⚡ Train yourself to become resilient to discomfort, able to fend off those nagging questions of whether you should continue.

A shower head, for cold shower therapyCold Shower Therapy | TEDx Talk by Joel Runyon

Cold showers are balls. They’re anywhere from uncomfortable to downright painful, depending on the temperature that you choose. But I’ve had them recommended to me a surprising amount — why?

A little digging around led me to discover a LOT of different claims about how cold showers can benefit your health — everything from increasing your white blood cell count (thereby ‘strengthening’ your immune system) to increasing your ability to burn fat. Unfortunately, research into the topic is limited — there’s not much money in funding research into cold showers, I guess. So the verdict is out on those direct health effects.

One thing that can’t be argued with is that taking a cold shower takes you outside of your comfort zone — you’re consciously doing something that is uncomfortable. In doing so, you have to battle against your mind — you’ll almost certainly find yourself questioning why you’re doing it, whether you really need to continue.

In the end, the process of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone feels pretty similar regardless of the cause — the discomfort is just more intense for things that are scarier than a cold shower. So taking a cold shower could be seen as ‘practice’ for bigger challenges… you train yourself to become resilient to discomfort, able to fend off those nagging questions of whether you should continue. It’s easy to do every day, so even if the training benefit is small, it should accumulate pretty quickly over time.

Joel Runyon’s TEDx talk (which — be warned — is a little repetitive), introduced me to the idea. It’s an interesting one… I’ll certainly be trying cold showers.