Overwhelming Positive Emotion … From a Cold Shower

If you need a lift in spirits, a giant boost to your mental outlook, an enormous dose of gratitude, I recommend blasting your body with cold water for a couple of minutes.

I’m brand new to the Wim Hof Method, but in less than 2 weeks I’m experiencing incredible gratitude and energy and I’m extremely satisfied with my results. I should note that I have pushed myself a bit further than the coursework outlines for cold showers, so it may be giving me faster and stronger results than if you stick to the basics. Week 1 called for 30 second cold showers after any length of warm/hot shower, but I felt good in the 1 – 2 minute range, so I went with it.

Yesterday was Day 2 of Week 2 and I decided to challenge myself to a cold shower only, without any warm water first. I had already taken several 2-minute cold showers (with a hot shower first) so I figured it would be a bit of a challenge, but not a big deal, right? Uh. Wrong. It was indeed a challenge, but much greater than I had anticipated. It turns out that experiencing hot water first makes a world of difference.

My First Cold-Turkey Cold Shower

I turned the cold faucet all the way on before stepping into the shower. I set my timer for 2 minutes and then stuck my hand and food into the stream of cold water. OH. Huh. That’s cold. I began to take deep, intentional breaths and splash the water onto my arms and face. Hmmm. Still feeling like I don’t really want to get in there. It seems, well, really, really cold. A couple more deep breaths and I realize I just need to plunge in all the way. At 36 seconds my head was under the rushing stream of cold and I could only keep myself from bolting the heck-outta-there by enlisting the help of intentional breathing. Then, a simple mantra took over my thoughts: “For my family. For myself. For my family. For myself.” Between the breathing and mantra, and knowing that I CAN be in the cold water for 2 minutes, I sustained. And after the two-minute timer went off, I started my stopwatch. You read that right. I stayed in the cold shower. Because I could. Because it’s helping to change me into the person I want to be. Because it’s for my family. And because it’s for myself.

For several moments the water actually felt warm or at least it didn’t bother me. I continued to rotate under the flow of water and to breathe deeply. When the timer hit 1 minute I put my face into the cold stream one last time and switched off the faucet. And then the emotions bubbled up unbidden.

Awash with Gratitude and Positive Emotion

I started to film myself, knowing that it would not be pretty. It might actually be quite uncomfortable to show myself in such a state of emotion. But I wanted to record the power of the moment. I wanted to expose the possibility. Show what a simple activity can do for your mind. I didn’t just step out of the shower, shiver, and say “Damn, that was cold!” I wrapped my towel around me and as powerful emotion surged through me and brought me to tears. The gratitude for my husband and family, and my fortunate life. Gratitude for the previous day, that was head-and-shoulders amazing above any in the last months … maybe years. The gratitude for the powerful experience; the knowledge that I am taking back control and becoming the body and mind that I want for myself. Knowing that my journey is just beginning, yet so positive and incredible after so little time.

Think about it. Consider whether you need a little more oomph in your life. A little more mental space to be happy, relaxed, and light. Perhaps less aches and pain, and better sleep is within reach- without a pill bottle. Consider whether trying something new in your routine might change your life in just the way you need.

Click here to go to the full video on my youtube channel.

Wim Hof Method Fundamental Course AND how Rodney is saving our relationship and supporting me to be a better mom, wife, friend, and most importantly … a better Dianna

I decided to commit to a personal growth goal. It’s kind of huge for me.

I am TERRIBLE with routine and the Wim Hof Method Fundamental course is a full 10 (TEN!) weeks of DAILY stretching, breathwork, and cold exposure (i.e. taking a COLD shower EVERY day!). Drinking coffee in the morning is the only daily habit I have ever held (aside from getting dressed, and I haven’t always done that everyday!), but a really strong cup of coffee is more a necessity than a habit. So what’s really wild, and shows I mean business: I haven’t had a cup of coffee in 11 days! (more on that later). All that to say, “I stink at routine.” I would definitely not be on Day 5 already if it weren’t for my incredible partner, best friend, father-of-my-children, and lover: Rodney.

This post should really be titled, “How Rodney is saving our relationship and supporting me to be a better mom, wife, friend, and most importantly … a better Dianna,” however I already typed in the title and I’m not going to change it now. Wait a second … strike that, I’m putting it into the title. Rodney deserves an entire post about how amazing he has been: his effort, choices, and patience are incredibly motivational to me and make me feel well-loved. However, that will have to be a later post, because today I’m sharing a bit about the Wim Hof Method (WHM) Fundamental course that I’ve embarked on.

I want to record my experience with the course and still have time for family and other activities, so I am keeping a video journal for convenience … and sharing it for the world to see. 😳 I created a youtube channel called deliberosity, which is home to my journal and any other videos I make or share. It’s ok for you to poke fun and cringe … because the videos are totally cringe-worthy at times (the intro is ridiculously long and completely painful, and then I cry in the shower and make it publicly available 🤦🏼‍♀️) But other moments are beautiful, like when Pyra makes the “shaka” hand symbol, and when Lars merely shows his chunk body. It is what it is, and I don’t care. This is what I’m doing for ME and I feel inspired to share in case it can help anyone else. The world can take it or leave it 😊

Wim Hof Method

I’ll be brief and if you’re interested in more info, head to the official WHM website or check out one of the documentaries I link below.

The basic idea is that humans are much stronger than we think we are and we have the ability to awaken our “inner fire” to improve our mental and physical wellbeing and fortitude. This is nothing new per se; yogis have meditated their way to control various mental and physical functions for centuries. The WHM is one particular practice that was created by a Dutch man nicknamed “The Ice Man” and has become extremely popular in the last 5 years. Two documentaries have helped to spread the word and pique interest around the world. The Yes Theory documentary is a fun and interesting introduction that grabbed my attention. The VICE documentary was the first to skyrocket the popularity of WHM.

In short, the Wim Hof Method combines mindset cultivation (through stretching and meditation) with intentional breathing exercises and controlled exposure to cold. 

The general benefits of WHM (taken from the official website) include:

  • Reduced stress level
  • Greater cold tolerance
  • Faster recovery
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Stronger immune system
  • Migraine relief
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Heightened focus & determination
  • Improved sports performance
  • Increased willpower
  • Relief from: fibromyalgia, lime disease symptoms, Multiple Sclerosis, asthma, arthritis, auto-immune disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

10-week Fundamental Course

I purchased a video-based online course to teach me the WHM and get me started on a daily practice. Please note that I haven’t completed the course and I’m not sure of the results, so I’m not yet endorsing the course, but I want to provide the information for what I am using and make it convenient for others to look into it.

There are weekly videos for 10 themes which also include guidance for yoga and breathwork. There is a downloadable workbook and an app to help track progress and provide tools. The app is free and available to anyone, but you have to pay for the course or to unlock “premiere” options. I feel there are areas that could be improved to streamline the course and make things more clear, but if I can continue with the program and the resources can help me get the results as they are … I’m in!! I’m working to be less critical when it really doesn’t matter. 😬

Personal Goals and Commitments

Obviously, all of these reported benefits would be amazing, right? Who doesn’t want better sleep and a stronger immune system? My initial goal, however, is to increase my stress tolerance so that I don’t feel overwhelmed so easily. I don’t want to be an impatient, grumpy, and stressed mom/wife/person. I haven’t always been so quick to overwhelm, and I’m determined to get back to a more easy-going self. Rodney giving me time for “me” is a huge influence already, but that won’t necessarily create a lasting effect. The intention is to bring about a physical and mental change that reduces my stress response.

Day 5 is here and I’ve done stretches, breathwork, and a cold shower every day. That was my commitment for Week One, but I plan to continue through the weekend so that I don’t falter. I will complete all 10 weeks, repeating weeks if I feel the need, or tacking on more time if I stumble somewhere along the way. The journal videos and this blog are intended to create accountability for me, in addition to the therapy they provide.

Wrap-up

That’s it for today! Thank you again to Rodney, and a big thanks also to those of you who reach out and let me know that you relate to what I’ve written, that you’re with me, and that we’re all in this together. One foot in front of the other, every day. And it’s ok to just sit still and breathe sometimes. Sometimes for a very long time. 😊

Remember: You are MUCH stronger than you think you are!

REBOOT

Postpartum is hard. No matter where you are, who you are with, or the particular circumstances; the postpartum challenges to your mind and body are intense. It’s also hard for the loved ones of the mother, as they try to cope with the changes and provide support and love in the best way they can while often being overwhelmed by the challenging circumstances themselves.

Even now I’m having trouble finding my way through this post as mixed emotions gurgle to the surface and confuse my focus.

The past year has been very difficult. Somehow, my second baby is approaching his first birthday. And yet, where did all those days go? Many hours were spent in an exhausted survival mode with feelings of resentment, disappointment, shame, and despair. But I also have been working on myself and knowing that things will improve with time and with effort.

Infertility and phases of depression put an extra stress on my relationship with my best friend and husband, Rodney. The postpartum challenges we faced in isolation, in our apartment during the covid pandemic in Cuenca, Ecuador, thousands of miles from our support network, brought us down to our lowest point as a couple. I wasn’t doing well. While not every moment was terrible, I wasn’t enjoying our children and family as much as I wanted to. I wasn’t enjoying life as much as I wanted to. I wasn’t feeling loved, and I was not loving Rodney well. Our communication faltered from healthy and supportive to almost non-existent. I won’t dwell on the past and on the negative, but please reach out to me if you need support or want to hear more to connect and not feel alone.

Recently, Rodney and I have taken bigger steps towards improving our relationship and ourselves as individuals. I am using an online counseling service for myself and we just started relationship counseling on a related platform.

For myself, I have given up wheat and coffee as they both seem to interfere with my body functioning well- we’ll see as time goes on. I am using intentional breathing to relax and reset my mind and body, as well as a very simple mantra: “Breathe. Relax. This too shall pass.” Two giant, exciting, challenging changes started today: 1) Mommy goes out to the officina to work instead of Daddy, and 2) I begin the Wim Hof Method 10-week fundamental course.

As I take over some of the time in the office, I will be working on me (meditating, writing, etc) and towards income-making pursuits. Rod and I are putting effort into sharing various workloads more equitably. Soon, I’ll add a link to more info and posts on the Wim Hof Method work that I’m doing.

My overall goal is to be the best me that I can- a me that I can be proud of. To enjoy my life, my family, my surroundings, no matter the circumstances or the weather. I want to love more and give more. I want my body to feel great so that I can make the most of each moment. I’m side-stepping out of my current boggy track, into one that where I tackle challenges, I persevere, I ask for help when I need it, and I feel stronger and healthier in my body and mind.

I just want to finish by saying that Rodney has been instrumental in all of these steps and has shown incredible generosity, strength, and thoughtfulness. This morning he gave me the encouragement and support I needed to take the plunge and start Wim Hof TODAY … not on some idealized better day that might never arrive. I am forever grateful to him.

Now, I will go be momma and wife with my family for awhile. Remember:

You are MUCH stronger than you think you are!

Love,

Dianna