The mind follows physiology. When the body gets too hot, the mind marshals resources to cool it down. Everything, including thoughts, ideas, and emotions, waits on the sideline until the mind regulates body temperature to a normal level. The same is true when the body gets too cold. Everything going on in the mind is suspended because doing two things at once is inefficient. The brain exerts its will for survival.
This is how the best thinkers reset the brain when it needs to be redirected. Getting extremely hot or cold — through exercise, steam rooms, saunas, plunge pools, and ice baths — works to kickstart the brain into new thinking. When in a funk, fixating on an unwanted thought or person, stressed about an event or outcome, or simply lacking normal clarity, the time is ripe for a reset.
It's amazing how fast the brain gets to work following the physiological needs of the body. Within 10 minutes of extreme hot or cold, whatever thoughts were first and foremost recede and go to the back of the line. While it is up to the thinker to maintain this new outlook after the body readjusts, the window is open for a fresh beginning.
The next time you are so angry you could spit, or your mind just won’t let go of something you would prefer to, remember the brain takes care of the body before your preciously guarded thoughts. Sometimes, even a few minutes of relief can make a world of difference. Anyone for a morning swim?
This is so good. I've hear Tony Robbins teach that it is much easier to "move" your way to a different state of being, than it is to "think" your way to a different state of being. That always rings true for me, but your article spells out why. Thanks.
Andrew Huberman recently spoke on Shane Parrish podcast about the benefits of cold showers at building resilience.
70 minute mark for those without time to listen to entire conversation (which is great, btw)