responsible for 95% of our behavior and more in most people. These are a set of programs that were installed into your brain, mind, whatever you wanna call it, these were installed into your body when you were a child," Kayla noted.

Additionally, Kayle made an example that our subconscious mind is the autopilot mode. When you are doing things on autopilot like driving or reacting instead of responding, this is your subconscious mind's work. Your subconscious mind is mostly interested in keeping you safe.

The number one best way to hack your subconscious mind is repetition. "Doing things over and over its neural plasticity. With repetition, we can install new subconscious programs that eventually, over time, can take the old subconscious programs. I want to mention here that any subconscious programs you want to work on eliminate or change must first become self-aware and identify what those are," mentioned Kayla. 

What is the conscious mind?

Kayla elucidated, "You've heard people saying that they're very conscious, you tell people to be more conscious when they're not conscious; but, in reality, we are all about 5 % living in our conscious minds. The conscious mind is the one that we have full control over. This is the one where we make operational decisions. This is our will power, but we all know all of us have tried to make a behavior change and failed because willpower is a limited resource and that we have not trained ourselves to stay in our conscious mind. We are thinking about the future or the past anytime you are not in your conscious mind. The conscious mind only exists in the present moment."

One of the consciousness hacks is present. "Living in the future or the past in your mind, which is where most of us live 95% of the time, is what creates stress. When you come into the present moment, you will not be stressed as long as you are safe. So anytime you can bring yourself into the present moment, you can eliminate stress and anxiety at that moment, and because this is the willpower thing at first, it'll be hard to stay in that state. The thoughts will keep coming through, and that's where mindfulness practice can come in. This can train your mind to stay conscious," explained Kayla. 

At the conclusion, Kayla mentioned that 2020 is a unique opportunity to upgrade your HOS (Human operating system). The social uprising pushed us out of our routines, habits, day to day life. We are all being forced to question our social constructs and beliefs that we've been following for our whole lives essentially. Due to this, it has pushed us into new routines, and it's pushed us into thinking differently. 

We have two unique benefits and opportunities to upgrade our hardware and software:

1. new situations/ experiences increase your neural plasticity;

2. during shocking/scary/ dramatic events, the subconscious mind becomes highly suggestible. 

Right now, more than ever, we have an increased ability to change our thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, create new positive intentions and positive behaviors habits. We have more power to do that now than ever. However, on the flip side, we have more ability than ever to create negative habits and negative beliefs, so we need to be especially careful.

Additionally, we are happy to mention that Kayla, Dasha Maxim, and Kristin Weitzel are opening up a game-changing women's health program next year. They bridge the gap in women's health research and teach women to become their health experts. You can check the program on their website.

The BiohackingCongress team is grateful to the marvelous Kayla Osterhoff, MPH, Ph.D. for giving the educational lecture.

Get the 8+ hours Biohacking Congress, Silicon Valley Live Stream Recording following this link.

Watch and enjoy the lectures, performances, speeches, and panel discussion.

Join our community and attend our next:

- Virtual Invest Meetup on January 21, 2020

- Biohacking Congress, Silicon Valley with Live Stream on March 20-21, 2021  

We are looking forward to meeting you!