Boost Productivity With This Life Hack
Your fight or flight response is about to freak out.
I’m about to burst your bubble, but I think you’ll like it. If you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut and are looking for a way to boost your productivity and feelings of anxiety or depression, then I have got a trick for you!
I’m the type of person to take scalding hot showers, but for a long while, I have read about the benefits of cold showers. I recently did a Wim Hof breathwork class and ice bath hoping it would help me balance out my nervous system. I kid you not, the following day I was able to complete an extremely stressful task that I had been putting off for an entire year. Seriously.
I am now a proud believer in the benefits of cold water therapy.
Plunging into cold water is one of those experiences that sure feels invigorating, but recent cold water immersion research is backing up this boost in mood. Hydrotherapy, the practice of bathing in water of varying temperatures for therapeutic purposes, is not a new phenomenon. The use of hydrotherapy dates back to Hippocrates who believed cold water to be a treatment for lassitude.
We know cold water immersion increases the production of mood-elevating hormones and neurotransmitters (beta-endorphins, noradrenaline, and dopamine) that can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety by changing the chemistry in our body and brain. There are even countless anecdotal accounts of cold-water immersion improving symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Benefits of cold water immersion
The psychosocial aspect of cold-water exposure can’t be underestimated. The sense of achievement, the commitment to oneself, and to a ritual are all thought to play a role in improving mental health conditions.
While jumping in a cold lake, ocean, or river isn’t always possible, having a cold shower at home is!
As a general rule, start slow and acclimatize through repeated exposure in the form of short doses of cold-water exposure followed by warm clothes, warm drinks, and warming exercises. Please note that if you are pregnant, have cardiovascular issues, or have other health conditions, consult a doctor before taking the plunge.
I know, I know. Cold water doesn’t sound fun. You’re totally right, it’s okay to feel that way. You’re going to have to push yourself to stay in the uncomfortable situation for your own benefit. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Like I said, the day after my first ice bath I was able to better manage my nervous system and completed a task that I had been putting off for over a YEAR. That's right. A whole year went by where something felt so overwhelming to me that I simply couldn't bring myself to do it.
It's your body's job to keep you safe and comfortable, but sometimes things get a little out of wack and need to be "restarted" if you will. I've done a lot of research into trauma healing and one of the biggest things that Peter Levine suggests is that shivering can help a person to heal from trauma or PTSD. So, it only makes sense that while in an ice bath you will shiver which will help to balance your nervous system.
If you're anything like me and more times than not you seek comfort as opposed to discomfort, then ice baths and breathwork are for you. It's a true challenge and while you're in the ice bath everything will be screaming, "Get me out of here!" It's your job to then convince your fight or flight senses to stick it out for your own benefit.
I still have a lot to learn about breath work and cold water immersion, but it sounds like the pros far outweigh the cons at this point.
About the Creator
Miami based entrepreneur turned environmental non-profit founder. Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree. Inc. Magazine columnist. Always learning.
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