I’m now over 120 days into taking a cold shower every morning— a full cold shower from start to finish. The kind of shower that you literally have to count down from 5 every morning to step into and then deal with the shock of the cold (and question your sanity a little bit as to why you do this).
Well, one of the biggest reasons for me starting the cold shower habit is that it’s one of the healthiest and most productive things I do for myself every day. I actually can’t recommend it enough— it’s changed how I start my days, and how much I get done in the few hours after stepping out from the shower.
A lot has been written about the health effects of taking cold showers— it’s supposed to help your immune system, increase your metabolism, improve your body’s thermoregulation, improves your mood, and way more. Today I want to focus on some of the intangible benefits— the emotional benefits of taking a cold shower every morning.
IT’S SIMPLE, BUT NOT EASY
This is a great truth about a lot of things in life. Many theories and principles to live by are simple, but not easy. It’s simple to save money for example: Just spend less than you make. Is it easy? Not so much.
Stepping into a cold shower every morning is incredibly simple. You just turn on the cold water, and step in. Is it easy? No. In fact, I’d say that from day 1 to day 122 it’s only gotten about 5% easier, and probably will never be truly easy to do. That’s the beauty of it though.
YOU GET A LITTLE VICTORY
Just like the habit of making your bed every morning, this habit of taking a cold shower is training your brain that you can do amazing things. You get this little victory every morning, surprising yourself with what you’re capable of, and it just rolls into the next victory.
Other obstacles start to seem less daunting. After all, you stepped into a cold shower this morning, so yeah, everything else seems easy by comparison. Difficult conversation to have? Phone call you’ve been putting off? Project you’re afraid to start working on? Just do the thing you’ve trained yourself to do every morning and take the first step in. The rest starts to fall into place and before you know it, you’ve finished another thing to be really proud of.
KEEP THE GOOD TIMES ROLLING
The beauty of having a daily goal like this (and completing it) is that you build momentum. It starts being harder to justify taking a warm shower, even if you really want to. I use an app to track my habits, and I just keep seeing that number go up and up. If I miss even one day, it resets back to a 1 day streak. That silly little number reinforces my behavior and keeps me going.
This habit also teaches me how to build other good habits— it’s like a meta-habit of keeping good habits. I have been able to start other goals I’ve been wanting to do, and have been able to keep those much easier. I just think about the reward of seeing the number grow and the momentum build, and I use that same reasoning to keep it going.
IT WAKES YOU UP IN EVERY WAY
It’s impossible to be sleepy after taking a very cold shower. Or at least I feel that way—There hasn’t been a single day where I’ve stepped out of it and thought to myself: Hey I’d love to go back to sleep now! Instead, I feel: Ok, I’m going to sit down and immediately start writing, or working on finishing this feature on our app, or place some phone calls I’ve been putting off.
Your mind really wakes up while in the shower, and you’re so present and aware of everything going on, that when you step out it really stays with you for a while. It’s actually a great way to break out of any funk you might be, or shake off any negative feelings. (The endorphin blast you get helps too).
You can ride that ultra-awake mood for a while, knock out a ton of things and get your day started off strong. Even if your day trails off later, you’ll know you finished a lot already and won’t need to feel bad about it!
I’m eager to see how I feel in another 120 days, and then at the 1 year mark. It definitely won’t be easy, but I know I can do it. It’s definitely one of those harder practical productivity tips, but it’s doable and will probably change your life!