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Extreme Environment Is What We Need If We Want To Stay Healthy

Extreme Environment Is What We Need If We Want To Stay Healthy

If you’ve watched Man vs. Wild, you must have gasped at what Bear Gryll does in the show. Taking baths in icy rivers, eating giant worms, sleeping unprotected in the wild…

It’s really hard to imagine how life would be if we were placed in such extreme environments, isn’t it? Living in the modern society, we seldom need to confront the elements. When summer comes, we can simply turn on the air-conditioners. In the winter, we can stay in our cozy homes with the protection of heaters.

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The counter-intuitive approach to keep us healthy

While we’re counting our blessings, the American journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney puts forward a different view. In his recent book What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environment Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength, Carney suggests that apart from exercise and diet, exposure to environmental stress, like extreme high and low temperatures, is the essential third pillar to keep us healthy.

What doesn’t kills you makes you stronger

Thinking what Carney says is counter-intuitive? Then you haven’t realized the fact that human body needs occasional physical challenges to maintain its optimal state. It is the modern sedentary lifestyle creates the illusion that we can’t endure the harsh conditions shown in Man vs. Wild.

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Just as what Carney wrote in his book:

“With no challenge to overcome frontier to press, or threats to flee from, the humans of the millennium are overstuffed, overheated, and under-stimulated.”

Modern sedentary lifestyle is a sugar-coated poison

Actually, the surge of health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and anxiety in this century has proven that the comfortable lifestyle we’re living is not desirable for our bodies. Degeneration comes when we consume too many processed foods and become oversensitive to trivial matters in life.

That’s why Carney advocates bringing environmental challenges back into our lives. He worked with Wim Hof, a Dutchman with the nickname of “Iceman” to conduct an experiment to see whether exposure to extremely cold environment can help bring our fitness to another level and heal us from injuries and diseases.

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Although currently there is no concrete scientific evidence showing the effectiveness of Hof’s cold exposure therapy, Carney observed from Hof’s students that withstanding extreme cold weather helps relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and Cohn’s disease.

Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/5824862885/in/photolist-9SHWNr-8wp5vz-uqRE4y-vMkMKW-9ZwcHm-v6hYDN-v6hQUu-ur31gr-fbbXhu-9U5yYp-vFNUW6-2u9sE-vMkVf7-wkTekj-6RMZ5Z-v7T2uh-vnS9GB-kB43N2-6cL1Gf-yajwuz-d8TvT3-8wBB1U-wm4rkb-v6hLQW-5bLwEz-5kRRTQ-wkVQWY-v88ASa-8wBBeq-kB6yvJ-wcNQTd-vkyCH5-w5pN9e-vMt1wV-5vfJZq-6Zhxv4-wCFvwr-kB65Ms-vFNKja-vMhh87-wm55wC-wBYyPs-oaeu8j-kB3XNn-eeBJEn-2u9sX-vMnjRd-pyd1Bk-4Ddjqv-4W6xtM via flickr.com

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Ricky Tang

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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