Wim Hof has 26 world records: 112 minutes submerged, from the neck down, in ice cold water. The fastest ever half-marathon barefoot on snow. Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro in nothing but shorts and sandals.
He’s a crazy motherfucker.
But it’s not his world records that impress me the most. It’s the technique he developed to achieve these wondrous feats.
The Wim Hof Method is a series of breathing, cold water exposure and stretching techniques designed to improve your mental health, physical health and even spiritual health.
I learned about the WHM after watching a VICE documentary about Wim:
Cold exposure, through cold showers or ice baths, reduces inflammation. Which is why athletes use them. But they’re also proven to improve sleep quality, boost immunity and (most importantly for us) increase focus.
Which is why I take a cold shower every morning.
And while cold exposure does help me, it’s the breathing techniques that have transformed the way I deal with ADHD.
These breathing techniques induce a voluntary stress response which leads to greater resilience towards everyday stress.
After three rounds of breathing I honestly lose 99% of my ADHD symptoms for 30 to 45 minutes.
Why? I’ve no idea.
But I’m convinced that this approach can work for you, too.
There’s just one problem. The way Wim teaches the method may be difficult for people with ADHD. Here’s why:
The first time you try this, Wim will ask you to do 3 or 4 rounds of breathing with no rest in-between.
For an ADHD brain, the prospect of doing more than one round is bound to create excuses.
For example, if someone challenges me to 100 pushups, I’ll decline. But if you ask me to do 1, I’ll do 10. And 10 easily leads to 100.
So when Wim first asked me to do 4 rounds, I declined - for two years. Instead I watched videos of Wim teaching the method to others.
I was action faking.
But one morning after arriving back in the UK after a trip to eastern Europe, I felt really shit about myself. It was the “fuck-this” event I needed to finally take the plunge.
Since then I’ve tried to convince many people to follow along. Most people try it once or twice, but stop after the 2nd round and never try again.
Which is why you need to approach it differently.
The WHM breathing technique for ADHD
Download the app here.
Open up the breathing exercises and select guided breathing.
Now do it once. Ignore his request for 3 or 4 rounds. Just once! Make sure you do it just once. That’s all you need to do.
Wim also advises us to breathe through the mouth. Although that’s fine, I’ve found it much more effective to breathe through the nose on the 1st round.
The nasal passages contain over 100 million cells that soak in the oxygen as you breathe in - which is a major reason why you shouldn’t breathe through your mouth (but we’ll talk about that in another post).
Anyway, when you breathe through your nose you’ll feel the benefits of this 10x - you’ll “get high on your own supply”.
And it’s that feeling that will get you coming back for more.
Doing one set, leads to two, three and four.
But only when you tell yourself that you only need to do one set and it’ll take around three minutes.