The Culture Of Weak (Or, Why I’ve Taken 30 Cold Showers In A Row)
In my last post, I mentioned that as part of my daily ritual I take COLD SHOWERS. That sparked peoples interest. And it unleashed a firestorm of emails from people asking “why the hell…would I do such a thing??”
And to be honest, I understand why. I get it. In fact, when I was first introduced to the concept, I had the EXACT same response. I could not comprehend why anyone would inflict this mild form of “torture” on themselves…on purpose! I mean, come on people!
But, as I followed this “rabbit hole” deeper, my skepticism gradually dropped away. To be replaced by intrigue. And finally, when Joel gave his challenge, commitment. I figured, “Hell, what do I have to lose?” “If it’s self-flagellating nonsense, then I will have spent five minutes being uncomfortable. But if it’s not…maybe it’ll change my life.”
So I tried it.
That same day, I entered the shower, turned the water to icy cold, and stepped in. IMMEDIATELY, my body resisted. Erupting in spasms of shivers. My mind freaked out. Within seconds of touching the “curtain of ice,” it unleashed an ONSLAUGHT of thought-bombs telling me…
“This is stupid.”
“You’re an idiot.”
“That guy on the internet is a crazy lunatic.”
“OMG this is so FREAKING cold!!”
And lemme tell you:
The water in Maine is so. freaking. cold.
It’s not like “a little bit cold,” or “somewhat chilly,” but mind numbingly cold. It feels like you’re being pelted with tiny balls of fire. And during that first cold shower…there were times where I almost quit. I almost got out, toweled off and called the experiment a failure…
…but I didn’t. I stayed in the water until my five minute timer sounded. And then I got out, swear words flying from my lips, and snatched my towel of its hanger like a drowning man reaching for a life vest.
But you know what?
30 seconds later, I was 100% fine.
The cold was gone. And I moved on to something else…almost forgetting I’d even taken a cold shower. Almost. That is, until the next day rolled around, and I screamed like a little girl as glacial rain pelted my shivering skin.
Fast forward to today.
After completing step 3 of my daily ritual, I casually undressed, turned the water to cold….and stepped in. Without hesitation. And while the water was STILL COLD, I marveled at how my reaction has changed. On a physical level, I no longer shiver. I’m pretty relaxed actually. And mentally, I’m an entirely new person. What once made me completely FREAK OUT and panic…now evokes a “meh response.”
Like, yeah. It’s cold. But meh. What of it?
OK. So you can take a cold shower without shivering or tearing yourself to pieces from the inside. Great. But that still doesn’t explain WHY we should do the same. And, after that story, if “better resistance to cold” is the only benefit, I’ll tell you straight up: It is NOT worth it.
Jeez…chill out. I’m getting to it.
Here’s what I’ll say: As I’ve learned more and more about cold showers, I’ve come to realize that “better resistance to cold” is just the beginning. In fact, it doesn’t even scratch the surface. And while I can’t give you a detailed break down of each benefit in THIS post…here are 10 of the most powerful:
- Improved immune system function.
- Improved circulation.
- Increased fat loss.
- A stronger nervous system.
- Decreased inflammation.
- Healthy skin and hair.
- Better sleep.
- Improved fertility in men.
- Relief from the symptoms of depression.
- Increased energy.
But, bar none, the BIGGEST benefit I’ve experienced is this: The ability to adapt seamlessly to difficult situations. To not get freaked out. And to do things…even if they’re uncomfortable.
Whether this means getting up early to complete my morning ritual, working for 12 hours straight on a new product or striking up a conversation with a stranger…taking cold showers has infused me with newfound COURAGE. Courage I did not even know I had.
Plus, as proponents of an “undomesticated lifestyle,” we know that true health doesn’t come from ease and comfort. But rather from challenge, struggle, sweat, and (positive) hardships.
Like, say, cold showers :-)
WILL YOU “TAKE THE PLUNGE” AND TRY ONE COLD SHOWER? IF YOU DO, LEAVE A COMMENT AND TELL ME HOW IT GOES! IF YOU WON’T, TELL ME WHY NOT!
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about cold showers, I highly recommend you do two things: (1) Watch this TED talk, and (2) check out this “round-up page” that’ll show you everything you could EVER want to know about the practice. Both of these resources were created by Joel Runyon: the guy who introduced me to this stuff, and someone who’s doing really cool work.
P.P.S. He’s also got a video of himself actually taking a cold shower. Which is pretty funny.
P.P.P.S. If you’re looking to take this practice to the next level, and experience a rush of aliveness, try experimenting with “cold plunges” in natural bodies of water.