Last year I went through some pretty severe bouts of anxiety. While searching for non-pharmaceutical remedies, I discovered cold showers!
Of course, I was not the first to discover this painfully torturous way of cleaning myself, but I heard about the benefits of cold showers from Wim Hof. He was on a Joe Rogan podcast last year, they talked about the benefits of cold exposure, and Wim Hof breathing.
After hearing about how Wim Hof can trek up freezing cold mountains with almost nothing on but a loin cloth (slight exaggeration), I decided I should try it myself.
What really turned me on to this daily torture was the purported benefits to the nervous system. Apparently taking cold showers, or immersing yourself in cold water, is supposed to help your body deal with stress. Additionally, it has host of desirable benefits. For example, since I started taking cold showers my hair is much softer and appears more full. My skin does not dry out like it used it, I am more tolerant of cold weather, and I tend not to sweat as much (unless the workout is hard).
However, my favorite aspects of cold showers are the mental ones. Having to take a cold shower everyday pushes you mentally. You are forced to develop the discipline to soak your entire body with cold water even though you would rather not. This is good for developing resilience to basic physical discomforts. In today’s environments we are extremely comfortable and it is beneficial to develop a wider range of acceptable discomforts.
Since I have been taking cold showers daily for over a year, I can say it did not cure me of anxiety in the long-term – that was sleep and occupational change. However, the short-term cognitive effects were clear. After each cold shower I feel more cognitively alert, my mind is focused and my thinking clear, there is also less anxiety for the moment. Seriously, if you are feeling anxious and tired, take a cold shower and it should help in the short-term( a couple hours tops). Once you start taking cold showers you will probably become addicted, at least I have.
So if you are looking to get every edge out of your performance, and are up for new experiences, give cold showers a try.