Engineering Your Environment for Success

Jonah Larkin

If you have behavior changes that you need to make, one of the most effective things you can do is dial in your surroundings.  Your environment drives your behavior and will almost always trump willpower.  Therefore, it is critical to your success that you set up your surroundings in ways that make it easy for you to do positive/healthy behaviors and difficult to do negative behaviors.

This list is by no means comprehensive.  We could add many more characteristics and things that will help you from biohacking gear to room design.  But hey, maybe I’ll eventually turn this list into that!  Until then, use it!

All Rooms

Air Filter: Indoor air quality is often up to 3-4 times worse than outdoor air quality.  This comes from paints, furniture, floor coverings and consumer goods.  Please check EWG’s air filtration guide for more information.

Flowers and Living Plants: All rooms should have plants or flowers in them as they help to raise the overall vitality of the entire indoor environment by providing oxygen and helping to regulate the nervous system.


Cell phone: Turn to airplane mode and keep it farther than arm's length away from your bed.  Cell phones are the biggest disturber of sleep.  It’s even better if you keep in another room.  If you need an alarm to wake you up, use your smart speaker or purchase an alarm clock.

Blue Blocker Glasses: These are orange glasses that will protect your eyes from blue light.  Exposing your eyes to bright light after the sun sets will impede the release of melatonin.  You can find dozens for sale on Amazon.

Light Blocking Curtains: Many bedrooms have ambient light shining through the window.  Though it might seem like a small amount of light, it can have negative effects on your sleep.  Get some light blocking curtains and notice how much better you sleep.

Sleep Mask: Use if you don’t yet have light blocking curtains or use when you travel.  Protecting the eyes is better than nothing at all.

Ambient LED’s covered: Most electronics have many led’s that can be quite bright.  I recommend covering the lights with electrical tape or even better turning off all electronics.

Change out conventional LED lights: This is for the highly motivated admittedly.  However it does make a big difference.  LED lights are very bright and contain lots of blue light that can negatively affect your body clock.  I recommend getting orange tinted LED’s or even incandescent lighting like this.

Organic Mattress: If your mattress isn’t certified organic then it almost certainly filled with flame retardant chemicals like PBDE as well as formaldehyde.  These chemicals are toxic to human health.  You can read Ben Greenfield’s article about them here though you may want to avoid his affiliate links.

Weighted Blanket: These can help you sleep better and deeper because of the feeling of being cradled.

Essential Oil Diffuser:  Essential oils like lavender and chamomile can be very calming to the nervous system and help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Alarm Clock: If your cell is in another room then you will need an alarm clock most likely

Snake Plant or other greenery:  Snake plants help filter the air of dangerous gases and produce oxygen.  Any plant though it helpful as produces oxygen and provides positive and calming frequencies to the room.


Install Water Filter: Municipal tap water contains numerous chemicals.  The worst of these chemicals are flouride, chlorine and chloramine.  Despite public health claims to the contrary fluoride, chlorine and chloramine can be toxic to humans.  I recommend a reverse osmosis water filtration system for your home.  Filters like the Brita are better than nothing but don’t remove the most dangerous chemicals.

Remove Sugary Foods: If you want to stop eating sugar one of the easiest ways is simple.  Don’t keep any in your house.  This might be challenging if you have kids that are used to having easy access to sugar.  Also realize sugar is in everything from crackers to salad dressings.  But sugar is incredibly toxic to the body and you will be doing yourself a huge favor if you get rid of it in your house.

Remove Processed Foods: Processed foods (see guides from lesson 3) contain additives, chemicals and oils that are highly inflammatory.  Processed foods come in packages.  Do a packaged food audit and remove anything suspicious.

Replace Plastic Storage with Glass: Plastic containers have chemicals that leach into food and water.  Glass is inert, safe and sustainable.  Make the investment and shift to glass.

Remove or Minimize Use: Microwave ovens are not unsafe but they do produce microwaves and dirty electricity that can put stress on the human nervous system.

Replace Zip Loc Bags with Silicon: Zip loc bags are made of plastic and can leach chemicals into foods and they’re not sustainable.  It’s better to go with an inert substance like reusable silicon storage bags.

Replace Toxic Cleaning Products: Many cleaning products we have in our homes are highly problematic for our bodies.  This handy guide by the Environmental Working Group should help you see what you need to eliminate and what you can keep.


Remove Toxic Personal Care Products: Toothpaste, hair gel, shampoo, lotions and creams, shaving cream can all contain toxic ingredients.  Use this handy guide from EWG to do a safety audit of your personal care products and replace those that are dangerous.

Shower/Bath Water Filter: Chemicals in municipal tap water include chlorine and chloramine.  These are toxic to the human body.  Taking a shower or bath in this water is a very efficient way for your skin to absorb these toxins directly to the bloodstream.  You can purchase a shower filter for less than $50 that can remove a good amount of chlorine.

Squatty Potty: If you ever have any issues with constipation the Squatty Potty is for you.  It puts you in the proper anatomical position to defecate easily.  And even if you don’t have constipation issues it works especially well.


Standing/Convertible Desk: We know that most of us who work at desks spend way too much time sitting.  The solution?  A standing or convertible desk.  A search online will reveal a multitude of choices.  If you also want to get movement in while you work then you can buy a desk that doubles as a slow treadmill.

Glare Reducing/Screen Protecting Glasses: Similar to blue blocking sunglasses the light from screens flickers at a very fast rate and can be highly irritable to our eyes.  A pair of computer glasses can reduce eye fatigue and lift your mood.

Reusable Water Bottle/Coffee Cup: Plastic water bottles and single use cups besides not being sustainable can leach toxic chemicals, waxes and coatings into your water or hot beverage.  Investing in a stainless steel water bottle and cup will keep these chemicals from getting inside your body.