That title is a little misleading. I’m still afraid of cold showers. Just a little bit. But I do them every day, at least once, usually more. Actually, I haven’t had a warm shower for several months.
I’m still afraid of cold showers, but I still do them. That is my biggest take away from making cold showers a daily practice.
I face up to a little fear of mine every day.
Every day, I exercise the ‘face your fears’ muscle. It’s a pretty strong muscle now. Every time I find myself in a situation where I could make a split-second decision to do something beneficial, but out of my comfort zone, I’m more likely to decide to do it.
I’ll talk a bit more about why cold showers are good for you, but the main aim of this article is to get you experiencing cold showers whether you think you can or not. It’s actually a fairly easy process.
Why Should You Take Cold Showers?
I’ve already talked about the ability to change your mindset on getting out of your comfort zone. But what is behind this change?
There was an experiment carried out in the Arizona desert called the Biosphere II . A giant glass structure was built and sealed off from the surrounding atmosphere to create an entirely enclosed and separate eco-system. The idea was to study the systems that affect the Earth in a controlled and miniature environment.
One of the big discoveries from this was that trees need stress to survive. The trees in the biosphere were not subjected to wind and were free to grow rapidly. Most of them fell over at a certain height. Normally the swaying of a tree will encourage it to grow slower and stronger, creating an extensive root system and thick trunks to counteract the forces of nature.
This is similar to what cold water can do for your body and mind. The uncomfortable temperature of the water gives you a controlled way to expose yourself to stress. You know you can turn it off at any moment, but your body still recognises it as a stressor.
The two main things that you get from this are:
- Your body will be more resilient to colder temperatures.
- Your mind will be more resilient to doing things you really don’t want to do.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.”Jim Rohn
That tiny moment when you stand in front of the shower controls and have the option to turn it to cold or leave it on warm is a test of mental strength. I’ve had nothing but cold showers for months, but still get challenged by my mind every time I have to turn the knob. But every time I do, I’m so grateful to myself for choosing what I set out to do.
Aside from this, you can also get a fantastic boost of alertness from a cold shower. This is ideal to combat the afternoon slump if you’ve got some important work to do.
In addition, although counter-intuitive, I found that taking a cold shower before bed makes me sleep better. The cold water might shock you, to begin with, raising your alertness but it also lowers your core temperature slightly. This is what happens naturally at night so you are, in effect, tricking the body to trigger your sleep cycle.
Taking cold showers is a fantastic standalone practice, but combined with the Wim Hof Method and meditation, you can take your personal development to another level. Those are the power triumvirate that we have found give you the biggest bang for your buck (even though there is no cost, only the effort to introduce a habit).
How Do You Start A Cold Shower Practice?
Now we get to the part you’ve been waiting eagerly for. You have been eager to get started haven’t you?
The key with building a cold shower practice is to start small and increase your cold exposure slowly.
Whatever your normal shower routine is, just add 20 seconds of cold showering at the end. That’s all. Nice and easy!
During that time, try to move your body around so that the cold water hits every part. This will make it even easier because you don’t have cold water on any single part of you body for more than a few seconds to begin with.
Get used to that for a few days, then add another 10 seconds. Do this over the course of a few weeks until you can stand under a cold shower for 2 minutes.
Then, when you were least expecting it…. Start with the shower on cold!
This is where you will get the huge benefits to your mind’s resilience.
Don’t think about it, because you might talk yourself out of it. Just turn the shower on and walk into it, or even better, stand under the shower and then turn it on!
That decision to turn it on gets easier every time you do it. Although it never gets easy.
There is no need to only have cold showers, that’s just what I’m doing right now. There is even a case to be made for alternating between hot and cold to get some contrasting temperatures going. This can help improve circulation by artificially opening and closing blood vessels on the surface of your skin.
From here on, it’s up to you how you want to experiment with cold showering. I’ve used it extremely effectively several times throughout the day to keep my energy levels high (I do work from home though). I’ve also used it to maintain decent body temperature during hot weather. I’ve also used it to help with muscle recovery after a strenuous exercise routine.
Cold showers will make you a better person. But the reason why they will make you a better person is the same reason why they are so hard to do.
Here is the easiest way to start a cold shower practice:
- Add 20 seconds of cold showering to the end of your normal shower.
- Increase this time in 10 second increments, over a few weeks, until you reach 2 minutes.
- Start your next shower on cold.
- Experiment, monitor the effects and enjoy your cold showering!
The first time you do it, you’ll hate every second. The second time you do it, you might get a second or two at the end when it doesn’t seem so bad. As you take more and more cold showers, that period of time when it doesn’t seem so bad gets longer and longer until it’s only the first second of cold water hitting you that is unpleasant.
Trust me, you can do it and you will be better off for it.
Now, please do tell us about your experiences of cold showers!