Meditation is of the keys to developing mental strength is cultivating an ability to endure and embrace discomfort. Luckily, most of us already have a tool in our homes to train the mind to be more resilient, calm, and happy.
If find yourself struggling to stay focused when you meditate. Or are just trying to take your meditations to the next level. You might find that incorporating a cold shower in your routine before meditation can have significant benefits. Adding cold showers to your daily routine can benefit your health on its own. Combining cold showers with a meditation practice can multiply those benefits. And help promote a state of mind conducive to mental focus and clarity. Here are some of the primary benefits of taking cold showers before you meditate:
Taking cold showers has the immediate benefit of increasing attention and mental clarity. If you have ever tried to mediate early in the morning or late in the evening, you may be familiar with the feeling of struggling with a groggy mind. You may find your mind wandering off whenever you try to focus. Or you may feel an overall fogginess and lack of clarity as you attempt to meditate. The stimulation and resulting alertness that come with taking a cold shower can give you calm energy.
When you take a cold shower, your muscles tense, breathing increases, heart rate goes up, and the capillaries constrict. This happens in an attempt to conserve warmth near your core—the increase in breathing results in extra oxygen in the blood.
And when your body begins to warm, this blood rushes to your brain and extremities resulting in an overall feeling of calm euphoria—meditating immediately after a cold shower allows you to really sink into this feeling and more quickly reach a meditation-oriented state of mind.
If you find it hard to meditate due to feeling unmotivated or down in the dumps, cold showers can help. Simple things like putting on a warm sweater or having a hot beverage after a cold shower can feel amazing. You’ll also feel a higher level of gratitude for the other everyday comforts we often take for granted.
Increased mental toughness
Cold showers are a safe way of acclimating ourselves to discomfort. Most of us today live with comforts and amenities that our ancestors never dreamed of. Cold showers, however, have the benefit of being a great way to develop resilience and the ability to confront discomfort head-on.
Increased willpower and confidence
The fact of the matter is that it can be tough to convince yourself to step into an ice-cold shower, especially when you know you could be taking a hot shower with the turn of a knob. Observing your mind before taking a cold shower can be a valuable meditation exercise in itself. Before you take a cold shower, you’ll likely find your mind running through a laundry list of excuses in an attempt to convince you that taking a cold shower isn’t a good idea. As is the case when confronting anything scary or complex that you know worth doing, the key here is to observe the mental dialogue and then do it anyway. The resulting confidence from doing this exercise can have tremendous benefits on all aspects of your life, particularly your meditation practice.
There are several ways you can incorporate cold showers into your daily routine. If you are new to cold showers, the easiest way is to shower with hot water as usual and turn it too hard at the end. You can turn down the temperature gradually or quickly, but try to stay in for at least 60 seconds with the temperature turned down completely.
Another tactic is to get into the shower with the water off and turn the dial to the warm position. Depending on your home, the water that initially comes out of the showerhead will likely be icy. Once the water is warm, you quickly do whatever washing you need to do, and then turn the water back down to cold for a few minutes. The last and most advanced method would be to climb into the shower with the water off, start with cold water, and continue with cold water.
Increased mental clarity
To reap the maximum benefits of a cold shower, it’s best to take it immediately before sitting down to meditate. If you find yourself chilled, you can wrap yourself in a sheet or blanket, or when you sit down to start. Observing the feeling of tranquility and alertness as warmth spreads back to your arms and legs can benefit your session. In addition, you may notice yourself being less resistant to observing your mind. The regular everyday discomforts you can encounter while meditating will seem less important. And minor than the temporary discomfort of a cold shower. You will likely also notice a clarity of mind and calm energy. This will allow you to find mental stillness more quickly.
Whether you are a novice meditator or a seasoned expert, taking a cold shower before meditating can take your practice to the next level.