Jordan Gross

@jordan.c.gross2016

The Numbing Reality of the Cold Shower

Image by Seth Doyle

It was 7:32am. I woke up with a smirk and put my feet on the floor. I went to the bathroom and turned on the shower. I felt the water. Not cold enough. I turned the handle. I felt the water again. Not cold enough. I turned the handle. I felt the water a third time. It was fucking freezing. I counted to 3 and jumped in.

It is commonplace now to hear about the benefits of a cold shower. It wakes you up, it refreshes you, it energizes you, whatever it may be. But it is one thing to read or hear about it in a way that is solely informative and seemingly speculative, and a totally different thing to actually read about what the experience feels like. So this is what I’ll provide for you.

We cannot negotiate with our thoughts. We must convince our minds we are doing something and not waver on whether or not we will actually do it. On this morning, I woke up, and I decided not to negotiate with my mind.

My energy levels had been low, coming off a good amount of drinking and poor eating habits. I knew that on the whole, I had to just get more good sleep and stop partying to feel better, but I’m also always down for a quick solution and having done them in the past, I thought the cold shower would be effective.

I mentioned my short process for this shower already, but let me walk you through the intricacies of how I felt in each of those moments.

Eager

I woke up with a smile because I knew there was a slap in the face coming my way. It was easy to wake up and get up, because I knew there was no negotiating, no wavering. I was getting in this shower and it was gonna suck.

Giddy

When I turned on the shower and felt just how cold this plunge was going to be, it was hard to not laugh. But I knew it could be colder. I took a step out of the shower for a second and looked in the mirror. I found myself jumping up and down, like I was getting ready for the biggest game, exam, interview, or meeting of my life.

Content

Having turned the handle now, almost so much that the shower was off, I knew it was time to hop in. I took a second though to think, smile, and analyze the situation. My intention going in was to not be afraid to wake up, take this cold shower, and feel energized afterward. But I had achieved this already! Before stepping in, I was excited to wake up, I felt wide-awake, and I felt pumped up to approach the rest of my day.

Focused

But even with this revelation, I still had committed to a task and had convinced my mind that it was non-negotiable. I was determined to fully complete what I set out to do. I felt the water one last time, counted to 3 and jumped underneath the showerhead. The reality of this leap of faith was like nothing I ever could have imagined. It was extremely fucking cold! I turned the shower off within 10 seconds, I was shaking like a leaf, I was shivering, and I was repeatedly saying, “o shit, o shit, o shit” as I tried to take deep breaths and relax this shocked state my body was in.

Accomplished

After about 15 seconds though, I encountered this unmatched feeling of liberation and extreme accomplishment. I completed something that was seemingly impossible, something that scared me, something that pushed me beyond the ordinary limits of an average day.

The numbing reality of the cold shower is this. It is unthinkably difficult to wake up and be excited to immerse yourself in freezing cold water. Your mind is going to tell you, “no, it’s not worth it, just get back in bed.” I promise you this. But once you’ve convinced yourself that this is not what you want, and what you do want is an experience that will positively alter your views, intentions, and actions for the remainder of the day, then jump into that shower, embrace the uneasiness, and bask in the glory of overcoming a fear and starting your day outside your comfort zone.

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