Photo Credit: The Green Economy
Like many, I am in a constant quest for self-improvement. To better myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually- I diligently research practices and theories to incorporate into my own life. Having a morning ritual has been a game changer. Do you have a morning ritual?
To be clear, having a ritual is fundamentally different from having a routine. The difference is intention. Each action I take upon waking, is done with a fully present mind, body, and soul- and underscored with intentions. I wasn’t always this way. I used to have a morning routine, which never fulfilled me. I went through a mindless to-do task list that included the mundane making of coffee, checking emails, and replying to DMs (I discuss my morning ritual in more detail later in the piece).
In this article we will explore a few of the science-backed benefits to taking a cold shower / polar plunge, how I implement cold showers in morning rituals, and how you might be able to do the same (this is from my experience and my reading- I recommend that everyone to do their own reading and research).
The Benefits of Cold Showers
Cold showers and polar plunges have long been used by athletes, leaders and individuals seeking to improve overall health, wellness, and healing. Motivational speaker and author, Tony Robbins writes about taking a morning plunge into his 57-degree pool each morning. Robbins believes there are many health benefits by turning this practice into a habit, and so do I.
While the practice is very physical, emotional, and spiritual- it’s not all based on blind faith, mysticism or the esoteric. Below are several benefits backed by multiple studies proving the positive effects of cold showers.
Enhanced immune system: As written about by Dr Weil, a study performed in England, “found that taking daily cold showers increased the numbers of disease-fighting white blood cells”. Furthermore, as the body attempts to warm itself during and after exposure to cold water, the immune system is activated and there is an increase in the body’s metabolic rate.
Increased tolerance to environmental stress: There are studies that show that cold showers are beneficial for the body, promoting adaptation. One such study conducted in 1999 can be found via in PubMed.gov. The study found cold showers resulted in “an improved ability to resist the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species, resulting from pre-exposure to a lower dose. Changes in uric acid and glutathione levels during ice-bathing suggest that the intensive voluntary short-term cold exposure of winter swimming produces oxidative stress.” In short, repeated exposure to limited amounts of oxidative stress (via cold showers) increases tolerance to environmental stress.
Healing the body / preventing injury: If you’re an athlete, you already know this. Soaking in an ice bath or cold therapy reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy these benefits. In fact, most adults live with ongoing inflammation and discomfort without ever addressing their issues. This results in a lower quality of life that they’ve simply accepted a reality. It doesn’t have to be this way.
My Personal Morning Ritual
Before my morning ritual, I felt like a robot simply going through the motions of life. Eventually I traded my routine for a ritual to fill my body, mind, spirit, and soul in a mindful, intentional way. Now, my mornings include gratitude, affirmations, meditation, yoga, journaling, and cold showers. I’ve found significant improvements in many areas of my life when I adopted a powerful morning ritual to start each day.
As a starting point for your consideration, I’d like to share how I incorporate cold showers into my morning personal ritual. I encourage you to individuate the experience based on your personal preferences and reactions if/when you try it for yourself.
I start my day at 3AM and immediately jump in a cold shower. For the 3-minute duration I focus all attention in the present. Staving off the body shakes, I practice slow deep breaths in and out as I stand in the cold water. Additionally, I habit stack my daily statements of gratitude and affirmations, which have been key elements of my morning ritual for years now.
Stacking these in the shower has nothing to do with saving time. Rather, my goal is to create complete mindfulness and awareness in the face of adversity. While physically uncomfortable and stressful, I am training my mind to focus on the unlimited blessings of life and affirm my resilience, strength, and Divine Support.
The result is always the same: I emerge from the shower feeling awake, alert, and accomplished. As I move throughout my day in the highest of vibrations, my actions are aligned, and my decisions are clear, confident, and convicted. I enjoy knowing that what I face throughout my day is for my highest good, and I can and will build a positive day in the midst of any challenge.
Is a Cold Shower for You?
I’m not a purest. My truth is mine alone – as is yours. I do think many people would benefit from taking a cold shower but it’s definitely not for everyone. Take more time to research other sources before making a decision to try it out. Decide for yourself the length of the shower and how many days you’ll commit to it (remember it takes 21 days to create a new ‘habit.’) If any of the benefits sound appealing, I highly encourage you to give it try. We don’t get different results by doing the same things. The cold shower may just open a new pathway to elevate your entire life.
This is a testament of my personal experience. I did my own research before jumping into the practice. As with anything you do, you need to not only do your own research, but ask yourself if it resonates with you. Be your own Master, your own Guru. What works for someone else may not be right for you. Your personal growth journey is exactly that – personal. So read on, take what resonates and leave the rest.
Written by: Christina Burruss
Edited for SEO by: Veronica Castillo
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