You’ve probably heard this one before as another one of those self-help life hacks for success like waking up at 5 AM or reading a book a day. I’m definitely not saying taking a cold shower every day will transform your life or make you the person you’ve always wanted to be just like that. I am making the claim, however, that more people than not could benefit in their daily lives from trying to implement cold showers into their systems. As someone who is always thinking about new ways to try to challenge themselves or new ways to approach the day, I gave cold showers a try and learned a lot, seeing clear benefits, both physical and mental.
Let’s start with the physical: As someone that lives in a very cold climate, my skin and hair constantly dry out. This problem is only exacerbated by long and hot showers. The prolonged exposure to hot temperatures in the shower not only dehydrates the skin but can also cause damage to the surface of the skin, potentially leading to other, more serious problems. On the other hand, cold water will actually tighten the cuticles and pores, preventing them from getting clogged. Plus, it will “seal” pores in the skin and scalp, stopping dirt from getting in. Cold showers are also effective in reducing muscle soreness following strenuous workouts and, as a bonus, will not fog up the mirror.
All those reasons are awesome and really help me out, but the mental boost these showers give me is really why I continue doing them. First off, there’s the meditative aspect. When that frigid water touches your body for the first time, you have an instinctual reaction to the unnatural environment. Your body experiences a brief shock and all you can really focus on is getting air into your lungs. You can’t think about anything else but breathing. As a result, you start to experience a centeredness and your oxygen intake, heart rate, and alertness all increase. For me, it makes me feel more alive and when I work it into my systems, I gain an unbelievable boost of natural energy for the rest of my day.
Next, there is the mindset it instills. Plain and simple, when you get into that shower, you are not going to be comfortable. If you try to think through and analyze every aspect of the shower, it is going to be a lot harder to get in. For a brief moment, it is going to make life a little bit harder. But, that’s the best part: that you know it’s going to suck for a bit, but you just do it; you act now. And that’s a reminder of the mindset you want to have for the rest of the day. You are telling yourself that not only are you not afraid of being uncomfortable, but you actually welcome the challenge and can handle anything thrown at you. The unspoken confidence and pride that this can provide for you will allow you to excel in everything else you are doing.
Call to Action:
Try taking a cold shower today.
- Make sure you have everything you are going to need for your shower ready. (your shampoo, soap, etc)
- Turn the shower on to one of the coldest settings. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the coldest one, but something that will make you very uncomfortable.
- Jump in. No thinking. No waiting.
- Focus on your breath. Move around. Take in the cold and experience. Prove to yourself you can handle it because you can.
- Do everything you have to do in the shower and then turn it off, noticing how you feel.
Then, make it an intention to take cold showers for a few days in a row or for a week straight. See if you can make cold showers a part of your everyday life.
PS: I also wanted to make the clarification that hot showers are not going to kill you or prevent you from being great. This is just a recommendation of something that works for me and, while it might not be for everyone, it might just make your daily life that much better.
Plus, for a more extreme take on the power of regularly immersing ourselves in freezing temperatures, check out the Wim Hof Method.
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