What Is Extreme Wellness?
The world of today moves much faster than it used to, and people seem to be busier than ever. As a result, many are turning to calming activities like yoga, meditation, or taking vacations to deal with stress from their daily grind. Calming the mind is certainly an effective way to manage stress and improve overall wellness, but what about embracing the other end of the spectrum?
The growing trend that seems to be the opposite of typical stress management techniques is known as extreme wellness. What exactly is it? Well, instead of going on a vacation to the Galapagos Islands and swimming with the turtles, think more like being a contestant on an episode of Survivor. At its essence, extreme wellness is about pushing the limits of the body and mind in a challenging setting. Doing this, advocates argue, is among the best ways to help you grow and discover your true potential.
Extreme Travel at the Forefront
Extreme wellness is associated with traveling to exotic, remote locations. One example is the Spanish company Docastaway, who will drop you on a desert island, leaving you to survive on your own and mingle with natives. At the more expensive end is the Extraordinary Adventure Club, which combines a trip to an unknown location with mentoring, coaching, and therapy for a period of several months.1 Other examples of extreme wellness excursions include:
- Extreme cold-water surfing in Scandinavia
- Volcano boarding
- Remote wilderness retreats
- Rafting the Zambezi river
- Arctic tours
In a world where smartphone addiction is leading to increased rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and weight gain,2 extreme wellness is an opportunity to not only unplug and get away, but also step out of your comfort zone completely to experience something that is truly life-changing. These trips obviously ask a lot from you both physically and mentally, but the reward is much greater than your typical vacation.
Extreme Wellness and Technology
Along with demanding vacations and activities that ask more of us, there’s also an area of extreme wellness associated with technology. Similar to extreme wellness excursions, things like DNA-based wellness assessment tests and bio individuality are helping us unlock our true potential and reach heights we never thought possible. The idea is that with individualized information and roadmaps, we can become our best selves.
Extreme wellness is also a way for us to achieve a “flow state,” which is a zone where we are in a true state of mindfulness.3 This state is more easily achieved in an extreme, challenging situation. However, neuroscience research may hold the key the getting us into this state more easily without the need for risking our lives.
The Flow Genome Project is an organization that has done a tremendous amount of research on the biochemistry of flow states and how we can achieve them through safe methods. They have even developed a research and training “playground” with things like looping swings and gyroscopes that help the mind safely achieve a flow state.4
While “extreme fitness” might be a bit unusual, it doesn’t hold a candle to some of these.
1. “Extreme Wellness.” Global Wellness Summit. Globalwellnesssummit.com.
2. Leonard, Jayne. “16 Seriously Damaging Side Effects Of Your Smartphone Addiction.” Natural Living Ideas. Naturallivingideas.com.
3. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1990).
4. “The Flow Dojo: World’s First Flow Research & Training Center.” Vimeo. Uploaded by Flow Genome Project. Vimeo.com.