Leverage Cold Exposure Therapy to Blast Through Your Goals
Dr. Andrew Huberman, a renowned neuroscientist, released a YouTube video that sheds light on how to effectively leverage dopamine to overcome procrastination and optimize efforts. In this video he discusses the effects of cold exposure therapy on baseline dopamine among other protocols.
One of his Youtube subscribers named Nick Tarazona provided an excellent summary of this video. Below is a summary foundational practices and notes.
Video Summary: Protocols to increase dopamine baseline.
Foundational Practices: Focus on quality sleep, non-sleep deep rest (NSDR), and proper nutrition to increase the baseline level of dopamine and restore dopamine reserves.
Exposure to sunlight: In the morning, expose yourself to sunlight for at least 5-10 minutes, facing the Eastward towards the sun on a clear day, to increase cortisol and dopamine levels.
Movement: Incorporate resistance or cardiovascular training into your routine to maintain elevated levels of baseline dopamine achieved through regular exercise.
Cold water exposure: Take a brief dip in cold water up to the neck for 30 seconds to 2 minutes to increase baseline dopamine levels for at least 2-5 hours. Start warmer than you think you need to and ease into it over a few days. Do not expose yourself to cold water after strength or hypertrophy training.
Tyrosine supplementation: Consider taking a low dosage of l-tyrosine (250-500mg) 30-60 minutes before a cognitive or physical task to increase baseline levels of dopamine for extended periods of time and improve performance.
Avoid excessive dopamine-releasing behaviors or substances: Be mindful of how often you engage in behaviors or substances that stimulate dopamine release and how many you stack together.
Guard and protect activities you enjoy: Avoid attaching too many dopamine-releasing behaviors or substances to activities you enjoy to protect their intrinsic value.
Overcoming procrastination: If you find yourself procrastinating, try doing something tangential or more painful to quickly pull yourself out of a procrastination state.
Cold Exposure and the Full Neural Reset
One of the most intriguing aspects of cold exposure therapy is its ability to induce a full neural reset. This process is thought to be responsible for the enhanced mood, focus, and motivation that many people experience after a cold plunge. A full neural reset occurs when the body's stress response is activated and then rapidly deactivated, allowing the nervous system to return to a state of equilibrium.
During cold exposure, the body's initial response is to constrict blood vessels, which conserves heat and directs blood flow to the body's core. This reaction also prompts the release of endorphins and dopamine, which can provide feelings of euphoria and well-being. As the body acclimates to the cold temperature, the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, promoting relaxation and restoration. This shift from an activated stress response to a relaxed state results in a full neural reset, leaving you feeling refreshed, invigorated, and ready to tackle any challenge.
Why Cold Plunges Are So Profound
What is truly remarkable about cold exposure therapy is that even a brief session, lasting just 30 seconds to 2 minutes, can have a significant impact on baseline dopamine levels. This short duration of cold exposure is enough to activate the sympathetic nervous system and stimulate the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters, leading to increased alertness, motivation, and overall well-being.
Cold Plunges: A Systematic and Convenient Approach
Cold plunges provide a convenient and systematic way to engage in cold exposure therapy without the hassle of setting up an ice bath or worrying about ice supplies. These specially designed tubs or pools are filled with cold water, typically maintained at a temperature between 50°F and 59°F (10°C and 15°C). Cold plunges allow users to easily immerse themselves up to the neck, providing consistent and controlled cold exposure in a safe and efficient manner.
The convenience of cold plunges means that individuals can quickly and easily incorporate cold exposure therapy into their daily routines. This streamlined approach enables users to experience the benefits of increased baseline dopamine levels without the need for extensive preparation or time-consuming setup.
Cold Exposure Therapy for Those with Physical Limitations
One of the most noteworthy aspects of cold exposure therapy is its accessibility for people with physical limitations. Unlike exercise, which may be challenging or even impossible for some individuals due to physical constraints, cold exposure therapy provides a powerful and effective means of leveraging dopamine for motivation and well-being.
Cold plunges offer a low-impact, accessible method for engaging in cold exposure therapy, making it an ideal option for individuals with limited mobility, chronic pain, or other physical limitations. By incorporating cold exposure therapy into their daily routine, these individuals can experience the mood-boosting, stress-reducing, and motivation-enhancing effects of increased dopamine levels without the need for strenuous physical activity.
In conclusion, cold exposure therapy, specifically through full submersion in a cold plunge, presents a powerful and accessible method for increasing baseline dopamine levels. With minimal setup time and the ability to accommodate individuals with physical limitations, cold plunges provide an efficient and effective way to experience the numerous benefits of cold exposure therapy. By incorporating this practice into your daily routine, you can harness the power of dopamine to supercharge your life, boost motivation, and overcome procrastination.