I’m currently listening to a new book. You might’ve heard of it.
The other day when I was driving to work and listening, a phrase to stuck out to me in this book. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that saying I heard goes like this, “Between stimulus and response, lies our power and freedom to choose. Within that space lies our growth and happiness.”
That quote struck a chord with me, and I wanted to include it in this writing about cold showers. Now, when considering how to write this blog about cold showers, I was back and forth about the physical benefits and the mental benefits.
I finally decided, why not both? Both matter to me.
So, let’s start with the physical benefits:
Improved Circulation. Good blood circulation is vital for overall cardiovascular health. Healthy blood circulation will also speed up recovery time from strenuous exercise. Alternating between hot and cold water while showering is an easy way to improve circulation. Cold water causes your blood to move to the organs to keep them warm. Warm water reverses the effect by causing the blood to move towards the surface of the skin.
Keeps skin and hair healthy. Hot water will dry out skin and hair. Also, for you fellas, cold water can make your manly mane look shinier and your skin look healthier by closing up your cuticles and pores.
Lastly Increased energy and well-being. Every time I end a shower with cold water, I leave feeling invigorated and energized. For me, the boost in energy (and mood) lasts several hours. I’m a believer that it reduces stress.
For me personally, this last reason ties into both physical and mental.
I don’t have central air conditioning in my house. During the summer, I only take cold showers. One, because it’s hot as hell most of the time. Two, I get stronger, mentally, and not in the tough and mean sort of way. When I get hot and sweaty and have to stay like that, I tend to get grumpy. The cold water will rip that grumpiness right out of me.
Physically, our bodies hate cold water. It’s a massive shock to our homeostasis and flight or fight kicks in. Mentally, it takes some gumption to stay in the water. The more practice, the longer you can go. It’s all about staying calm. The respiratory rate will increase, the heart rate spikes, but the mindset is calm. Do our workouts sound any different?
I don’t take cold showers to get better at workouts, at least not on purpose. I take them to improve my mind and my mood. It’s a pretty cheap way to do so, too!
Now, back to that quote. “Between stimulus and response, lies our power and freedom to choose. Within that space lies our growth and happiness.”
Read it again. Is it starting to make more sense?
If I choose to stay engaged with this extreme stimulus, I am making the choice to improve my physical self and my mind. As I go about this, growth happens both in my mental state and in my physiology. Plus, I come out of the cold water feeling reinvented.
Here’s how to start doing this.
Consider this Day 1. When you’re in the shower, do your usual temperature. Then, every minute, turn the water temperature down about 5 degrees. For me, that means going by feel. I go from warm, to cool, to cold, to ice. Four stages, and then I’m done. As you become more accustomed to it, you can start at cool. Keep pushing, and you can start at cold. Even better, start at ice. Or, stop paying your gas bill and you won’t have a choice.
Go cool off,