Have you ever stepped into a shower, thinking you’re about to have some hot droplets of divine goodness pour all over your body, only to be blasted by what feels like a sub zero evil water? Brrrrr!!!! It usually puts your shower fantasy to an immediate end and you want to run out after the person who changed the faucet knob to cold. But what if next time this happens, you’re not so fast to scream in terror, and instead you embrace the cold. Because this ice cold shower may be exactly what you need for a little self-love. In the old days people in India referred to cold showers (very cold showers) as “Ishnan“. Ishnan is the point at which the body, by its own virtue, creates the temperature that it can fight off the coldness of the water. This happens when the capillaries open with the onset of the cold water. They close again during the course of the cold shower and it is at that point that all the blood rushes back to flush the organs and the glands. This process allows the glands to renew their secretions and “youth” (i.e. young glands) again returns to the body. These effects are apparent with the first cold shower, but if you continue the practice for several weeks, you’ll find the psychological benefits are even greater. Cold shower therapy is an ancient remedy with numerous health benefits such as treating anxiety and depression, improving circulation and toning skin and it is also one of the healthiest and inexpensive.
Here are 10 reasons why taking cold showers is an act of self-love:
1. Cold Showers Wake You Up!
The shock of the icey cold water will wake you right up and give you a jump start in a way that the warm shower can’t. We may have heard about how scientifically cold showers increase your alertness, but science aside – if you have trouble getting up and ready for the day, cold showers will change this.
2. Increase Alertness
At first taking a cold shower is hard to breath, but don’t be afraid. The extreme deep breathing you will experience, when taking a cold shower in the morning is going to dramatically increase your oxygen intake & heart rate, resulting in a natural dose of energy throughout the day. Cold showers are great for the mood and not only are they physically invigorating and stimulate thinking early in the morning, but the deep breathing will also leave you feeling alert, alive, vital and ready to take on the day, instead of feeling like a zombie.
3. Improve Circulation
Your body reacts to the cold showers by sending blood down to your organs to keep them warm, which improves circulation . And this circulatory system stimulation is great for your overall cardiovascular health.
4. Make You More Attractive
Let’s face it. Healthy looking skin and hair is attractive and one of the best ways to improve those is by taking cold showers. According to board-certified Jessica Krant from The Huffington Post, taking ice cold showers can help our skin by preventing it from being stripped of its healthy natural oils. And your hair gets the same benefit. Cold shower doesn’t shrink pores, it only temporarily tightens skin as it constricts blood flow . This can flatten hair follicles, and increase their ability to grip the scalp, which can make hair appear healthier, stronger and shinier. This is great news for any of you guys who are scared of losing your hair!
5. Build Strong Will Power
Cold showers build massive will power. If you are a cold shower virgin, you can only imagine the amount of will power it takes to take rehular cold showers. I’d say it’s a pretty big step for most people, that never attempted to do so before. Doing something we are so resistant to, every day, right after you wake up, takes a lot of mental power. And overtime, this mental will power and discipline will become an automated habit that becomes a part of every area of your life. Just love yourself and do it!
6. Reduce Stress & Improve Emotional Resilience
Do you get easily anxious, flustered, or right out pissed off? Icey cold showers can be of help. No joking, cold showers train your nervous system to be more resilient to getting easily overwhelmed. Cold showers act as a small form of oxidative stress on your nervous system, as shown in this study, and overtime, the body starts to adapt to this. Essentially, you will be a calm, cool, chilled out human being. The first time you step in that cold shower, you won’t be able to breathe, let alone think straight. But after about 30 days, this will translate into everyday life as you brush off stressful B.S. that would typically ruin your whole day.
This can be viewed as an adaption to repeated oxidative stress, and is postulated as a mechanism for body hardening. Hardening is the exposure to a natural, e.g., thermal stimulus, resulting in an increased tolerance to stress, e.g., diseases. – Source
Along with increasing your adaptation to stressful situations, they will lower levels of uric acid, and boost levels of Glutathione in your blood – making you less stressed in general. Fun fact: In the books, James Bond always takes what is known as a Scottish Shower, where he starts off hot and finishes with ice cold water. And he’s the calmest, coolest man there is!
7. Relieve Depression
Offering a relief for symptoms of depression is one of the most noted benefits of taking cold showers. Cold showers stimulate the brains primary source of noradrenaline, which is a chemical that plays a role in alleviating depression. Plus the mild electroshock delivered to the brain by the cold water (you’ll know exactly what I mean) sends an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect. There is a high density of cold receptors in the skin, much more than there are for registering warmth. And according to this study, it’s not all just hearsay. At the end of every shower, let the cold water blast on the top of your head for as long as you can take it. Talk about brain freezing your negative thoughts.
8. Burn Fat & Stimulate Weight Loss
Most people are not aware of this, but there are two types of fat in your body. White fat & brown fat. And it’s the white body fat that we all dislike so much. Brown fat is good for you. It’s function is to generate heat and keep your body warm. When you take a cold shower, brown fat is activated, resulting in an increase in energy and calories burned to keep your body warm. So much so that according to this study, cold temperatures can increase brown fat by 15X the normal amount, which can result in 9 pounds of weight loss per year.
9. Improve Immunity
One of the most important benefits of cold showers is the fact that they increase your immunity. A study from England showed that taking regular cold showers increases the amount of disease fighting white blood cells, compared to that of those who take regular hot showers. The hypothesis was that the boys attempted to warm it’s self during the cold shower, resulting in an increase in the metabolic speed rate and activation of the immune system. This then leads to the release of more white blood cells.
10. Drain Your Lymphatic System
Lymphatic system helps carry out waste from your cells. This is key in defending your body from unwanted infections. And when the lymphatic system is blocked, it will show up in symptoms such as frequent colds, infections and joint pain. Cold showers, when alternated between hot and cold water will help your lymphatic system, by contracting the lymph vessels when exposed to the cold and relaxing them when exposed to the heat. This essentially pumps the fluid that may have stagnated in your lymph vessels out, resulting in a stronger immune system and healthier you.
11. Boost Muscle Recovery After Exercise
If you’re an athlete than you know that taking an ice bath after intense training is one of the best things you can do to recover faster. (A 2009 study confirms this) But you don’t need a high tech training facility with cold water submersibles to be able to achieve these benefits. Just take a cold shower. Although it won’t be as effective as a fully submersed ice bath, it will improve circulation, and help remove some lactic acid. Try alternating between very hot and very cold to let the blood come and go to the surface. Your muscles will thank you.
12. Put You to Sleep
Ironically, while cold showers wake you up in the morning, cold therapy is one of the best ways to also get an incredible nights sleep.
The result: it’s like getting hit with an elephant tranquilizer, even if the melatonin is omitted. But don’t expect it to be pleasant at first. ~Tim Ferris
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How to Gain The Courage to Take Cold Showers
This is still a task. Okay, so you know by now that cold showers are awesome. Great. Now good luck waking up tomorrow morning and taking one (regardless of how amped up you are now). It’s hard to take the plunge. So I think some words of encouragement are in order.
First: Ask yourself, what would the best version of you do? Every time you do it, it will get easier. If you want to be the best version of yourself, you have to step outside your comfort zone. Second: Start out slow and make it into a fun experiment. Take a cold shower tomorrow morning, and see how you feel. You can start hot, but end cold, for at least 1 minute. Then see how you feel. If you liked it, then do it again the next day and see how two days in a row made you feel. It’s just an experiment, not a permanent life change. Third: Make it into a ritual. Write down on a whiteboard or pad: Cold Showers and make 30 boxes, one for each day. Commit now to checking those 30 boxes off. After the 30 days, you can decide to keep going or not. (I bet you’ll keep going) But whatever you do, don’t be too serious about it and have fun. If it’s gonna stress you out, then it’s not worth it. This is supposed to improve your life, not scare you to death. With love & gratitude, Do you love yourself enough to take a cold shower?! Let us know if you took the plunge, and how it went, in the comment section below!