[This post is part of a series on Cold Showers. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view that series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]
I don’t remember posting about cold showers in a while. I’m still taking them, now every fourth day, which I call a sidcha, even though not daily. I consider it regular enough.
Today’s water temperature was 41.5 degrees (5.3 C), close to my record of 39.9 degrees. It’s hard to take a shower that cold without writing about it.
I do it every fourth day because I like warm showers as much as anyone. When I take my warm showers, I can’t believe I take cold showers, feeling the water before it warms. I know that I do, but something inside me can’t believe anyone would do such a thing. It seems impossible.
Yet I do, and their value is in teaching me to do things I can’t believe possible, to develop skill in doing what I choose to, not just what I feel like. People talk about overcoming fears, then say they won’t take a cold shower, where the only thing to fear is discomfort. There’s no risk of injury. It takes no extra time. Rarely does the water get this cold.
Some people do their equivalent of a cold shower—some other sidcha. I respect that.
I can only conclude that most people think they’ll overcome their fears and anxieties later, always later, their whole lives, deciding to accept complacency. Only they aren’t deciding. More like sleepwalking or blowing in the breeze.
I have to be careful. I’m not trying to convince anyone to take cold showers. I’ve just found them to have the lowest hurdle of nearly anything you can challenge yourself with—no extra cost, time, risk of public embarrassment, risk of injury, scheduling conflict, membership, equipment, dependence on weather, etc. What else takes less? All there is to it is personal challenge with discomfort. Learn skills to overcome discomfort and you start to learn other things you can overcome.
What takes less material or outside effort than taking a cold shower yet still challenges you? Writing, exercising, cooking, sports, etc. All take more time or effort.
It’s weird to think of a cold shower—something so hard to do—as so incredibly easy from another perspective. All you have to do is not turn on the hot water. I wish I could describe the benefits, but they’re experiential. You only get them from doing it. How do you describe the benefits of enabling yourself to live the life you want more than just the one that’s easiest?
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