About 3 years ago I got in the habit of taking cold showers. I was living in Barcelona at the time, and the hot water in our apartment wasn’t working. I remember letting the cold water run while dancing around in front of it, trying to avoid the inevitable of plunging myself in.
But overtime, I slowly became accustomed to it, and even began looking forward to it. It gave me energy and shook me alive. And as I began reading more about all the benefits of taking cold showers, it became a staple component of my daily routine.
Putting Up With Discomfort
Learning to be comfortable with discomfort is just about one of the single most valuable skills one can possess.
Any successful entrepreneur, professional athlete, writer or musician will tell you that it tooks hours and hours of buckling down and grinding through their craft. Success in any field is about choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction.
In an age over-saturated with instant gratification through ‘likes’, follows, pop up messages, and notifications, never has this been more relevant.
It is 10x easier to mindlessly flip between Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and repeat and repeat and repeat instead of sitting down and focusing. It takes grit and resilience to put your whole mental state and present-self into developing your craft and profession.
We have all the world’s information at our finger tips. The ability to shape ourselves in the direction of our choosing has never been so widely accessible. Yet most of us spend our time distracting ourselves, rather than developing our muse.
Developing ourselves takes time and preseverence. It requires a level of hardiness and fixation to an end goal or state of being. Grit and putting up with discomfort isn’t a course taught in school, but I would argue it’s just about the most valuable skill one can have. The aspect alone is reason enough to fall in love with cold showers.
But wait, it gets better! Here are some other benefits.
Better Than A Coffee
A cold shower increases your energy and mental awareness far more effectively than any other caffeine alternatives. Caffeine gives you a temporary kick in the morning, but drastically loses it’s effect over time and has diminishing returns. It’s impossible to get out of a cold shower without feeling shaken alive and invigorated.
Healthier Skin and Hair
Cold showers are better for your hair, skin, and personal hygiene. Hot water damages your skin and hair by drying it out, while cold water tightens your pores to prevent dirt and bacteria from getting in. Cold water also improves your blood circulation which has tons of health benefits.
Creates Other Healthy Habits
Cultivating the habit of taking cold showers spilled over into other areas of my life. Going back to beginning of the story in Barcelona, one of the things I started doing was short 5-10 minute workouts in the morning beforehand. It got my blood flowing and raised my overall body heat, which in turn made the brute cold water more tolerable.
Charles Duhigg talks about this a lot in his book The Power of Habits. He describes how creating a single capstone habit eventually spills over into all areas of your life; affecting other areas that initially might not have seemed unrelated. Something as seemingly as simple as using cold water vs hot water can turn you into a production machine in all areas of your life.
Self-discipline is the key to personal greatness. Would you put up with the discomfort of today to create a better you tomorrow? Perhaps that discomfort would eventually turn into something you enjoy, and dare I say, even revel in.