I absolutely hate the cold.
I really do.
In the past, if I ever had to take cold showers, I’d be jumping up and about, loudly lamenting how cold it is and how miserable it made me.
About a month ago, I found myself in a very cluttered headspace. My thoughts were just everywhere. I was living my own head. I was overthinking, I was overreacting.
I simply wasn’t present.
My emotional outburst hurt the ones around me whom I cared about and it dawned upon me that I really needed to change.
So I promised myself for a whole month, I would only take cold showers.
I know you must be thinking – what does cold showers have to do with anything?
To me, it’s about committing to doing something I know I dislike, deciding to put myself in an uncomfortable situation and learning to adapt.
It’s about showing up no matter what.
And proving to myself, if I could do something I didn’t really like at the start of the day, come what may, I’ll be able to handle it.
We are all a lot more adaptive than we give ourselves credit for.
My first day was really uncomfortable – the water was freezing cold, and I realised the more I thought about how cold it was, the worse I felt.
So over time I realised the best way to cope is to breathe through it.
To not overthink the situation – it is just is. The experience felt like it was a meditation to me.
My mind is always the clearest when the water hits my skin. When it’s so cold, you simply can’t think of anything else. My first reaction is always to pull away but because I’ve committed, all I can do is to take deep breaths, staying put and no surprise, my body gets used to it.
After the first week, I started really looking forward to it. Surely, cold days are always harder but I enjoyed feeling sharp and refreshed the moment I stepped out of the shower. I guess this is the equivalent of a runner’s high.
It got me thinking, yes, surely cold showers are beneficial, the internet tells us all about it.
But it’s less about the shower itself, it’s more about the ritual – more of what it represents.
We might interpret rituals negatively, as symbols of an old fashioned attempt to control our thoughts by appointment. However, the best rituals don’t so much impose on us ideas that we are opposed to but take us back to ideas that we are in deep agreement with but yet allowed to lapse. They are an externally mandated route to inner authenticity.Emotional Education; Alain de Botton
So cold showers are now my ritual.
A repetitive action to train my mind to be present. To train myself to keep my overthinking tendencies in check. My way of affirming to myself, if I chose to show up every single day without fail – I would be able to get used to anything.
Time is all I need.
Moving forward, cold showers have finally evolved from an experiment/proof of concept to a daily habit.
What are your rituals? 🙂