As trivial as it may seem, cold showers are easily one of the best things you can do to improve your physical and mental health.
More and more research is proving that cold showers can do a lot of things for you that would require you to spend a lot more time and even money to improve. There a few things that you need to understand about cold showers that many do not. If you want to actually get the benefits from a cold shower, you must understand the following.
First, it will take some time to see the benefits of a cold shower.
A cold shower isn’t like medicine or medication that is designed to improve your physical or mental state immediately. In order to get the most out of cold showers, you need to make them part of your regular routine.
The temperature of the cold shower is also important. While the water does not need to be freezing cold, it certainly cannot be one notch under lukewarm. The temperature of a cold shower should be cold enough to where you can actually feel a sharp decrease in temperature compared to your normal showering temperatures. Before exploring the benefits of a cold shower, you should know about how to actually take a cold shower properly.
Yes, there are “methods” to taking a cold shower properly, as silly as it sounds, and they should be considered at least a little bit before exploring what happens to your body and mind when taking a cold shower as well as the benefits.
How to take a cold shower without experiencing hypothermia
While it may seem to make sense, starting your cold shower at the coldest temperature possible is not a very good idea. Doing so can actually do more harm than good. It will be so unpleasant that you will immediately stop and not want to continue with the shower.
Starting a shower cold can also give you a shock of sorts and you may not be able to handle it. This can cause your heart rate to increase to unhealthy levels.
The best thing to do is to start your shower warm and lower the temperature when you are ready for the shower to be cold. Starting warm then finishing cold is probably the best way to take a cold shower without hurting yourself. You should also consider the timing. A cold shower is not like a hot or warm shower. You can stay under a hot or warm shower for a long time because your brain and body isn’t “threatened” by it.
Even if you have adjusted to the temperature of a cold shower perfectly, it does not mean that your brain has. If you let your brain and body be “threatened” by a cold shower for too long, you will be at risk for hypothermia. Knowing what a cold shower does to your brain and body is important when learning about the benefits of a cold shower, and this will be explored later.
For now, understand that cold showers are designed to provide you with a quick “shock” of sorts. For that reason, you should have your cold shower last for no longer than 10 minutes. Any shorter, and you might not get the most out of the benefits of the cold shower. Any longer, and you might risk lowering your body temperature too much.
The timing of your cold shower is just as important as knowing about the benefits it can yield, which will be covered right now.
What exactly does a cold shower do to your brain?
Your brain communicates with your body in two ways. Analyzing upcoming events or sensations as pleasure or pain. When your brain sees something as pleasurable, it does not see a threat. You simply enjoy the sensation without any resistance.
Your brain does something completely different when it comes to things that are painful. Usually these painful events or sensations arrive at the expense of what your brain sees as pleasurable. Thus, you will act accordingly.
This principle is what the benefits of cold showers are based on.
Think of cold showers like lifting weights, but for your brain. When you lift weights, your body is being put under physical pressure and when you recover from that pressure, your body is better equipped for future physical challenges. A similar thing happens when you take a cold shower, but your brain is being challenged instead of your body. Your brain and body sees cold water as a threat because of how it can potentially lower body temperature to uncomfortable levels.
This is the main thing that happens when you take a cold shower: Essentially, you are “training” your brain that threats are not as dire as they seem and that it is possible to overcome intense adversity when you take a cold shower.
These two things have a number of positive spillover effects as well just like any kind of exercise would. Take stress and anxiety, for example. When you are stressed out or anxious about something, it means that your brain thinks it needs to seek out pleasure because it believes it is feeling copious amounts of pain. If you are experiencing stress and anxiety, it usually means that your brain cannot “make sense” of the challenges that it is being thrust upon it.
The term for this is “brain fog.” If you have ever caught yourself ignoring things that need to be done so that you can do something that feels good, it means your brain is fogged.
Taking a cold shower will eliminate this by getting your brain to refocus to where it will be able to organize what it needs to do. If you feel anxious or stressed out, take a cold shower. It will help. If you develop the discipline to take a cold shower whenever you need to shower in general, you will experience much less brain fog when things get tough.
What does a cold shower do to your body?
This was already mentioned a little bit earlier, but recall that a cold shower will “challenge” your brain, training it to be stronger in a way.
Does this do the same to your body?
The answer to this question is yes and no.
Do not forget that your body operates at a certain body temperature in order to survive. When you take a cold shower, you are intentionally lowering that body temperature, forcing your body to survive in an environment where it is challenged. This is why your body tightens when it gets cold. It’s trying to maintain its body temperature. For this reason, a cold shower will “train” your body to overcome adversity just like it trains your brain to do the same.
However, your body is much different than your brain, and the sensations your body gets from a cold shower are more superficial and typically do not last as long as the effects that a cold shower has on your brain.
Even still, your body will benefit from a cold shower. Because your body tightens when it gets cold, it is a very good idea to take a cold shower after rigorous exercise. Your body will recover a little faster and this is probably the most noticeable benefit of a cold shower when it comes to physical benefits of a cold shower.
There are a lot of benefits that a cold shower can provide. Some of these benefits are instant and some of them can take some time to surface.
One of these benefits is training your brain to be more disciplined. Believe it or not, taking cold showers will cause you to be more disciplined. This is because a cold shower will “train” your brain to endure perceived pain. If you make a habit out of taking cold showers, you will develop discipline.
However, something like this will take a little while, and you do need to commit to cold showers daily to see this benefit. The same thing applies when taking cold showers to relieve anxiety. Yes, cold showers do relieve anxiety, but in order to enjoy this benefit, you must develop the discipline necessary to take cold showers regularly.
The physical benefits of a cold shower are more instant in nature. For example, cold showers will help you recover a little fast after a stressful or rigorous exercise or training session.
There is no reason why you should not do all you can to take cold showers. They are extremely beneficial if you are willing to follow the right steps to taking a perfect cold shower and willing to take them regularly.