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.