We Can Do Hard Things

We Can Do Hard Things

Your Curated Moment:

We Can Do Hard Things

 

Who loves a cold shower?! Like ice cold? 

Personally, I hate all things cold. 

I prefer a hot bath, warm tea, a 90-degree day with high humidity over anything close to resembling cold. 


A few years ago I took a trip to Hawaii with a handful of friends. One evening we had a “sisterhood of the traveling pants” moment where we jumped naked into a cold pool. I couldn’t do it. I actually refused to do it because I was grumpy and didn’t want to do something I didn’t want to do. My “I’m not gonna; you can’t make me” mentality was in full swing.

I was stuck in my thinking (cold things suck) and only focused on the impending discomfort. I didn’t see it as a bonding moment or an opportunity to challenge myself by doing something hard.  


When I began practicing Kundalini yoga 2 years ago I was taught that a 3-minute ice cold shower could awaken the nervous system, improve mental clarity and help rejuvenate your immune system; I was very annoyed.

Why do hard things have to be good for you? 

I wanted to refute the recommendation with evidence to the contrary. 

Instead, I found everything my instructor said to be very true. There are a number of studies (see below for list) that tout the benefits of exposure to cold – it can reduce stress, function as an antidepressant, and enhance your immune system. 

Our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) is actually immune enhancing when activated in short intervals. It’s chronic activation of our fight or flight response (aka chronic stress) that dampens our immune system. 

Voluntarily activating our sympathetic nervous system (with a 3 minute ice cold shower) increases the release of epinephrine, which turns on anti-inflammatory properties. The release of epinephrine also increases mental clarity and gives a boost of energy.

Plus, doing hard things is actually good for your brain . If you’re like me and find cold water horrifying, not only will you reap the health benefits of a cold shower, but you will also be changing your brain. When we take on difficult tasks it creates new connections between brain cells and improves our neuroplasticity.


 Here’s your moment. 

If you’re craving that extra cup of coffee, or feeling low on energy, stuck in your head, bored, irritated; or maybe you just need a bit of inspiration-- hop a cold shower; feel the icy water and take a sharp, deep breath while your reap the benefits of a stronger immune system and balanced mind!

 

 


Sources:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/04/30/1322174111.short

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030698770700566X

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.502.43&rep=rep1&type=pdf

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