Take the Plunge
This article is all about cold showers.
Well, kind of….
More what I have learned from taking cold showers.
This is not an article about the physiology of cold showers.
This article is about what cold showers have done for my personal development as a human being.
Why Cold Showers?
I am a huge fan of personal development.
In my own personal journey, I have come across a few gurus in the field.
One thing I noticed is that many of these individuals have morning rituals that they use every day to get their minds right, to get prepared for their day, to wake up and to activate their bodies.
Both Tony Robbins and Tim Ferris are huge advocates for cold showers in the morning.
I figured this could work for me as well.
Also, Tai Lopez told a story of a Sioux tribe that used to dip their young in freezing cold ice water as a means to toughen them up.
This concept of this was appealing to me as I will gladly embark upon any test of my will, discipline, commitment and mental toughness.
So, I stood in front of the shower head, cranked it on cold and let the cold water work it’s magic.
Something has to grow in a cold shower…
If you recall from an old post, we discussed two different types of stress – eustress and distress.
Eustress is the type of stress that is infrequent, forces you outside your comfort zone in order to grow and develop and usually feels good once it has past.
In contrast, distress is frequent, chronic and doesn’t promote growth and development.
The cold showers are scary, you probably won’t like them, you probably won’t want to do them, but man, do they feel good afterwards.
To me, they are a form of eustress.
I feel awake, alert and content with the fact that I told myself I was going to do it and then I actually followed through and did it.
Like I mentioned above, I value mental toughness and being able to push past mental obstacles. Every morning when I go to the shower, I know what’s coming.
I know how that cold water will feel when it hits my body
I go through all sorts of reasons why I don’t need to do it…
but I do it anyway.
Like one of my favourite quotes from Craig Weller during his days of Special Operations Forces selection:
“Finish out today and quit tomorrow”
I often tell myself:
“I am not going to quit today, I’ll take this cold shower, and tomorrow I’ll quit”
Of course, tomorrow comes and I have not quit.
I just need to give myself permission to quit.
This mental toughness can lend itself to other pursuits.
“I don’t want to workout today, but I will and if I choose, I can quit tomorrow.”
“I am tired of this stupid nutrition habit, but I’ll do it anyway and if I choose, I can quit tomorrow.”
What is self-confidence?
It is belief in yourself.
It is telling yourself you are going to do something and then going out and doing it.
When you say you’re going to do something and then don’t,
you don’t develop belief in yourself,
you don’t develop the belief that you will follow through,
you don’t develop confidence in yourself.
Tell yourself you’re going to take a cold shower.
Then do it.
Follow through on what you tell yourself.
And you’ll start to believe in yourself.
And your confidence will grow.
The skill of “Bouncing back”
I am incredibly ritualistic.
It is actually really tough for me to stop doing something once I start…good or bad.
With this cold shower ritual, I noticed myself not wanting to take a day off from it.
I thought if I quit, I wold never be able to get it back.
Then I made the choice to not do it one day,
but for the main purpose of working my ability to bounce back after a set-back.
This is huge!
Especially for fitness and health.
How many times did you have a bad meal and then completely fall of the Wagon?
Well, this skill is all about bouncing back after falling off the Wagon.
This is literally life.
Sometimes you can control your eating,
Sometimes you can get your workouts in,
but sometimes you cannot.
Sometimes you go to Christmas dinner and eat too much.
Sometimes you miss a week’s worth of workouts.
Think about the next step.
And then act on it.
Practice the skill of getting back on the Wagon.
We talk often to our coaching clients about being mindful and aware of what they are experiencing.
Let me tell you, I don’t know if there is anything better (that’s actually healthy for you) than a cold shower when it comes to being mindful and aware.
You don’t notice anything else but the cold-ass water hitting your cold ass.
Being mindful, present and focused on the cold water and the feelings you are experiencing allows you to be aware of the feelings, the sensations and the discomfort your are experiencing.
I completely acknowledge the discomfort I am feeling.
And this has implications to a host of other aspects of life.
Awareness changes everything.
When you are aware of what you are feeling and experiencing, you can change it.
For example, over-eating after supper.
So many people do this.
I do it.
But, do we even notice what we are doing while we do it.
It’s pretty tough to change something we don’t even know we are doing.
As soon as you acknowledge that you are over-eating after supper, you can take the steps necessary to implement an alternative behaviour.
stocking up on veggies and snacking on them after supper
you can even brush your teeth right after you eat supper.
Vigor and happiness
Again, this is not an article on the physiology of cold showers, so I just want to touch on this briefly.
Ever splash cold water on your face and get fired up?
Cold showers are like that…except for your whole body!
Also, cold water can actually improves happiness by boosting some feel-good chemicals in your brain.
For real though, this article is about more than just cold showers.
This article is about taking yourself outside your comfort zone.
And there are several activities I am sure you could think of that are outside your comfort zone.
It doesn’t have to be a cold showers.
It could be anything that freaks you out.
Anything that scares you.
Anything that makes you a little uncomfortable.
Because that is life.
Life is filled with discomfort that serves the purpose of building you up,
making you stronger
allowing you to grow as a person.
Do you remember the old Lululemon bags that used to say:
“Do something everyday that scares you”
That is what this article is all about:
Stretching your comfort zone as a means to grow your comfort zone.
Go get ‘em