I'm doing a 90-day fast with some guys from my church. As you might imagine, there's a laundry list of things to abstain from during this fast, but a major goal is to rewire how you think about subconscious decisions that you make every day on autopilot.
A large part of our day happens without any intention or thought. This could be TV, aimlessly perusing social media, drinking, snacking between meals, or a nice warm shower.
One of the things this fast wants you to do is take a nice, ice-cold shower. The rest of the post I will talk about my experience taking cold showers.
It has been far more useful than I thought.
When I first found out that I was supposed to take a cold shower as part of this fast, I thought it was dumb. I scoffed at the idea, but I vaguely remembered hearing about how Benjamin Franklin would take a cold "air bath" which involved sitting nude in front of a window, so I decided I'd try it out and see what happened. After all, a smart guy did it a couple hundred years ago.
First, a cold shower is colder than you think. Especially at first. I've been doing this for two weeks and every morning it's still as cold as the previous morning. It never gets easier.
As I type this, my fingers are getting cold tingles thinking about it. I'm serious. It's cold. As an aside, I don't recommend taking one at 4:30 in the morning. Your significant other will not appreciate waking up to to you complaining.
After a couple days of torture, I started to realize a few interesting benefits:
The cold wipes your brain. Whatever you were thinking about before, you are no longer thinking about. All mental processes are focused on the cold. It's like when you have a slow computer because you have too many processes running. The cold shower restarts the "brain computer". It's very strange. You need to try it to see what I'm talking about.
Cold showers force you to start your day saying, "I'm going to do something I do NOT want to do." The notion of saying, "no" makes it easier to say "no" later in the day to things you may not have even thought about before.
You feel amazing after. It turns out, cold showers have a variety of benefits. They improve circulation and boosts your immune system. During this time, my wife and son got sick. I did not. I'm not sure if it was due to the cold showers, but it could have made an impact.
I still have 60+ days left of this fast, but the cold shower has been surprisingly amazing, if you can get over the torture.
The more you know.