How to develop grit


To develop grit, also known as mental toughness or resilience, suggests using deliberate cold exposure as a training tool. The protocol involves setting a designated number of "walls" or challenging points to overcome during cold exposure, such as cold showers or ice baths. By recognizing and pushing past each point where your body and mind want to resist, known as walls, you can build mental toughness. For instance, you could aim to traverse three walls in one session; the first wall is entering the cold, the second and third come as you endure the cold and experience urges to exit.

Adapting this approach to individual tolerance and safely challenging one's ability to stay in the cold—while recognizing and honoring the body's limits—enhances resilience. This method also takes into account that resilience levels vary from day to day; it's important to recognize and use these fluctuations to incrementally increase your capacity to withstand discomfort 1. Additionally, incorporating stressful academic or physical activities that challenge your willpower and tenacity is beneficial for building these qualities 2.

Another aspect of building mental resilience involves recognizing and managing the surge of stress hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine, which occur during cold exposure and resemble the body's response to stress. By deliberately exposing oneself to the cold and working to maintain composure, one can develop the ability to remain calm and clear-headed in other stressful situations, essentially training the ability to handle and overcome life's challenges 3 4.

Building Mental Toughness

Andrew Huberman shares his favorite protocol for building mental toughness, which involves using cold exposure to traverse mental walls. By setting a designated number of walls to overcome before starting the protocol, individuals can gradually increase their mental toughness and resilience. It's important to maintain cognitive control and not push oneself too far, but by counting walls and gradually increasing the challenge, individuals can build their mental toughness over time.

Huberman Lab

Using Deliberate Cold Exposure for Health and Performance | Huberman Lab Podcast #66

It's important to build these practices into your routine in a progressive and safe manner, always listening to your body and avoiding pushing past safe limits.