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

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) and blog, 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.

3. Deep breathing:

Based on research, Wim Hof has shown how deep breathing, mindfulness and cold exposure helps with mood regulation, which can strengthen our mental resilience and help us combat depression and anxiety. 

The adrenaline rush from deep breathing also resets our biochemistry, putting the brain and body into a state of good stress and preparing you for positive action. Deep breathing can help make stress work for you and not against you. Top-down regulation through mind management and deep breathing creates neurological pathways in the brains that harness your stress mechanisms to help you deal with the ups and downs of life.

Deep, intentional breathing can also help boost the immune system by better fueling the cells of the body and helping it fight off pathogens, which is especially important as we enter flu season during a global pandemic! In fact, as Wim notes, deep breathing may even increase the white cell count in our bone marrow, helping us combat illnesses like cancer (when paired with other treatments).

Wim Hof has an amazing free app that can help you learn how to make deep breathing, mindfulness and cold exposure a daily habit, so check it out! He also has a free mini-class online.

For more on deep breathing, the Wim Hof method and mental health, listen to my podcast with Wim (episode #216), and check out his website and his new book. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing! And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media (don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).

*This podcast and blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.

This podcast was sponsored by:
Blinkist (This is one of my favorite ways to pass the time while exercising and build my brain, which improves mental resilience!): To get your free week on Blinkist AND 25% off your subscription, see: 
Pique Tea (A great-tasting, toxin-free tea company that will keep you healthy and warm all winter!): I love all Pique tea products, but they just came out with a new product I cannot get enough of and one that is perfect for the cold weather: their electric turmeric tea! The turmeric in this tea helps support healthy inflammation responses, boosts your immune systems, and helps with joint function. I LOVE making golden milk lattes with this tea right after my morning workout to help with any muscle and joint pains. Get 5% off your order with the code DRLEAF at checkout at

For more mental self-care tips to improve your mental health, pre-order my new book 101 Ways to be Less Stressed, which is now on sale at 20% off!  

You can also check out my app SWITCH, which is a great tool for helping you learn how to manage your mind, deal with the roots of your mental distress, and overcome thought patterns and behaviors that impact your wellbeing through the mental process of reconceptualization. 

Podcast Highlights

2:10 Natural ways to access the power to heal within us 

3:50 The 3 pillars of the Wim Hof Method

22:45 How to protect your health from viruses

29:48 How deep breathing and mind management can combat depression and anxiety  

32:14, 50:20 Why racism is a form of bodily stress that affects our health 

33:22 How deep breathing positively impacts our white cell count, which helps combat cancer  

45:50 How deep breathing can make stress work for you and not against you 

1:00:00 How to breathe deeply and improve your mental and physical health

Switch On Your Brain LLC. is providing this podcast as a public service. Reference to any specific viewpoint or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by our organization. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. If you have any questions about this disclaimer, please contact


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