Taking cold showers every day in the morning is one of the best habits I developed in 2015.
Any person who went to a public school in my country may argue with me and say, “but it is a norm to take a cold shower in the morning and the evening while you are a high school student?” yes it is a norm but after school, I promised myself to never again. Furthermore, it was one of the many punishments.
Initially, it was hard to start like it is for any other worthwhile habit, but I can admit the results are worth it. I recognize that no one knows about tomorrow but it is also very important to take care of your body. You know, there is no space for that.
And thanks to this habit, my confidence is much higher than before, am more alert than I used to be, I sleep a lot much better except when I consume a lot of sugars (that is a topic for another day), not to mention my skin which is much clear.
Probably if I got a time machine, I would tell that to my younger self, “Don’t stop taking cold showers after high school.”
But I can still do something with the experience I have so far with cold showers. I can explore the relationship between anxiety and cold showers in relation to the scientific studies and research done in the past relating the two topics.
Below are the opinions and thoughts of the contributors here at kwisepsychology.com, and science regarding cold showers and anxiety.
Exposure to cold showers reduces stress
In the area of mental health and mental health studies, stress and anxiety are birds of the same feather.
Your stress levels tend to rise when you are anxious, and the vice versa is true.
But wait, what is one of the ways to improve your anxiety levels? Simply by becoming less stressed.
In a study constituting 12 males where the stress levels are monitored through the cortisol and Chromogranin levels in the saliva, they reduced significantly after having a cold bath.
Of course, reducing stressors and becoming less stressed is not as easy as it may sound, but exposure to cold water has been shown to reduce stress from the past research done on the same.
Cold baths activate the sympathetic nervous system
Am pretty sure that those with basic knowledge of the nervous system will agree with me on this; activation of the nervous system by cold water increases the levels of the feel-good hormone (Beta-endorphin) and Noradrenaline.
These two hormones inhibit anxious behaviors in animals.
Cold showers and sleep
For many years; almost all my years of my existence, I have suffered from sleeping difficulties. And for this, I can assure you that sleep is one of the most underrated weapons to brace yourself when fighting mental health issues. Sleep is fundamental to wellness and well-being.
I can trade all my earthly possessions to nights of good sleep.
Enough sleep for a night assures you more happiness, more energy, and a clear mind for the activities of the next day.
The days that I have had good sleep I look forward to the next day; I feel better, happy, great, and also I can enjoy my meals and time with friends and family.
The opposite of this is also very true.
The days that I don’t get enough sleep, I often feel like crap and very anxious over small issues; at work or social places.
One of the hormones that make an individual have difficulties to sleep is the cortisol when they are high. Cold showers are therefore great for your sleep as they lower cortisol levels.
Normally, the cortisol levels should be down in the evenings, but due to lifestyles, this is not the case for most of us. You can therefore try cold showers in the evening to increase the quality of your sleep.
Cold baths help you boost confidence
Forget about alcohol, cold showers are the real liquid confidence booster. This is mainly due to the dopamine pathway stimulation from exposure to cold water.
Dopamine is a strong neurotransmitter; it gives that ‘feel good’ feeling when you achieve set goals or something that you have always wanted to achieve.
Cold showers cause the dopamine levels to increase making you feel the sense of accomplishment. This alone boosts your confidence making your anxiety to be suppressed.
Cold baths help in fighting fear
Most people with anxiety complain of the fear of the unknown; social anxiety? When you are confused about how a conversation would end or having a stage flight in fear of how the audience will react.
All these are very normal and should not worry you that much. At least with time and practice, they come to an end.
So what is my argument here? Cold showers are quite scary at the beginning, and to some people, they are equal to a nightmare. But with time, you get used to this fear and overcome it, you end up enjoying cold baths.
My point is, by practicing having cold showers; you will train your brain that the outcome is not as bad as you have it in your head.
You will agree with me that anxiety sucks!
And this is not the complete cure for anxiety, at least not absolute cure.
But at least it adds up to your tools of fighting and coping with anxiety.