Good Habit: Cold Shower Therapy

This morning the shower spat icy cold water. No, the water heater isn’t broken. We have electricity. The shower was cold, because I turned the knob as far to the right as possible without turning it off completely.

Dad introduced me to cold shower therapy just yesterday, but immediately I knew it was a worthwhile idea. Cold showers carry many health benefits. Even if I realized only skin improvement, it’s a huge win. Plus, as Joel Runyon describes them, cold showers help impart discipline and focus.

The shower was brutal. The first 10 seconds were excruciating; I felt as though my body was going to lock up. Temptation ran high to stand outside of the stream as I washed, but that would have defeated the purpose. So I shivered, cringed, and cursed under my breath as I ran through my shower routine as quickly as possible without sacrificing cleanliness.

(It turns out we can shower pretty damn quickly, and completely at that, if we want to.)

After a few minutes my body acclimated itself and the shower didn’t suck quite as much. It still sucked, no doubt, and turning off the faucet gave me great relief. But the end of the shower didn’t involve nearly as much shivering as the beginning.

Taking a cold shower for one day accomplishes essentially nothing. Only repeated exposure will bring the health and discipline benefits. And so tomorrow I will again turn the knob as far to the right as possible and put myself under that freezing shower head.

The worst part: it will suck just as much as it did today. Chances are that if I do this for an entire year, it will suck just as much on Day 365 as it did on Day 1.

The pain is the reason to do it. It’s a harmless pain – a beneficial pain, even, if we’re to believe the studies on the health benefits. So here’s to giving it a try. If one thing is for sure, it’s that cold shower therapy fits in perfectly with how I’ve started approaching life.

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