Today we spend most our life in homeostasis (in perfect balance), we are in the comfort of our homes/offices/cars where the temperature and lighting and other modern inventions are designed to make us feel comfortable. And what has happened? We sit still, we get fat, we break down. What does this tell us? We are soo smart that we have created the perfect environment, with perfect temperature and we are never physically challenged at all. Humans are pre-programmed to longe for comfort. This is a mirage. If we just have a look at a person who always stays in their “comfort zone”, never move, relax and eat whatever their minds crave. They are in chains of comfort, and they have become weak in all aspects. It’s time we realize that we live in a cocoon of comfort and technology that does not challenge us.
The pleasure principle
In Freudian psychoanalysis, the pleasure principle (Lustprinzip in German) is the instinctual seeking of pleasure and avoiding pain in order to satisfy biological and psychological needs. This instinct is the driving force and the motivation for of the survival of all creatures to overcome the challenges in the environment around it. The two drivers for the pleasure principle are the immediate rewards of feeling:
Our species has been here about 200k years, and we are the results of our ancestors constant, neverending biological adaptations, through a process called natural selection. Which means that our species adapts (extremely well) to the challenges of our environment and pass on favorable traits to our offspring (our children). These adaptations have made our lives incrementally easier. This process is known as evolution.
Comfort is taken for granted
Until very recently there has never been a time in our history where we have been able to take comfort for granted.
There has always been a balance between the effort and the downtime (RnR – Rest and Relaxation as the army call it) we earned. For a majority of our time on earth, our ancestors managed to adapt to the environment and thrive without the use of modern technology. Instead of relaxing all the time, they were “strong” and they had to challenge themselves on a daily basis just to survive. We are the first of our kind that can completely ignore our natural obstacles for survival. The reason why we “automatically” seek comfort is that it was never the normal state for our ancestors.
The Dark side of comfort
Very few humans are routinely chased by bears. Most of us have no “real” challenges at all. We are overstuffed, overheated and understimulated. This “victory” over the natural world hasn’t made our bodies stronger. In fact: effortless comfort has made us fat, lazy and resulted in an overall decrease in health. To verify this claim look in any health journal or just walk into any major city and study the majority of people.
Pain is now a commodity
But still there are some humans that try break out of homeostasis. Our Friend and podcast Guest (TFP 052) Ludvig Sunström wrote a whole book on the topic called just: Breaking Out of Homeostasis. You can listen here and buy his book here.
Actually, today, we can notice a change in society in the last years. The change is that people actually volunteer to experience pain. A lot of people pay huge amounts of money to do “hard” races, like OCR (Obstacle Course Race), Marathons and so on. And more and more people are joining in more extreme forms of training regimens like CrossFit, Swimming, SwimRun, Running and so on. They have realized that the true way to achieve real comfort and pleasure, is overcoming challenges. Since we are almost always comfortable, we have made our bodies weaker.
Solution: Environmental stress: Cold Exposure
We know that muscles, organs, nerves, fat tissue, and hormones all respond and change due to input from the outside world. We also know that some external signals sometimes skip the conscious parts of our brains and create physical reactions: “fight-or-flight” responses. For example, ice-cold water triggers a number of processes to warm the body, but it also adjusts the insulin production, tightens the circulatory system, and increase mental awareness. To verify this you actually have to get uncomfortable and experience the cold if you want to initiate those responses One of the best and easiest ways to unlock hidden potential is to voluntarily expose ourselves to cold.
The solution is simple and elegant: to reintroduce environmental stressors to our daily routine will bring back our evolutionary vigor.
12 benefits of Cold Exposure
- Cold Exposure Aids Fat Loss
- Cold Exposure Fights Inflammation
- Cold Exposure Increases Lifespan
- Cold Exposure Strengthens the Nervous System
- Cold Exposure May Heal Injuries and Speed Recovery
- Cold Exposure Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
- Cold Exposure Improves Sleep Quality
- Cold Exposure Strengthens the Immune System
- Cold Exposure Enhances Detox Pathways
- Cold Reduces Pain
- Cold Exposure May Increase Bone Health
- Cold Exposure Increases Will Power
Cold exposure. This sure sounds uncomfortable! Are there really any science behind this? Yes! Actually, there is soo much science that we will just cover some of the benefits for the moment. You can read more about it all over internet. I personally like this article Self Hacked, and I you can visit them if you want to dig deeper! 🙂