Cold showers have been a hot topic since Wim Hof hit the scene; running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle in bare feet and climbing mount Kilimanjaro in his shorts. Training your mind can be a powerful thing to overcome many obstacles in life and cold showers are a small thing you can do in that direction. There are many benefits that dedicated cold shower takers often talk about and they are all relevant things to the majority of us.

Reduced Stress Levels

Taking cold showers induces a process called hardening. Each time you take a cold shower your body is a victim to stress. By consistently taking cold showers your nervous system gets more and more used to it and soon enough that stress will reverse.

Immune Boosting

Scientific studies have shown that taking cold showers increases the number of white blood cells your body produces. You can take all the immunity-boosting herbs in the world but at the very source of your body defence of sickness is your white blood cells.

Increased Will Power

Now, this is what I would argue is the most important benefit and most relatable to our daily lives. Walk up to your shower in the morning and commit to having a cold shower. Get undressed and have the cold water running. Just before you step inside, notice how your breathing has changed, your body is tense and your mind is trying to justify the fear. We completely forget it’s just a cold shower. We are anxious about something that has not occurred yet, something that we know won’t kill us and something that barely hurts us. Whoosh. Okay, you’re in. The discomfort and shock are certainly there but it only lasts for the first few seconds and then your body gets used to it. After a while, you may even enjoy it.

Okay, so how does this have anything to do with life? The most important thing to understand is it’s not about the cold shower. It never was. It is about developing a habit of doing something hard and gaining a new perspective on things. When other challenges in life inevitability arise you will be more equipped to deal with them. Even imagine something as simple as your hot water busts and you’re forced to take cold showers for a week. By this stage, your perspective on them will have changed and you will no longer view it as pain but as a challenge that is easily overcome.

All cold showers really are is a humble vehicle that almost everyone has access to, that can increase our resilience as human beings and put life’s challenges into perspective. Try for a week and see how you feel, then increase to a month and so on. The most important thing, however, is to not be hard on yourself, warm showers aren’t evil, cold showers are just an alternative with some benefits attached.

This article was written by freelance writer, Lachlan Cornell