Have you ever wondered how so many people--especially those in the United States--handled summer heat before the blessings of air conditioning? Notorious for its reputation of having coolers on ice-cold blast during the summer months in homes, offices, shopping malls, movie theaters, and doctors' offices alike, the United States reigns supreme in AC use--something many parts of Asia and Europe still use sparingly.

It happens that the answer is yes. In a recent lecture at the New York Academy of Medicine by Stan Cox, author of Losing Our Cool, Cox revealed that our past generations' lack of synthetic cooling actually gave our predecessors and ancestors an advantage over us; they possess, in general, a much greater tolerance for heat than we are capable of.

Apparently, the cooling effect of AC operates on two levels. First, it actually makes the outside air appear even hotter to us when coming from a place that is air conditioned. Thus, on a psychological level, it actually reduces our mental capacity to take greater outside heat by augmenting the already hot temperature in our minds.

Second, the widespread, rampant use of AC is incredibly detrimental to the environment as a whole. Residential cooling consumes so much energy on a global level that scientists are starting to get concerned about it.

So, in order to grow a bit more comfortable in this summer's overwhelming heat, it might be worthwhile to take a note from other parts of the world and refrain from turning on the air conditioning at the slightest threat of heat.

Challenge yourself by allowing your home or office to reach a higher temperature than it normally would before you turn on the AC. If so many in Europe and Asia can do it every year, there's no reason you can't either. Once your body adapts, both your electricity bill--and your mental endurance--will absolutely thank you.