June 15: Human Heater and the Mind’s Limits

If you can learn how to use your mind, anything is possible. – Wim Hof

Day 15: Learn the ‘Wim Hof Method’.

Disclaimer: Don’t be stupid. Research stuff before you do it and learn how to do so safely. A good way to accomplish that is to google “downsides of ___” or “bad experience with ___”.

Why this challenge?

First of all, what is the Wim Hof Method? Well, it is basically a breathing technique for self-heating and handling the cold. Wim Hof holds a plethora of world records in regards to handling extreme cold and is nicknamed ‘The Iceman’. He sits in snow with nothing but shorts, swims in frigid arctic waters and once did a TED talk where he stood in a chamber filled to his neck with ice. It is safe to say that this man can withstand cold, and is an example of how much our physiology can do.

It has a few health benefits, which is appealing, but who doesn’t want to be able to feel warm in a t-shirt and shorts while everyone else is shivering? It is a useful skill. When I lend my girlfriend the jacket I was wearing, I want to be warm also.


If you would like to know the specifics, you will have to research the method yourself. But in summary, it involves three things: controlled hyperventilation, exhale and hold, then inhale and hold.

I did it right before my shower, three times consecutively. I had my shower entirely on cold. Yes, entirely on cold.

Side note: Cold showers are actually super healthy and feel good too, research it if you are interested.

So how did it go? Well as the warmth of the breathing swept over me, I put my leg into the water aaaand turn the heat a little up. It is winter here in Australia, land of the kangaroo. That means that my water was extremely cold. I have had cold showers in the past, but mostly in the summer. Don’t worry, the shower was still way colder than most people, probably including myself, would have handled. Yet I did handle it.

What I’ve Learned.

Our bodies can do much, much more than we think they can. The sole purpose of the human brain is to keep itself alive, and the easiest way for it to do that is to stay away from the limits of the body. Why use 95% of your fuel when you can use 40% and still be okay? I think this is why you hear of people doing extreme things in extreme situations, because their brain is much more scared of something else than it is of overexerting the body. Like a 14-year-old girl that lifted a car which had fallen onto her dad while working on it, or individuals, stranded without water or food surviving much, much longer than they should have. Another example is Buddhist monks, who have silenced their brain’s concern, meditating without food and water for extended periods of time.

This challenge has helped me see that I have not been living within the limits of my body, but rather the limits of my mind.