Every shower I take is as cold as I can get it.
[I don't write about my habits and such because I think you are fascinated by what I do. Other than my mom, I know about zero people who are really interested in what I do from day-to-day. I'm writing this because I like to write and the changes I've made in my life since its floor sorta fell out beneath me interest me. Maybe some of it will interest you too.]
The water is all the way in the blue on the dial. It's icy. It almost hurts when it hits my skin. I often make loud guttural sounds as I force myself to stand in the water. It's not fun. It's not relaxing. It's not easy. So why do I do it?
First and foremost, I do it because it is a daily exercise in mind over body. Every morning, after I finish my super intense cardio workout -- which I love -- I make my body do something that it really does not want to. My body doesn't want to get in that cold water, just like it used to not want to jump on the elliptical machine or take shots of apple cider vinegar (somehow that's not so bad anymore), but I make myself do it because just like intense cardio workouts and shots of apple cider vinegar, cold showers are good for the body.
But first and foremost, they are good for the mind. The will. The ability to accept the fact that you are going to be uncomfortable and jump in any-damn-way. Since I added cold showers to my daily routine, I've seen the ripples spread through my life.
For example, I'm not inhibited about trying to speak French to my kid in public anymore. Sure, it's uncomfortable. I'm not great at French, and I live in Texas, where there are four languages: Texan, Spanglish, Yankee, and Foreigner. But I do it because I want to: I want to become fluent in French and I need to practice speaking as much as I can, and I want my son to be exposed to French as much as possible because it's good AF for his beautiful brain.
What's scarier than speaking French in Texas? You guessed it: Approaching women. I used to almost never approach a woman unless I was tipsy or she had basically waved me in with a flag that said, "please talk to me!" Now, if I see a woman I want to talk to, I just jump in. No, I'm not "spitting game" or whatever. I just go talk to her and try to make conversation. It's almost always worth my time because I almost always learn something ... about myself, about the human condition, about women, about whatever I talk to her about. And I get better at it. Someday I might even get a date (haha: hope springs eternal).
Second, there are bodily benefits to taking cold showers: 1. It helps muscles repair from workouts/injuries/masseuses named Helga the Great. 2. It boosts metabolism. 3. It boosts the immune system. 4. No more dry skin!
Third, there's this thing called the Wim Hof Method. If you haven't heard of Wim Hof (he's a Dutch dude, ergo the funny name), Google him. Part -- a very big part -- of the Wim Hof Method is exposure to cold. I didn't learn about Wim Hof until I had already started taking cold showers, and I'm slowly integrating Wim Hof's breathing/exercise/cold routine into my own with growing success. That said, I'm still learning the method on a bodily level (as opposed to just intellectually). So I don't have a lot to report on the method at this point. However, I can tell you that what Wim Hof has to offer is amazing, paradigm-shattering. By using the Wim Hof method we -- you, me, everybody -- can control our autonomic nervous systems.
More on the Wim Hof Method in another post.