Even though this platform is all about improving our mental well-being through various psychological techniques and philosophical ways of thinking, there are some physical practices that are extremely beneficial to improving our moods and our minds. I’m not talking about diet and fitness. There are various resources out there that cover those. I’m talking about one very simple, albeit a bit challenging practice, which is cold exposure.
Cold therapy, as it’s often referred to, is extremely beneficial to health and well-being. We know that leaning into challenge and hormesis (exposure to good stressors) promotes neuroplasticity, growth, and the release of brain chemicals that have positive effects on the body. And leaning into the cold is one example.
Simply immersing your body in cold water for a few minutes a day, like taking a cold shower, has profound effects on the brain and body, and ultimately, on our minds. The cold exposure causes the release of adrenaline and dopamine, which gives us that sense of motivation and accomplishment. Particularly after the exposure. The dopamine release can last for a few hours! It also promotes fat burning, as well as an increase in metabolism.
Cold exposure is also thought to improve our hair and our skin, provide a boost in testosterone, speed up muscle recovery, improve focus and alertness. In addition, in an acute setting, cold exposure boosts the immune system as a result of the activation of the stress response. It also helps to improve circulation, as well as reduce pain and improve pain tolerance. Now, that being said, anyone who is interested in cold exposure should consult with their doctor or medical professional because it could potentially have harmful or negative effects with certain people with various health conditions.
So the next time you’re in the shower, crank the temperature way down and just immerse yourself for a few seconds in the chilling water. Gradually work your way up to a few minutes. Or, if you have access to one, plunge yourself into a cold bath or even ice bath. Again, make sure you do it safely and make sure you consult with your medical professional first. This simple, no cost practice, can have positive effects on your body and your well-being!
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