Growing up, I remember my mom getting up very early to boil water for my younger brother and I to take our baths. At some point in high school, I stopped doing warm baths. Looking back, it was probably because I was lazy since I would have needed to get up earlier to boil the water myself.
For all my bravado regarding using cold water, it’s funny how I was never tempted to use it during the cold harmattan season. Motivating myself
to take my bath…to use warm water was a big challenge back then. Numerous times, I considered just snuggling on my bed and not bathing altogether.
Okay. At times, maybe I actually didn’t bath.
So, you can imagine my surprise when, in my sophomore year, a colleague recommended taking cold showers to shake off the morning harmattan cold.
Boy, did it work!
Since then, (with a few exceptions, like the week when I moved into my new apartment and used scalding hot water to shower because I didn’t know better!), I have been taking my bath with cold water and it has been working wonders. In fact, I have been able to pick out a couple of lessons that I gleaned from my cold shower sessions.
Let’s dive in.
Discomfort Is Good
If you are serious about learning and growing to be a better person, you have to be willing to put yourself in uncomfortable situations. A lot of people hear this and the next thing they think about is quitting their jobs or taking one big risk!
It doesn’t work that way.
You have to get accustomed to accumulating smaller victories before going all out to catch the big fishes.
And do you know one way you can start doing that?
That’s right, by taking cold showers.
You see, by taking your bath with cold water, you are conditioning yourself to have patience and endurance. You are learning how to get out of your comfort zone, albeit in a small way.
Let me be clear here: Cold showers are not part of the formula needed to fulfill the purpose and destiny that God has assigned to you. Rather, you will need to stretch outside your comfort zone. And to do this effectively, you will need to patiently endure the discomfort that comes with stretching.
Taking cold showers in the morning is one of the best and safest ways you can be accustomed to the discomfort that accompanies stretching to new terrains.
What’s The Worst Thing That Can Happen?
I can assure you that in a typical day, there’s nothing that would be worse than taking a cold shower every morning…especially when the weather is cold!
So, why would I recommend it?
Simple. Because it is the worst thing that would happen to you that day!
When you take a cold shower in the morning, your body doesn’t like it. In fact, every cell in your body would cringe in revolt like water on a hot pan of oil. In the first few seconds, your skin will be like that of goose flesh with bumps covering every square inch. You would probably yell like a soprano singing off-key.
Your body cells do not like the feeling of a cold shower and at that moment you are bathing, your brain sets this experience as the baseline for the worst feeling you would ever experience that day. This is why if you are faced with a tough assignment on the day you take a cold shower, your brain would ask, ‘Is this as bad as taking a cold shower?’. Nine times out of ten, the answer will be ‘No!’ and you will be able to summon up the willpower and motivation needed to go far with the task at hand.
Rewired For Crushing Limitations
Since I take cold showers, I brag about it a lot. I know it’s not a virtuous behavior, but which hunter kills an elephant and carries it home through the back door?
Anyways, when the topic comes up, a number of my acquaintances tell me that they CAN’T take cold showers. Not WON’T (i.e., not willing to) but CAN’T (not able to)! When I hear this, I start wondering: Do these people have a medical condition preventing them from touching cold water?
The excuse that is often given for not taking cold showers is the idea that they will make you fall ill. Actually, cold showers will make you less likely to fall ill. The only things that can make you fall ill are disease-causing organisms called pathogens. Cold showers reduce uric acid levels while boosting glutathione levels in your blood. The overall effect? Less stress and a general feeling of well-being.
Elementary science stuff.
Here’s the thing: When you take cold showers, you begin the process of conditioning yourself to have a limitation-challenging mindset. As I’ve said before, the body hates cold showers and if you try to rationalize with it, you will get myriads of reasons why you shouldn’t take cold showers. However, you need to realize that you are not under the control of your body. Rather, your body is under your control! You are its boss and you need to stand your ground and tell it what to do.
Developing this habit is crucial because once you are able to rise above the limitations that your own body is suggesting to you, every other kind of limitation is reduced to dust.
Despite the fact that I am already a pro at cold showers, this is a part that I still struggle with a bit.
The truth is that a lot of us have forgotten how to breathe properly. Take a look at the way a baby breathes when it’s asleep. Notice how they breathe deeply and contentedly.
Sadly, as we grow older, we grow accustomed to taking short and shallow breaths.
When you take short and shallow breaths, your body starts anticipating stress and as a result, there is a spike in your cortisol levels. On the other hand, when you breathe like a baby, your body tells itself that everything will be alright and you are able to relax.
When I take cold showers, I normally gasp at the first impact of cold water on my skin. However, with each passing moment I spend under the cold water, I am able to convert the gasping into deliberate deep breathing. As a result, when I am done showering I feel relaxed and cheerful.
The benefit of this? By practicing how to deep breathe during cold showers, you will be able to teach yourself to calm down deliberately, especially during stressful moments that you may encounter during the course of your day.
Do you take cold showers too and have other lessons or benefits that you want to share?
Comment below and let’s rub minds together!!!