It’s currently 5:25 AM and I’ve just started working. My alarm, a motivational speech, woke me up at 5:00 AM and I immediately got out of bed and into the shower. For roughly 2 minutes, I washed in warm water, then I did something that would scare 95% of people, including me – turn the water to cold and shower in almost freezing cold water for 2 minutes.
This is something I’ve been doing every day for around 6 weeks now, and at this point I just do it without much thought. The thought of it when I’m still lying in bed is painful, but once I’ve forced myself out of the warmth and comfort of my bed and got into the shower it’s honestly not that bad at all.
Why put myself through this uncomfortable experience instead of enjoying a warm shower? Here’s a few reasons why a cold shower is best:
The key thing I’m doing here is ignoring all urges to stay in my comfort zone first thing in the morning by staying warm. You know that feeling, your alarm goes off but you decide to stay in bed just to keep warm for a few more minutes. You may even fall back to sleep by accident then wake up late and stressed out.
Going against everything your body naturally wants you to do (stay in your comfort zone) and putting yourself in a highly uncomfortable situation first thing in the morning is going to act as a reminder of just how strong you are.
If you can get out of bed in that first couple of minutes (very important, the longer you lie in bed the less likely you’ll get up) and then push yourself massively out of your comfort zone by cold showering, you’re doing something that scares you first thing. This will empower you for the rest of the day.
It’s like doing the biggest task first thing in the morning. After you’ve done it, the rest of the day seems easy. It’s the same here, push yourself out of your comfort zone first thing and nothing will stop you that day. It will strengthen your mind and body daily so you are constantly making progress.
“There is too much life to be lived for you to hit the snooze button. In fact, I believe it is ‘seize the day’, not ‘snooze the day!” – Hal Elrod
2. Better than coffee
There’s nothing like a freezing cold shower to energize you in the morning. As soon as that chilling water hits your skin, you’re going to start breathing very deeply as an automatic response. This is your body’s natural reaction to the stress put on it. The cool thing is, by breathing heavily like this you are oxidising your body, waking yourself up.
Plus the adrenaline rush from putting yourself under high stress will give you a massive boost. You may even jump around because of the shock – that’ll wake you up even more.
If you manage to stay in the cold water for over a minute you’ll find that when you get out, your entire body almost tingles. I believe it’s something to do with the blood rushing from the surface to surround your organs, so you feel warm inside but cold on the outside. It’s hard to describe the feeling but you feel invincible when you get out of that shower.
3. No time wasted
One of the worst things about warm showers is that you never want to get out. It’s like getting back into bed, but you don’t want to get back into your comfort zone, you want to rise and grind. The warmth is so much more appealing than the cold on the outside that you tell yourself ‘just one more minute’ and you end up wasting 15 minutes of valuable time. The beauty of the cold water is that you get out when you’re done, not when you feel like it. By 5:10 AM I’m usually showered and ready to face the world.
4. Health benefits
If you work out, you may know that cold water is often used to treat sore muscles. Having cold showers immediately after exercising will not only cool you off and refresh you, but aid the healing process when you are gaining muscle mass.
They also improve circulation, ultimately lowering blood pressure, which of course will pay off as you get older. The blood surrounds the organs when the outer body is hit with the cold water, meaning the arteries will learn to pump blood more efficiently.
Another great benefit is increased testosterone. Your testes are meant to be cooler than your body temperature, and hot showers are known to decrease sperm count, so if you want to keep producing healthy amounts of testosterone, man up and start cold showering.
“If you’re willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard, but if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.” – T. Harv Eker
5. Laser focus
As soon as the cold water hits you, your mind is going to focus in on it and ignore any other thoughts. This effectively forces mindfulness; it teaches you to be present in the moment. Keeping your mind clear for those 1-2 minutes will block out any thoughts you may have woken up with and leave you crystal clear for when you start working.
Showers are well known as a place to daydream, and that’s because the warm water puts us into a state of relaxation, however this is a waste of time. The cold water quickly clears your mind and sets you up for a productive, laser focused day.
I recommend starting out with the ‘Scottish Shower’ method of alternating between hot and cold, and ramp up your time under the cold water as you get used to it. The longer the better. Once you’ve done it for a few weeks, I’m certain it will become a part of your routine and you won’t even have to think about it anymore.