Who'd have thought I'd love a cold shower. Not me!
I've been a fan of Wim Hof for a couple of years now. I've also seen many, many of my friends enjoy and benefit from open water swimming. But that doesn't really appeal to me .... who know's what is lurking beneath urggghhhh!!
I have a couple of times turned the shower to cold and only lasted a few seconds before declaring that it isn't for me.
Then I began on my training to become a Breathwork Teacher. Adding a daily breathwork practice to my routine has been so enjoyable and even after just a few weeks I have noticed a big reduction in the tension that I carry in my neck, jaw and shoulders. Learning how this tension impacts my breath and in turn my complete health, mind, body and soul, has changed my life.
So, I made a decision to take my practice a step further and challenged myself to 21 days of cold showers. I didn't overthink it. I shared it on my social media because accountability is key for me in this challenge.
Little did I know that by 10 days in I would be enjoying my cold shower. Little did I know it would lead to reprogramming my brain. And little did I know the lessons I would learn.
The lessons I've learnt are a many.
Firstly the physical response. I am more alert. My breath is calm and I am able to control my nervous system. I am much more ready to get on with my day and brain fog seems to have reduced. My skin and hair seem to be in better condition too.
But for me it is the mindset aspect that I wasn't really expecting. This is the part I hadn't really considered when starting out with this challenge.
When I started out the voice in my head was telling me that it would be 'too unbearable.'
That I wouldn't stick with it (because I had failed at keeping to cold showers last year) and that I would never enjoy it in the way I had seen other people do so.
By being aware of this narrative, and choosing not to listen to it, I went ahead with my cold showers. Each day I've been able to withstand the cold for longer and now my routine is 2 minutes. Each day when I think about stepping in the shower old stories pop up. 'You won't do it today,' 'you don't stick at things,' 'it will feel too cold today,' 'if you do manage it you won't be able to do 2 minutes today.'
Yet each day that voice got weaker. That voice isn't as confident as it was before. I have a built a new neural pathway in response to thinking about a cold shower. My initial, automatic, response was negative, my brain was pretty adamant that this wasn't going to be a good experience for me and I wouldn't stick with it. Now my response is one that leads to self confidence, enjoyment and knowing the health benefits it's giving to me.
It is a response of satisfaction, pride and self appreciation.
This has all happened in the first 10 days. Just imagine what else I can do.
By switching your mindset you get to re write the script and you get to replace the old negative story with a story that supports your growth.
You get to realise that a few moments of being uncomfortable is ok . The rewards of the uncomfortable are huge and very quickly the uncomfortable becomes comfortable.
I am only half way through this challenge and I know that cold showers will continue to be part of my daily routine and part of the daily reminder that I can move through the uncomfortable, I can rewrite the script and I certainly don't have to believe everything I hear myself say.