How to Train Your Mind to Fight Off Stress & Viruses with the Legendary Wim Hof

Dr. Caroline Leaf
3 min readOct 21, 2020

If anything, this year and the global COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that so much is out of control. Yet there is still reason to hope! Even though we cannot always control what happens to or around us, we can control how we choose to react to the circumstances of life.

In this podcast (episode #216), I speak with the incredible “Iceman” Wim Hof about his new book The Wim Hof Method, the power of mind management, how cold exposure and deep breathing can improve our mental and physical health, ways to protect your body against viruses, how to train the brain to overcome any obstacle, and more!

Although it may not seem like it, many aspects of our lives are in our willful control. Everyone can influence, at will, their own biology and lifespan through directed mindfulness and good lifestyle habits like deep breathing. In his book, Wim Hof points out how research has shown that within just 8–9 weeks you can lengthen the telomeres in your DNA through mind work and healthy lifestyle choices, which can have a positive effect on your health and longevity! No matter what happens or what will happen, you are in charge of the moments of your life! You are capable of so much more than you have ever thought possible. The power we have within us is unreal.

Wim Hof teaches people how to start harnessing this power naturally through the three pillars of his method:

1. Mindfulness:

Through the power of intention, you can direct your biochemistry and genetic expression and become happier, stronger, and healthier. You are a thought alchemist!

However, this is something that needs to be practiced daily. Mind-management is a skill that needs to be taught and developed from younth — it is a lifestyle, not a one-off thing. As you self-regulate your thinking daily, you change the way you function for the better.

Always remember, you are the owner of your own mind. Don’t focus so much on the external world that you forget about the power you have within you. You can awaken this power at any time!

2. Cold exposure:

Cold exposure (like taking regular cold showers) helps boost the cardiovascular system, which increases blood flow, oxygen levels and the availability of nutrients, so we are better able to have energy to think and live well.

Dr. Caroline Leaf

Mental health expert. I have spent the last 30+ years researching ways to help people manage mental health issues in school, work, and life: