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  >  Experiments   >  Life Hack #1: Boosting Your Mental Toughness and Resilience with Cold Showers

Cold showers is exactly how you imagine it to be — immersing yourself under the shower head in bitterly cold water for a few minutes. The shock might be intense at first, but the results (mental toughness, clarity, enhanced motor performance, stronger immunity, happier mood) last the entire day.


When my boyfriend first introduced to me the idea of taking cold showers, I was a bit hesitant.

“Cold showers, are you serious?!” I told him.

It made me think back to the times I had lived in China, in an old creaky condo where sometimes the water heater broke, leaving me to shiver breathlessly while I washed my entire body with close-to-icy water. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. At all.

But of course, I knew that if my boyfriend suggested something that could possibly improve our lives, there had to be something about cold showers I didn’t really know about that could be life-changing.

So I agreed to try it out.

The next morning, after waking up at 5AM and brushing my teeth, I got myself prepared — I took off my clothes, stepped underneath the shower head, cranked the knob all the way to the coldest and held my breath.

*Shhshhshh*

“Oh my god…oh sh….”

I couldn’t even finish saying what I was saying. The icy cold water was too much. It had literally shocked my entire body, paralyzing every thought I had. The only thing I could clearly think about was how cold the water was.

But despite the goosebumps and uncontrollable shivers, I stood in place, crouched over — as if someone had punched me in the stomach — with my arms crossed, hoping that this’d all end soon. So I waited, and as the seconds passed, the water slowly started becoming warmer and warmer. My mind, initially stiff and unresponsive, now began to clear up.

Wow. This actually feels pretty good. I’m totally awake now.

Whatever worries or concerns I had in the past were now gone. My mind, usually primed to question my next action in plan, was now screaming at me to just do it. It was a very different feeling than what I was used to, and I couldn’t help but be amazed by how effective cold showers could be.

The next thing I knew, I was plucking my eyebrows with tweezers without accidentally pinching my skin (a common mistake I do). I was smiling more, not caring as much about the bad meal I had for lunch or the loud noise other people were making at the co-working space I worked at. I was focused, so damn focused, on whatever it was that I was doing that I didn’t even need coffee to keep my mind pumped up.

If I had to describe it, cold showers is like an awakening to your goals and dreams. It kicks you right in the butt and tells you to just start, despite how difficult or painful or time-consuming it might be, because it’s the first thing that shocks you in the morning.

That initial discomfort you feel from cold showers is exactly what sets you up for success later because you go on with your day, believing that nothing else will be as punishing as a cold shower.

So with that said, would I still keep taking cold showers every day?

Yes.

Do I look forward to it?

Not at all. I dread it, in fact.

But what I do look forward to is unleashing the potential I have in achieving the things I want, which I trust a cold shower can help you do.

So should you try it?

Definitely. 


Immediate Effects of a Cold Shower:

  • increases mental toughness (you start believing you can do anything)
  • enhances motor coordination (you’ll make less clumsy mistakes which is great if you’re an athlete)
  • improves immunity by triggering your body to produce more white blood cells
  • increases mental alertness (you’ll be super sharp and be able to observe even the smallest of things)
  • brings you into a happier mood
  • stimulates weight loss because our body burns at a faster rate when we’re cold
  • lowers stress (you stop thinking about how big your problems are)
  • you become awake instantly (so…no need for coffee)

I’m rebuilding my life by discovering who I am, learning what I’m capable of after a 9 year heartbreak that left me stranded in China.

Comments:

  • Ryan

    June 16, 2019

    I’ve read in several different places the recommendation to take cold showers. Recommendations I quickly passed over, thinking Nope Nope. Nope. But after reading your post, I may reconsider. Thanks!

  • Mark H

    July 29, 2019

    Thank you for this I will try it, I am in a similar place as you and I are discovering ourselves. I had my heartbroken and I want to find a love that makes me forget that my heart was ever broken. I know that person is out there and I will find them even if I have to kiss lots of frogs along the way. This was like your cold shower. But I have now decided that my next love will get all of me and I will not let my scars get in the way and I will not be afraid of it and I will be open and willing to risk the heartbreak again. It is all part of the journey to finding the most amazing person ever and If I the Rascal Flats C&W song all Bless the broken road. I believe that the universe is an amazing thing and I am worthy of finding that person, that the best is yet to come. Thank you for this I will try it and see how it works and thank you for sharing your journey with us. There are lots of lost souls who need something to lean on and believe in, why not ourselves?

  • September 14, 2019

    This is the Wim Hoff method. He has hacked into his autonomic nervous system and has, literally, climbed a mountain in a tee shirt and shorts. Kilimanjaro, I believe.
    He also has devised a deep breathing method to go with the “cold exposure therapy” which helps with immunity, inflammation, energy…I plan on starting with that.
    I came to find your blog by way of Medium, and a post containing interesting questions to ask your partner, which I plan to do – thanks!
    I stayed to read about your heartbreak, which I can relate to, somewhat, and your desire to write.
    Unlike you, I have been told I have that talent (I’ve spotted a couple of things you can fix, by the way, like your use of the word “anyways”, as it doesn’t exist). Also unlike you, I don’t have anything interesting to write about, or the deep unquenchable thirst to do it.
    I know I have a book or two in me somewhere, but I am so frustrated I can’t even imagine where to start.
    Most people’s advice is to just that – start!
    So, I just did, with this comment.
    I think you are very brave and I admire you. At your age, if this would have happened to me I think I would have crumbled but not have been able to iron myself back out. Something very similar occurred to me much younger, and relatively older, but my foreign country turned out to be a disease, not a place.
    I developed Multiple Sclerosis.
    At any rate (anyways), I felt the need to reach out.

  • September 20, 2019

    i am trying to figure out what i”m going to do after high school but right now i feel like i should just find what makes me happy and do what i want to do instead of worrying. I am only 16 years old so i have plenty years of my life to settle down, I was thinking about starting van life after high school once i get enough money and start going to places that i really love.

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