Cold Turkey

Two stories ago, I wrote about unhooking myself from the bottomless crave for dopamine by meditating directly after I wake up. This time around, I wanted to expatiate on a second change I recently introduced to my morning routine. It is a conscious decision I need to make every time. It lasts typically for only 30 seconds. And it yields me my first big win, every day.

Photo by Neil Cooper on Unsplash

Morning priming

So what is it?

Every morning, at the end of my shower, I’ll engulf myself in pure cold water.

It’s that simple.

Or well, the concept of it is.

The procedure of body cleansing hasn’t changed though. I’ll still start off with warm jets of water. Yet, once I am done lathering up and rinsing off, I’ll turn the knob promptly to its most chill position. Sometimes it’s a bit longer, sometimes it’s a bit shorter. But I’ll make sure to rotate my body 3 to 4 revolutions under the shower head.

And as I exit the cabin, I feel much more awake, invigorated and steadfast.

Cold shower craze

The first time I stumbled upon this phenomenon of cold showers, was while reading Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans. And a friend of mine might have casually mentioned it at a party a while ago. But after digging deeper, there is a lot of proponents, amongst others high achievers like Naval Ravikant (CEO and Co-founder of AngelList) and Tony Robbins (life guru) who practice some kind of cold water submersion. The Guardian is even calling it a cold shower craze.

How the fad began, is not entirely clear. There are plentiful examples of daredevils that took upon them a 30-day cold shower challenge and reported about it e.g. here and here. The emergence of the intrepid Dutch Iceman Wim Hof and his breathing method have unmistakably also contributed to the resurgence of ‘cryotherapy’.

The purported benefits

So why is it exactly that a sane person would want this?

In the first place, it is absolutely about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone early in the morning. It behooves willpower to plunge in the cold. I for one see it as the first fear overcome and it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Then, as stated before, it wakes you up. If you breathe deeply, it will increase your oxygen intake and your heart rate. I feel much more alert after I turn off the faucet.

The list is much longer, but not all of it is fully scientifically proven: The immune system could improve, your hair and skin may look and feel better, it could relieve depression, etc.

So how to get started?

It all begins with turning the knob.

I’d say: Go cold turkey on cold showers. There’s no way to prepare yourself for this — but be sure to check with your health physician that your heart can take it ;). If you need some mental support, there’s even a subreddit where people share experiences on their inaugural and subsequent cold showers.

Let me know in the comments how it worked out for you :) And please clap for the story if I gave your eyes and mind a treat!

Michael is an internet technology enthusiast and freelancer in Startup Operations Management. He enjoys bringing structure, analyzing and devising business strategies for companies. Bring me to his LinkedIn!

P.S. I realize, that I too still have a challenge waiting. A complete cold shower morning routine is the coveted prize after all…