Emotional Health Science & Psychology

3 Unusual Habits That Will Change Your Life 180 Degrees

When you think about it, it all boils down to the things we do, not the things we “think” we do.

Forcing ourselves to do a simple task every day for a period of time will turn into a habit. This means that if you read every day for 1 hour, after a period of time (say a month) your brain will build strong neural connections. It won’t feel like (damn I have to read again), but it will feel like (how come I didn’t read today?). You will almost feel like not reading is missing out on something. Like a cigarette, or that cup of coffee in the morning.

I can almost guess that the first thing that you do every morning is that you check your phone. “But I see the time!” Of course, I also used that as explanation, but then I was bound to scroll on Instagram for 30 minutes. That was 30 minutes wasted every morning. Not to mention that we program ourselves to do that all day because the morning is the most important part of the day.

These 3 habits can program our brain to do incredible things because when you think about it, by default we have not evolved to be happy. We have evolved to be safe. Your brain is not forcing you to do things to be happy, but it sure is forcing you to stay in the comfort zone. That’s why the entertainment industry is booming these days. Your brain is partly to blame for that, but with the power of your will and a bit of resistance you can jump that obstacle.

So here are these 3 unusual habits that will change your life 180 degrees for the better:

1. Wim Hof Breathing Technique

Regulated by the autonomic nervous system, inhaling oxygen is an unconscious process. Fortunately it’s an unconscious praxis, otherwise we simply wouldn’t have a break, as we’d have to deal with it incessantly.

The amount of oxygen that we inhale through our breathing, influences the amount of energy that is released into our body cells. On a molecular level, this progresses via various chemical and physiological processes.

Breathing is the easiest and most instrumental part of the autonomic nervous system to control and navigate. In fact, the way you breathe strongly affects the chemical and physiological activities in your body.

Throughout the years, Wim Hof has developed special breathing exertions that keep his body in optimal condition and in complete control in the most extreme conditions. The breathing technique is first and foremost premised on inhaling deeply and exhaling without any use of force! [Wim Hof Breathing]

I have been personally using this method for 3 months now, and it’s giving me a head start for the day. While you do it, your body may change the temperature, or you might become light headed. Don’t fret, it’s all part of the exercise.

Here’s the video you can use to do it every morning (I use this one for 3 months now):

2. Cold Shower

I know, I know. “I will never do that”, “people only do that in prison”. Well, if we were actually a bit more intelligent, we would all do it too.

Water therapy (also called hydrotherapy) has been used for centuries to take advantage of our body’s tendency to adapt to severe conditions. As a result, our bodies become more resistant to stress.

Cold showers are not a main source of treatment for any particular condition, but they help improve symptom relief and general well-being.

Here are just few of the many benefits:

1. Cold showers helps fight off common illnesses

Our bodies are designed to become resistant to the elements we are exposed to. Here’s an example: leukocytes help fight infection in the body. The shock to the body by cold water stimulates leukocytes. This means that taking cold showers can help your resistance to common illnesses, like colds and the flu.

One study indicated that cold showers could make the body more resistant to certain types of cancer. And a clinical trial in the Netherlands showed that people who took cold showers called out of work less.

2. Improves circulation

It is uncomfortable to go below that cold shower, but it can be invigorating. The reason for that is because water that’s colder than our natural body temperature causes the body to work slightly harder to maintain its core temperature. If taken regularly, cold showers can improve our circulatory system. Some people also say that their skin looks better as a result of cold showers, probably because of better circulation.

3. Increases endorphins

One holistic method for depression that’s gaining popularity is hydrotherapy. Taking a cold shower for up to 5 minutes, 2 to 3 times per week, was shown to help relieve symptoms of depression in a clinical trial.

For people with depression, cold showers can work as a gentle electroshock therapy. The cold water sends electrical impulses to your brain. They jolt your system to increase alertness, clarity, and energy levels. Endorphins, which are the so-called happiness hormones, are also released. This effect leads to feelings of well-being and optimism.

4. Helps improve metabolism

People that are obese can’t simply take cold shower and lose the fat overnight. But taking a cold shower 2 or 3 times a week may contribute to increased metabolism. It may help fight obesity over time. The research about how exactly cold showers help people lose weight is unclear. Still, it does show that cold water can even out certain hormone levels and heal the gastrointestinal system. These effects may add to the cold shower’s ability to lead to weight loss. [Healthline]

The list can go on and on, but isn’t it enough? Start taking cold showers if you want to have positive effect on your overall health.

3. Handwrite your goals

Okay, I confess. Writing your goals is not news, but it’s really important to handwrite them. Here’s why:

Typing notes enables you to write down more material swiftly, but you’re more likely to remember the things you wrote down if you handwrite them, according to research from Indiana University.

“To learn something means you have processed it,” says Dr. Towfigh. “And when you take handwritten notes you ‘process’ or learn more information. You begin the learning process as you listen to the lecture.” Plus, since you look at the page on which you are writing, you naturally review the material and reinforce the information you’ve already processed, Dr. Towfigh says. [Health]

Not to mention that handwriting sharpens your critical thinking, enables you to recall the material effectively and makes your conceptual understanding stronger.

Some old school habits will never die, no matter how many new technologies we invent.

Try these habits and you will feel the difference almost immediately, especially from those cold showers!