I've written a lot in the last year about mental and emotional resets.
Long time readers may remember a post discussing sleep as a convenient emotional reset.
I talked about changing who we spend time with as a way to reset parts of our personality.
I wrote about how meditating in a spa is an effective mental reset for me, personally.
Research is starting to show that a large swath of mental disorders result from cognitive hyper-activity.
Depression is when we think too much about the past.
Anxiety is when we think too much about the future.
Excess REM sleep (aka thinking too much while we sleep) can exacerbate both these conditions.
Mental health treatments, from talk therapy to antidepressants, act as a reset button for our thought processes. They let us break out of negative cognitive loops. LSD, which has been shown to be incredibly effective as a treatment for depression and anxiety, is famous (or notorious) for its ability to "open your mind".
All of us have times when we get stuck in outdated thought processes. We experience frustration when old beliefs keep us from accomplishing our goals. We feel anxiety when our lives proceed in a way that violates expectations for the future.
As I've become more convinced of the need for mental resets, I've started thinking about tools that can help enable them.
The biggest factor reinforcing negative, cognitive feedback loops is the environment.
Most existing tools, like meditation, drugs, or therapy, shift our perception of our environment. These products allow us to subtly reset without disrupting our lives. However, for many people they're not enough. They will experience a new perspective for a few hours or days, then their environment will guide them back into old thought patterns.
This is why people move close to their gym when they want to get fit.
This is why halfway houses are an effective treatment for addiction.
This is why travel is recommended as a way to prevent burnout.
Environmental change is the most powerful tool we have for resetting our thoughts. However, environmental changes are often disruptive and expensive
I want to make it as easy to change your environment as it is to order a prescription. I want coaches, therapists and friends to recommend targeted, environmental changes in the same way they prescribe other treatments.
My first attempt at this is a house where you live and work in an environment that reinforces behaviors that you want in your life.
If you want to get fit you can spend a month with other aspiring athletes who join you for regular morning workouts and healthy dinners.
If you want to be more mindful you can live with a group of people who meditate twice a day and do evening yoga.
The houses will be located just outside major cities and will be fully equipped for remote work. Participants will work remotely and remain within driving distance of their old lives. You can try on a new lifestyle for a month, determine whether it's something you want long term, and establish habits that will create sustainable change.
I would love your thoughts on this— even more than I normally love everyone's thoughts on my blog posts.
Here is a 5 minute survey with some questions related to this idea.
If you have time and interest please fill it out! I hope to run the first pilot house early next year, so check in then for more updates (and also every other day for all my normal blog posts)