We live in the most peaceful and comfortable times ever; and let’s hope that the future will get even more comfortable with all the technological development, progress in medicine, and social collaboration. Nevertheless, there is one downside to these softer times. We’re all also becoming too soft.
No matter how comfortable life is, it will never be completely devoid of problems, failures, challenges, collapses, stress and other downfalls. No matter how comfortable life is, time comes when you have to protect yourself, fight, stand up or persist and not give up. No matter how comfortable life is, it’s impossible to stay calm and happy if you have low tolerance levels.
So even if you have an A/C, anti-mosquito repellent, working toilet and unlimited supply of toilet paper, and even if you don’t have to hunt for your own food anymore, be hungry for days, run for hours from tigers or sleep on a dirty and hard floor in a wooden cottage, and even if you can put on a sweater when it gets cold and take medicine when you have a cold,…
…you have to build up your stamina and tolerance capabilities – on the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual level. Because sooner or later, time will come when you’ll need those capabilities.
No matter how comfortable life is, you can’t just lose your temper for every small thing that causes you a little bit of discomfort. You simply can’t be a wussy or a sheep if you want to live a happy and successful life.
Thus you have to regularly expose yourself to moderate amounts of stress. That will help you to keep your “peaceful warrior” spirit strong.
Soft times make people soft, and you don’t want to be soft. You want to be tough, but also nice and fair to others. Luckily there is one simple thing you can do every day to build up your tolerance levels. You can make fun of the winter (problem) with a cold morning shower (being tougher than the problems you have to face).
Make fun of the winter with a cold morning shower.
A daily cold shower will evict the wussiness straight out of you
A cold shower is a very uncomfortable thing. It’s totally unlike a nice hot shower that relaxes you and reminds you of how comfortable and nice life is. But in a matter of seconds, a cold shower evicts any wussiness from you. It makes you alert, your stress levels drop and you can feel it in your gut that there is a real warrior somewhere deep in you.
After a cold shower, you know that you can do it. You feel that you can go after any goal. You find a new kind of strength in you.
Softness goes away and the way you look at the world changes – the world is suddenly at your disposal and you’re ready to go after your goals, no matter how big they are. You only have to make sure that the water is cold enough.
It feels great to take a cold morning shower, even if the first few ones are really tough. Besides evicting the wussiness out of you, cold showers have many other benefits. Let’s look at a few key ones.
Your energy levels will go up
After the initial cold shower shock, you will start to breathe more deeply and your body will get filled with oxygen. In addition to that, your heart rate will increase and speed up your blood circulation.
You can feel all that very well. If you’re sleepy, you will immediately wake up after feeling the first drops of cold water on your skin. Yes, coffee is for pussies. :)
Sometimes when I’m quite tired, I even take a cold shower a few times per day. It wakes me up immediately. It doesn’t last for a very long time, but the kick is good enough to begin a new activity with a fresh start.
Then I add a cup of green tea to it and I can work for hours afterwards. Now you know what to do when you need to wake up – first a cold shower and then a cup of green tea.
Cold showers will help you build strong willpower and resilience.
It will build up your immune system and help with your muscle recovery
Besides feeling more alive, the main benefit of cold showers is that they’ll help you build up your immune system. My immune system was always a bit fragile.
Healthy diet, regular exercise, managing stress properly and cold morning showers helped me a lot in strengthening it.
Cold showers also help with muscle soreness after severe training and they speed up the recovery. Many professional weightlifters do a few minute switches from cold to hot water.
Hot water relaxes the muscles and cold water helps with recovery – they start with hot water and finish with cold, to prevent cramps or any shock.
I personally don’t like that, and I also don’t take cold showers immediately after a workout because I get a headache. I prefer to wait 20 minutes to really cool down, but you have to find what works for you.
In addition to that, cold showers are also supposed to help increase testosterone levels and help with fertility in men. Yes, cold showers will make you a strong animal.
Your skin will become so soft and smooth
Many people on different forums report that after taking cold showers, their skin became much prettier.
The science behind it is that hot water makes your skin dry and on the other hand, cold water helps keep pores unclogged by not shrinking them like hot water does. Cold showers are also supposed to do wonders for your hair.
As a man, I don’t pay that much detailed attention to my hair and skin that I could tell the difference. Nevertheless, you can find many witnesses, male and female on different health and fitness forums. If you want to improve the shine of your hair and skin, give it a try.
Not completely convinced?
If you aren’t completely convinced, let’s list all the benefits of cold showers in hopes that you see how the benefits outweigh a few minutes of pain. A cold shower:
- Evicts the wussiness straight out of you and builds up your tolerance levels
- Wakes you up (who needs coffee)
- Increases your energy levels
- Makes you more alert
- Strengthens your immune system
- Boosts your blood circulation
- Helps with muscle recovery (it can be done in combination with hot water)
- Increases your testosterone levels naturally (in men)
- Makes you more fertile (in men)
- Makes you more courageous and builds up stamina and resilience
- Flushes toxins away from your skin and makes your skin and hair shiny, strong and healthy
- Decreases stress levels, brightens the mood and can even help with depression
- Contributes to longevity and general health
- It’s even supposed to stimulate weight loss (body burns energy to keep you warm and there is the white fat, brown fat thing)
- Helps you save on your energy bill and decrease shower time, if that means something to you
There are many scientific studies supporting these claims, I linked a few of them, but if you do more research on your own, you’ll get the whole picture.
To take a step further into science, there is a thing called hydrotherapy in medicine, which uses water for different pain relief, stimulation of blood circulation and disease treatment. Therapy uses different water temperatures and pressure as the basis for the treatment.
The most popular types of hydrotherapy are water jets, water massages and different types of baths – hot ones and cold ones. I’m sure you know most of these and love to take baths in hot Jacuzzis.
But cold water has had a special place in hydrotherapy ever since its beginning in the 17th century. From back then to nowadays, ice baths, cold water immersion and cryotherapy have been used in physical therapy, rehabilitation and sports medicine.
Cold treatments in medicine can especially have four physiological effects – they can serve as painkillers, vasomotor, have an anti-inflammatory effect and help with muscle relaxation.
There is no reason why you wouldn’t give yourself a nice cold treatment purely as precaution.
How to start with cold showers
There are two ways how to start with cold morning showers. You can either gradually decrease the water temperature with every shower you take or you can decide for a shock therapy and go all in.
If you decide for the step-by-step approach, every time you shower simply decrease the water temperature to the point where you feel uncomfortable. If you decide for the shock therapy, you know what to do.
I decided to go all in. Here are the steps, if you insist:
- Step in the bathtub or under the shower
- Open cold water
- Don’t hesitate or think for even a second, just do it (if you hesitate for a second, it may take minutes before you start showering or you may even change your mind)
- Apply shampoo and shower gel
- Do it again, this time even with slightly colder water
- Rub off the water and look at the winner in the mirror
Please be careful if you have any medical conditions
If you have certain medical conditions like heart disease, blood pressure problems or any related issues, or if you’re pregnant, you must absolutely consult your doctor before taking cold showers.
If you don’t feel good after taking a cold shower, if you get dizzy or experience any other real health issue, stop. There is a time to push yourself and there is a time to stop. You don’t want to do anything stupid or hurt yourself. Preserve what works for you and pivot away from things that don’t.
Now, if you don’t have a medical condition, get out of your comfort zone and give the cold shower a try. Don’t do it later tonight or tomorrow morning, do it right away; unless you’re in the office, in which case you should be working, not reading.
Do it and be proud of yourself. Achieving anything worthwhile always requires at least some discomfort. Now go practice how to be comfortable in discomfort.