So, have you heard about all the amazing benefits of deliberate cold exposure? Well, there definitlely seems to be a positive benefit on those that practice it. From what we know about how the mind works, struggle and doing things that are challenging, release brain molecules that raise our mood and propel us forward throughout the day. It is common thought that many of our lives are too comfortable, especially in developed countries so cold exposure is one way to take us back to the struggles that our ancestors had to face.
Mental Benefits of a Cold Shower
Taking a cold shower may not be the most pleasant experience, but it has numerous mental benefits that make it worth considering and it has also been supported by studies. One of the most significant benefits of a cold shower is that it can help improve your mood. Cold water stimulates the release of dopamine, which is a brain chemical responsible for increased mood, focus, and goal-directed behavior. Additionally, the shock of cold water can help you feel more alert and energized, which can help you tackle your day with more focus and productivity. I have found when I take a cold shower, I already did something that I didn’t want to do that day, so I now feel primed for other tasks the day can present to me.
Another mental benefit of a cold shower is that it can help build mental resilience. When you force yourself to endure a cold shower, you’re training your brain to become more resilient to discomfort and stress. This can translate to other areas of your life, making it easier to handle challenging situations and bounce back from setbacks.
When you enter the cold water it is common for everyone to experience a bit of a loss of cognition, making it hard to think clearly. This is great chance for you to engage in mental tasks (mathematics, memory, or any mental task will do). This will train your brain to continue to think clearly when we are in a stressed state, and can be immesely useful in daily settings.
Cold Shower Vs. Cold Plunge
Cold plunges and cold showers may result in similar effects on the brain, they are different intensity levels. Cold plunges, where you fully submerge yourself under cold water. Cold plunges are harder to access for most people (including myself), but they can be purchased online, found at a gym or fitness center, found in nature, or self-made (ice in bathtub or other container is the easiest method)
When I have done cold plunges personally, I have felt the same things that I have felt in a cold shower, but only more intensely. There is no question that a cold plunge is much more uncomfortable, which also makes sense that it would produce a stronger and better after-effect.
For those that don’t feel comfortable doing a cold plunge or simply don’t have easy access, rest assured because cold showers are still a great way to reap the benefits of deliberate cold exposure!
How Long Should I Take a Cold Shower?
The length of time you should take a cold shower depends on your personal preference and tolerance for cold water. Generally, it’s recommended to start with a shorter shower and gradually increase the time as your body becomes more accustomed to the cold water. A good starting point is to aim for a 30-second cold blast at the end of your regular shower, gradually increasing to 1-3 minutes. When you feel like you are able to handle that well, you can extend that cold shower, or you can lower the temperature (just make sure you do so safely) or even explore cold plunges.
Now, when taking a cold shower some people like to finish hot, and some prefer to warm up naturally. The choice is ultimately up to you, but it does turn out that there seems to be more benefits from warming up naturally
How Many Cold Showers a Week?
The frequency of cold showers you should take depends on your individual goals and physical condition. Generally, it’s recommended to start with 2-3 cold showers per week and gradually increase as your body becomes more accustomed to the cold water. There is no reason why you can’t do at least 1 cold shower a day once you increase your tolerance.
In conclusion, cold showers can offer numerous mental and physical benefits, including improved mood, mental resilience, and increased energy. It’s important to start slowly, listen to your body, and gradually increase the frequency and duration of your cold showers. Remember to stay hydrated and warm up gradually after each cold shower to prevent any negative side effects.