“If you can learn how to use your mind, anything is possible.” – Wim Hof
If you have spent any time in the personal growth space of the internet, you have heard of Wim Hof. A quick background if you haven’t. He’s a dutch daredevil who holds several world records related to cold exposure. He’s run a marathon above the arctic circle in just shorts and shoes. He ran a marathon in the Namib desert with no water. He swam 57 meters under ice, climbed 23,600 feet up Mount Everest in just shorts and shoes, and stayed submerged in ice for 1 hour and 53 minutes.
He is also consciously able to influence his immune system. Doctors injected him with a bacterial endotoxin that typically produces symptoms of E. Coli infection for about 6 hours. Using his breathing method, he was able to suppress his immune response and avoid the symptoms. The thing about Wim Hof that is most interesting is that he can teach anyone to do what he does.
Wim has taught thousands of people to withstand the cold and use the breathing method he developed to influence systems that previously we had thought entirely inaccessible to us. This fact is interesting to me, especially as a fan of stoicism, is that it means that we can challenge our automatic stress. It’s bizarre to feel relaxed in a cold shower, or after holding my breath for 3 minutes. But that is what the Wim Hof Method does. The other health benefits are undoubtedly compelling, but the mental benefits are immediately noticeable and significant. I have been practicing the method on and off for a couple of years. I have noticed significant differences in my default mood and focus level, depending on whether I have been doing the method. When you practice doing something like relaxing in a stress-inducing cold shower, it becomes a lot easier to relax in all other situations. Reactions start to slow down, and self-control increases. Fear begins to dissipate. It is almost laughable how beneficial the regular practice of this technique is.
Amid this pandemic, incorporating cold showers, which have a host of mental health benefits and people have used them for centuries for that purpose, is a great idea. We can say the same thing for breathwork. Put them together, and you have a potential wellbeing cocktail known as the Wim Hof Method.
Go here to learn more about the method and how you can start applying it.