Stoic Challenge - Day 1

Cold showers suck, which is why I tend to avoid them. A great comfort of modern living is sleepily walking into my bathroom and reaching in to crank the hot water handle. Wait however long it takes for the temperature to go from warm to scalding, and then step in to luxuriate under the blistering hot cascade of H20. This is part of the reason why I stepped into my shower this morning without the water running.

I spent a minute admitting to myself that cold showers do indeed, suck. Then I spent another minute debating if I really wanted to turn the cold handle firmly to the maximum setting. Then I performed a few rounds of deep breathing, and finally, after a forceful exhale, I cranked that handle.




Yeah, that was a miserable experience. I’ve done cold showers before, but always after a hot shower to take off the edge. This morning I was reduced to red-skinned, shivering, and chattering mess within thirty seconds. Two minutes later, after hopping from foot to foot, and slapping myself a few times as encouragement to continue I shut off the water.

Incredible cold results in what I can best describe as a searing sense of precision. Your mind is forced to process the overwhelming freezing sensations traversing your skin. I like to think of it as several thousand incredibly tiny ice-monkeys striking me with icepicks. Fortunately, after a few minutes of toweling off I felt great. Since I plan to do this routine every morning for the next 21 days, I need to remind myself how good I felt after my intentional adventure into the cold.

That is the other part of the reason - intentionally making myself uncomfortable. Overcoming a relatively small misery early in the day provides a recent win that I can easily recall during the course of my day if I encounter some other misery.