Did you know that cold showers are good for you? Did you know that it is also the name of a personal development blog I started about 5 years ago? It was all about the importance of getting outside of your comfort zone in order to become the best version of you… or, me, actually. Now, while I don’t write for that blog anymore, I still believe that putting yourself in uncomfortable situations is the BEST way to experience personal growth and achieve the kind of life you want. But why cold showers, I hear you ask?
According to the internet, the list of benefits of taking cold showers is almost limitless. It seems to be second only to coconut oil in the list of miracles it can provide. Thankfully I’ve yet to hear anyone say it cures cancer. But apparently it can increase alertness; improve circulation; reduce inflammation; improve feelings of depression; give you better skin and hair; increase fertility; and aid in weight loss. Just to name a few. I will be the first to admit that these physical reasons alone are pretty impressive and believe it or not many of them are backed by scientific evidence. But for me, the most powerful benefit of putting yourself under a cold shower is that it builds your confidence, improves your resilience and helps to shift your mindset from “I can’t” to “I can”.
“Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford
A few years ago, I set myself the challenge to have cold showers every day. The first day of the challenge I went to turn the tap on and that little doubting voice in my head started. “Why are you even doing this?” “How is this going to make any difference in your life?” “This is so dumb!”. I didn’t even know who this little voice in my head was, but jeez she was negative.
All of us have our own version of this, our own inner critic. While having some form of self-evaluation is useful, when it gets overly critical, we need to put it back in its place. I have found that one way of doing this is to prove your inner critic wrong. “You don’t think I can have a cold shower? Just watch me prove you wrong!” So, on that very first day, I steeled myself and turned the tap to cold.
I’m pretty sure that the first time I did it I was only under the water for three seconds – but I did it! “See!” I told my inner critic “I DID it!! I TOLD you I could do it!” And so, the next day my little inner critic got a little bit quieter, folding her arms and going off in a huff because I’d proven her wrong (ok, so I have a good imagination…). The next day she became a little quieter still and then I started increasing the amount of time that I spent under the water. Each day it got easier, physically and mentally.
The key is the gradual and consistent effort, slowly expanding your comfort zone further and further. Each time you prove to yourself what you are capable of, your confidence, resilience and belief in yourself grows. Then when you’re faced with a decision outside of the shower there is a counter-voice to your inner critic “Maybe I CAN do this?” “Maybe I should just try, and see what happens.”
Self-belief is everything, especially when you’re creating your dream life. Whether you want to start a business, build a house, travel to distant and exotic locations, you need to have the belief that you can achieve it – even when you don’t have the evidence to prove it, yet. You need to believe that you can do hard things, things you’ve never done before.
Unfortunately, the only way to strengthen your self-belief is to put yourself in uncomfortable positions and overcome them. Having a cold shower each day is an easily accessible comfort zone challenge, it doesn’t require you to fly off to Nepal to climb Mt. Everest or stand on a stage presenting to 10,000 people. It’s also not so completely crazy that it sends you into the panic zone. I guess that is why cold showers is a practice I so often recommend to people starting out. I want you to start taking on bite-sized challenges within the confines of your life as it is right now. Start where you are.
Have I convinced you yet? Are you ready to try cold showers? If you’re ready to dive straight in, by all means, go ahead. If you’d prefer to start off slow, I recommend starting with your usual warm shower and finishing off with a few seconds of cold. Each day you can increase the amount of time under the cold water. Try it for 30 days, working your way up to 30 seconds under the water. I promise you that it will change the way you feel about yourself and what you are capable of. And if no one has told you already today – remember that you are STRONGER, SMARTER and MORE CAPABLE than you think.
Let me know, have you tried cold showers? Are you now willing to give it a go? Let me know how it goes and what effect it had. And if you want some more tips and tricks in moving towards (and funding!) your dream life, sign up for my newsletter here.