Years ago, I began to hear how cold plunges and cold shower were healthy. That sent shockwaves through my system, and I vacillated between total denial and the compelling desire to prove that theory wrong …. surely subjecting yourself to freezing cold water, by choice, was a terrible idea.
You see, when I was young…okay, okay, I admit, even now as a grown adult, I would stand by the side of the ocean, lake, pool or anywhere there was cold water and wait until everyone was about to get out. Then I would jump in and immediately jump out again…just so I could say I did it but I wouldn’t have to spend any time in the .
I know it’s kind of wimpy, but I’ve been just fine with that. However, recently I've had several teachers, friends, and even strangers, yes, a woman on the subway tell me about the incredible value of cold showers and how I "had" to do it. Ugh…..it was clearly a sign.
So I begrudgingly tried to understand and dare I say experiment with this practice. And what I experienced really surprised me.
First of all, it has been historically steeped in different cultures including my Scandinavian ancestors who have long believed a cold dip would kick start blood flow and increase endorphins. That explains why my Norwegian mother always comes out of cold pools smiling and happily announcing how “invigorating” it was.
It also has many other powerful benefits:
This increased “stress”, causes the release of hormones and neurotransmitters to compensate or adapt. This leads to improved “physiological and mental resilience”. Cold therapy is often used to help people overcome addictions using this principle. As people learn to cope with the discomfort of the cold, they also learn to withstand the challenges of withdrawal. So if you are wanting to “toughen up” or increase your willpower, cold showers are a very inexpensive and natural way to support your journey!
As for my little experiment, I started with a 2 minute cold shower daily (They recommend the water is above 57 degrees…mine was about 67 degrees)
I’d like to say I LOVE it, but I don't... yet. :-) I do notice a definite improvement in focus and energy.
AND the biggest surprise has been the powerful shift in perspective. Whenever I hit up against something difficult, I find myself thinking…this is tough, but it’s way better than that cold shower. Then instead of procrastinating and belaboring the action, I just do it.
That simple (though dreaded) daily ritual has truly seeded and reinforced the belief that if I can willingly stand in freezing cold water than I can willingly do anything I put my mind to.
And THAT is worth a cold shower
So if you are wanting a more natural strategy to help manage anxiety or depression, kickstart your weight loss, increase your energy or change your belief in what's possible for YOU. I say go for it.
Turn on that cold water, jump in and come out ready to SHINE!!!
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