A guide to stepping outside of your comfort zone and into cold plunges
What You Can Expect
Plunging into the cold is an excellent way to flush toxins, release endorphins, and demonstrate to yourself what you're capable of. Even Hippocrates recognized the advantages of soaking in cold water.
When your body first feels the cold water shock, you won't be thinking; you'll just be feeling. You will experience stillness, pure energy, the flow of blood delivering oxygen and nutrients to your brain's deepest parts, and the true power of your mind. You will crave, chase, and want more of that feeling once you have tasted it. Let's get started.
How long will you be out in the cold?
Cold water can be uncomfortable, even painful, at first, but your body can adapt with repeated exposure. The outcome of foregoing your comfort is extraordinary. Cold is a stressor, and if you can learn to control your body's response to it, you will be able to better control stress in all of its forms. The more you incorporate cold diving into your life, the greater the payoff.
Three minutes in the water is a good target time for a cold plunge. You will be able to add more time as time goes on, but the most important thing is to listen to your body.
For complete cold plunge beginners, a quick dip (30 seconds) or regular cold showers can help build tolerance. Begin with a warm shower and finish with five minutes of cold water. This will assist you in becoming more immune to the common cold.
Before you take the plunge, consider the following practical advice:
- Prepare by visualizing how you intend to enter the water and how you want to feel.
- When you're ready, step in with confidence, taking deep breaths to relax your brain and nervous system.
- Allow your breath to slow down and become deeper once you're in the water. This signals to your brain, "I'm ok." (This technique can also help with feelings of overwhelm, anger, frustration, and anxiety during other difficult times in life, rewiring your brain to not always go into "fight or flight" mode.)
- Be aware that you may experience hyperventilation, or faster breathing, which is an involuntary physiological response that will subside as your body relaxes and adjusts over time.
- Keep your cool and remember to breathe. After the first minute, it will become easier. To stay present in the cold, try exhaling with a long "hummmmmm."
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