Photo by Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash

What I learned from taking cold showers for over a year

Cold showers are one of the pinnacles in the productivity world. Along with their supposed health benefits, it’s a daily challenge to leave your comfort zone and shiver in freezing water. I took on that challenge for over a year. In that journey, I learned a couple of things:

1.We imagine things to be harder than what they are

Before I had a cold shower, there was always a lingering fear. You would think that after the first couple of times, things get easier. But in the case of cold showers, it’s never gotten easier. That temperature change always hit. I feared that.

I feared the temperature change, even though I knew what things would feel like. Even after I had gone through cold showers and knew what the cold water would feel like, I still feared those initial seconds of getting jolted by freezing water. It was always so uncomfortable.

But it was just for the first few seconds.

After that, things were not bad at all. Sure, it didn’t feel like a hot tub, but it wasn’t like the reality my fear had created. I realized I only hated the first few seconds. And that is manageable.

Often times we make “a mountain out of a molehill.” In other words, we exaggerate the pain of something where instead, if we were to just stop all the noise in our heads, and go do the task, it’d be so much easier. It’s not that our fears are irrational, it’s just that we have to acknowledge the fear and move forward. The hardest thing is to just get started.

2. Momentum is energizing

Typically, after undergoing a grueling task you feel tired and want to rest as you’ve invested your resources into completing the task. But in the case of cold showers, I felt the opposite. I felt energized, and it wasn’t because of the cold water. Instead, I felt an internal motivation to just do something; drop and start doing 20 push-ups, run outside, write something.

Unfortunately, none of those things happened. But what I did notice, is that I consistently felt that motivation every single time I took a cold shower. Every time I took on the challenge to step out of my comfort zone, the outcome was rewarding.

This displays the idea that momentum is energizing. Every day, I made a choice to take a cold shower, it was choosing to stay committed. To continue the commitment, I had made and keep going. And the reward of doing that, was this internal sense of motivation to go do something more. To keep the momentum going and to continue to accomplish more.

That motivation is extremely powerful. What I offer as insight to you today, is to just take everything, one step at a time. To build momentum, one step at a time. While that might be hard, after completing it, you might just feel energized to go and do one more thing.

3. Humans need breaks

One of the things I told myself before I took on the challenge is that I would allow myself to have a normal, non-cold shower for one day a week. It wasn’t necessarily because I felt I wasn’t strong enough to do cold showers for 7 days a week, but because I wanted to give myself that. It was sort of a reward, a motivating reward.

And that reward worked. When I finally took a ‘normal’ shower, I greeted it with so much happiness.

Accomplishing things, doesn’t we mean we don’t take a break. Breaks help us to recharge, so that when we go back to work, we have the energy to do so. Breaks are necessary. In my case, after I took my ‘shower,’ going back to cold showers didn’t feel as grueling because I had given myself the necessary rest.

Now you might be asking, “If a normal shower was so brilliant and energizing, why didn’t you just take ‘normal’ showers the whole week?”

There are two reasons as to why I didn’t do that: 1. Taking ‘normal’ showers every single day, would’ve been resting every single day. And that’s the epitome of laziness. 2. I had made a commitment and I wanted to stick to it.

Now of course, every single day before I jumped into the shower, there was always the thought of having a ‘normal’ shower. Of somehow, finding a way to escape that freezing water and just stay in my comfort zone.

But in the end, the benefit of stepping out of my comfort zone, was so much greater. And I felt a lot better. So, I invite you to take up the challenge as well. To step out of your comfort zone.

You’ll be surprised by the rewards.

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