Cold Water — The Elixir of a Creative Mindset

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Each day, between 3pm and 4pm I jump into the Mediterranean Sea, embrace the cold and have a nice long swim. The summer months are in their infancy here so the sea presents me with an icy welcome as I glide over the rocks, through and above the schools of fish into the deeper, ever cooler waters. I then take the time to swim 1–2km each day. Before a warm shower and an evening of work.

When I emerge from the salty embrace of the sea, I feel alive. Refreshed. My brain has been jolted out of its coffee induced stupor and tiredness filled haze to be awash with ideas and creativity. The rush that comes from cold water swimming creates a clarity of vision in one’s mind. The endorphins of exercise add an energetic focus that boosts every cell in my body. Being in nature, feeling the calming sweep of the waves as they splash across my face (and down my throat…and up my nose…and into my ears!) allows me to feel calm, at peace, renewed and, most interestingly of all, my mind is now awakened to new levels of idea creation.

As I settle down for my evening work session, I find the flow of consciousness to be more lucid, my mindset to be more positive and my energy to be more directed at the task in front of me. It is at this point where pomodoros fly out the window and I can find hours have flown by without even looking up. Each completed task flows into the next and it feels liberating. It feels like I am Brian Lara, seeing the cricket ball like a beach ball, or Usain Bolt staring down the barrel of a 100m track! It’s the ‘flow state’ Steven Kotler talks superbly about in his book ‘The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance’ and, sometimes, all it takes is an icy dip in the sea.

Although my first love is running, living so close to the sea means I can embrace the beauty of swimming for the next 6 weeks. I evfen have a small but familiarly significant swim to recreate (more on this to come).

Does anyone else use swimming to start or punctuate their day? Or kick off their day with a cold-water shower? Drop a note in the comment below if you use open water swimming to stay healthy in both mind and body.

Nick Kershaw is CEO & Founder of the Impact Marathon Series — a race series set all over the globe with the goal to empower everybody through the #powerofrunning.

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