Cold showers may not sound like the best thing in the world, especially if you live anywhere aside from the tropics. You might dread the feeling of stepping into a cold shower, knowing that every part of your body is going to be stabbed with a thousand cold wet knives.
But cold showers are actually incredibly good for you, to the point that they can change your life. And no, we’re not joking.
While this article is going to focus on the mental benefits of cold showers, there are some amazing scientifically proven benefits to cold showers as well.
– Increases alertness
– Improves immune system
– Eases stress
– Relieves depression
– Increases blood circulation
– Improved sleep
– Improved testosterone
– Speed up metabolism
– Activates fat loss
Sounds too good to be true , right? But if those benefits aren’t enough for you, perhaps these 5 psychological and mental benefits of cold showers will:
1) You Learn to Accept
When you wake up every day knowing that you’re about to step into a cold shower, you eventually learn to accept. Accept what?
Accept that sometimes you just have to do what you don’t want to do. That the environment you put yourself in isn’t always going to feel the best or be the best, and by learning to accept you learn to be grateful for what you have. Because the more you accept the bad, the more you will appreciate the good.
If you look at the happiest countries in the world, you will find that the nine happiest countries are all located in Northern Europe, and Canada. What do they all have in common? They are all freezing cold.
Like morning after morning of cold showers, the experience of going outside and braving the freezing weather teaches people to accept what they have to deal with. This ultimately makes it easier to be happy.
2) You Learn to Be Humble
When you get too big-headed, it’s always important to have something in your life that can pop your balloon and knock you back to the ground. For many of us, that “something” is a cold shower.
Remember the ALS ice bucket challenge? We all loved those videos, and every celebrity from Oprah to Bill Gates played a part in it. Again and again, we watched celebrities get dunked with ice cold water. But why?
Because we wanted to see them drenched and shivering. We wanted to see them humbled.
You may feel awesome and strong, but the moment you step into a cold shower, you will shiver and internally beg for it to stop just like everyone else.
The cold shower has a way of being daily life’s great equalizer—it is the one moment we have in the modern world where nature has complete power over us with temperature.
Reliving this moment every morning can keep you on the ground, and remind you that you are human, just like everyone else.
3) You Learn to Tolerate
There is one piece of advice that anyone who wants to achieve anything must always remember—you have to learn to be uncomfortable.
By not knowing how to be uncomfortable, you will end up spoiled and bratty, never letting yourself get dirty or exhausted or sweaty, even if you are working towards something you want.
A popular type of meditative technique teaches this, called Vipassana meditation. This is where you meditate in complete silence for over ten hours a day, and for some hours, you aren’t allowed to move at all. Scratches, itches, sore backs, cramped legs—everything must be ignored, until eventually you learn to control your body with your mind.
Cold showers add value to us in the same way. They teach us to tolerate stress and uncomfortable situations. The mind learns that it must figure out how to cope with situations that causes the body angst and stress. With cold showers, you become the owner of your body, not the other way around.
4) You Learn Discipline and Willpower
There is no stronger human trait than willpower. Willpower determines everything that you will do with your life. It measures how much you will resist temptations, control addictions, get enough sleep, keep yourself healthy and in shape, be smarter, and be a better person in general.
Willpower is the greatest trait you can develop, and many people who lack the willpower to achieve greatness believe that it is something you are born with.
But it’s not—like a muscle, willpower and discipline must be practiced, used, and exercised to make stronger. In one book called The Power of Habit, a study is cited that discusses how one group of hungry students were allowed to snack on cookies; the other group was forbidden to eat the cookies, and they could just have radishes.
They were then tasked to solve an impossible puzzle, with the goal to see how long it would be until they gave up.
Those who had eaten cookies spent 19 minutes on the puzzle; those who had eaten radishes, just 8 minutes.
Because like muscles, willpower can be drained. The second group had already exhausted their willpower by stopping themselves from eating cookies; the first group still had all their willpower intact. This means that willpower can therefore be strengthened.
And this is what cold showers do. In just one minute a day, you can improve your willpower. Stand in the cold shower without moving and without resisting, and you will build up the wall of willpower within you. This willpower and discipline can be applied to all areas of your life.
5) You Learn How to Meditate
Wim Hof is the world record holder for dozens of temperature records, meaning he can outlast and survive temperatures that would turn other people into shivering piles of bones. Scientists have studied him, and they found that he has the strange ability to control his immune system with his mind.
And the best part? He teaches how to do this to students, and cold is his number one training tool.
Wim Hof believes that it all lies with your breathing. As soon as you feel a rush of cold, your body naturally starts gasping for quick breaths. When you learn to control your breathing—fighting against the natural tendencies of your body—you enter a state of meditation. This meditation washes you of your regrets, stresses, and anxieties, giving you a start to your day that a warm shower could never fulfill.
Cold Showers: The Medicine to Life
If that hasn’t convinced you to start taking cold showers, then nothing will. Turn off the water heater and embrace the cold running from your shower nozzle; eventually, you will start to see what all the fuss is about.