I have just concluded a very long 10 week experiment I decided to try on myself. The experiment with cold showers was inspired by my wish to improve my self-discipline.
Fortunately for me, what I got out of the experiment was so much more than heightened levels of self-discipline.
In this post I reveal what I learned from taking cold showers for 10 weeks straight, and how it positively impacted my life. I share this with you now to both inform you of the benefits of cold showers, and to encourage you to give them a go because of what it can do for you, and for your life.
First things first, I actually pride myself on having a pretty well established sense of self-discipline. Come to think of it, that foundation is probably what helped me push through the first two weeks of this trial. However, I am a student of personal growth and believe every attribute can be improved if focused on. Hence, the desire to experiment with cold showers.
What I Learned From 10 Weeks of Cold Showers
So, what did I learn from putting myself through 10 weeks of frigid hell? I’ve put together a short list to tell you just that. So here it is:
Commitment is Key But Communicating It Is Glue
I was thoroughly committed to seeing this experiment through. However, there were times when I just about said the big F word… Forget this! Fortunately, I communicated to others what I was doing with a handful of other people close to me, and well, the thought of going back on my commitment after informing them of it, always gave me renewed determination to keep on with it.
As such, I learned that there is much power in communicating our intention to others, especially when we seek to see something through till the end. Communicating our goals (some of them) can actually help us stick to them.
All-In is better than Small-In
Going all-in may be extremely uncomfortable at first, but it only lasts about 5 seconds, and then your body actually acclimates relatively fast. Any time I gradually inched my way into to the chilly water, the shower seemed to last forever, and I was not a happy camper for most of the shower.
Lesson learned… dive in! Come to think of it, there is probably a life lesson hidden in this one.
Discomfort Can Be Enjoyed
One of the biggest takeaways from this experiment, was that discomfort can be enjoyed. After the first 30 to 40 days of taking cold showers, I found myself starting to actually enjoy them. There was always a powerful jolt when first getting into the cold shower, but after that initial shock, the heightened alertness and energy I immediately felt, was what I started to enjoy. Oddly, I even have a bit of nostalgia when thinking about these cold showers coming to an end.
Strangely, finding a way to enjoy discomfort in something as uncomfortable as a cold shower got me looking for ways to do the same with other ‘discomforts’ in my life. You know, like chores!
How The Experiment Impacted Me
Not sure why this was the case, but I can definitely attest to an improved attitude. I am by nature a pretty positive person, but every week that passed, I felt more and more upbeat. There is science behind happiness and self-discipline, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what was occurring. All I know is that I feel about 10x more upbeat than I did 10 weeks prior.
Powered Up Presence
Oddly, I gained a powerful feeling of psychological advantage over other people. This is one of my favorite benefits. Not because it makes me better than anyone else or anything like that, but because of the added feeling of strength that I feel it lent to my presence around other people.
KNOWING you’ve survived and persevered through something that most people would never do automatically gives you a psychological advantage. I know most people could do such a 10-week experiment, but I also know, that most people won’t, or haven’t. The reason being is because people naturally prefer pleasure over pain.
So if you were wondering “Why would anyone want to have a more powered up presence?” Well, if you are a leader, business person, or even a sales person, having a powered up presence translates into having more certainty, and more certainty translates into being more persuasive. And we all know that the benefits that come with being more persuasive include more effective management, improved business deals, and increased sales.
I know there is a scientific reason behind the increased energy that comes from taking cold showers. However, what you are going to get below is my non-scientific interpretation.
The heightened energy I felt was unmistakable. I have a pretty harsh endurance training regimen, one that should typically leave most people tired and dragging after doing it. In fact, I normally feel sapped after each session. However, every time I got out of that cold shower after my grueling workouts, I immediately felt revved back up. The shock from my ice cold showers always re-engaged my “Rockstar Mode”. A mode I needed to be tapped into to keep up with two high energy kids for the rest of the evening.
In the 10 weeks of my experiment, I had not come down with any sicknesses. At one point I thought I potentially had the flu. But after close scrutiny of the situation, I determined that that was not the case.
You see I have two children who attend Montessori school, and if you are a parent you know that kids in school or daycare basically translates into some form of newly contactable sickness on what seems to be a weekly basis.
In fact, in the middle of this cold shower experiment my kids caught something that gave them flu like symptoms. The hypochondriac in me made me believe for a short time that maybe I was coming down with it too.
But then after careful consideration of the situation, I realized, trying to run 5 miles at 5 am in the morning with windy 40-degree weather conditions will make most people feel out of sorts. It was actually the cold shower after the run that helped me realize I wasn’t sick, because sick people don’t take cold showers.
You’ve just read the handful of benefits I gained from taking cold showers. However, there are tons of additional benefits from taking cold showers that I didn’t even mention, so here is a pretty thorough list from MedicalDaily.com.
Such an experiment will stretch you comfort zones, guaranteed. After conducting this trial, I can honestly say that it was quite an awesome experience. There were many times when I wanted, no wait, needed, a nice hot shower, but my choosing to push forth with my commitment, brought forth all kinds of additional psychological benefits that I know will last a lifetime.
As such, I highly recommend people give this 10-week cold shower practice a whirl.
All in all, taking cold showers over an extended period of time (70 days), can truly up your mental game, improve your health, make you feel like a Navy Seal…and on some days even a Rock Star!
Now it’s your turn. Are you up for the challenge?