Cold Shower Bandwagon

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Motivational speakers convince thousands to take cold showers every year. Many articles speak to the mental health and physical benefits of cold showers. Studies even support how cold showers help participants feel more energetic and ward off severe illness symptoms.

But how cold is cold?

Didn’t Know

A highly experienced health coach told me to start taking cold showers to strengthen my muscles. I had heard similar comments since high school but always wondered how cold the showers needed to be. So, I asked.

The coach looked at me in wonderment. No one had ever asked her that question before. Nor did the coach have any idea what the answer was.

The coach admitted that all of her clients just started taking cold showers. No one had ever questioned it. She then suggested I just turn the knob all the way to cold and shower.

Nooooo!

Water temperatures are very different in every location. The temperature of cold water in Phoenix is nowhere near Chicago’s temperature.

Calculating Cold Water

Groundwater is different from lake water. The location of the groundwater determines its temperature. Here is a formula for well water to determine the temperature of the water in your shower.

In wells that are 30-60 feet deep, the water temperature is 2-3° above the annual mean temperature of that location. Deeper wells are colder and more shallow wells warmer.

Where I live, the well water is 44°F (6.7°C). But, our area uses Lake Michigan water which is 33°F (0.5°C). Either way, no one in their right mind is going to take a cold shower with the lever turned all the way to the cold. Those who attempt it are playing games with hypothermia.

The Right Temperature

Selecting the correct temperature results in our bodies becoming more resistant to stress. We see an increase in endorphins that can help prevent many diseases. The mental benefits of hydrotherapy include reducing depression.

The cold water temperature used by those in the medical community is often 70°F (21°C).

This temperature increases metabolism, improves circulation, and fights common illnesses. I found many documents and studies giving testimony to these benefits. The better news is that you only need to take a cold shower 2-3 days a week for 2-5 minutes to gain the benefits.

Your Responsibility

I talked with several people who try to gain benefits from cold showers. Every one of them took showers that were colder than necessary. They described how they would shake and moan through the process, knowing the benefits would make the daily experience valuable to them.

While 70°F (21°C) feels very cold, it’s far better than the 33°F (0.5°C) water that some foolishly take because they never asked how cold is cold enough.

When we consider new experiences, crowds of people will push their plausible solutions on us with vigor. We saw this happen with the experimental COVID vaccinations. Many forgot that the drugs were experimental with no documented significant human outcomes prior to the rollout.

Regardless of the pressure from others, consider how cold your water is compared to theirs. If they live in Texas and are not making sure their water is at 70°F (21°C), they may be taking a warmer shower compared to the 33°F (0.5°C) shower a person in Chicago might experience.

Respect Our Differences

We all face different circumstances with different perspectives. No one understands what others face without a fully open conversation. Unfortunately, most people that pressure others to consider their solution rarely listen to learn if the other person’s circumstances match ours.

We need to respect the thinking process of others. We also need to give them the respect to make their own best decision. After all, it’s their life.

Each person has the right to take a warm or cold shower when given the opportunity.

So, if you’re game, try taking a 70°F (21°C) shower and see if you feel great about the results. But avoid accidentally taking a 33°F (0.5°C) shower, or you might think the cold shower recommendation is only for the insane.

By the way, as a gauge, if you stick your wrist in the shower and it feels very warm, but not too hot, it’s probably about 105°F (40°C).

Let me know how your cold shower goes.

Copyright © 2022 by CJ Powers

4 Steps to Creating Healthy Habits

We use habits every day to get us through the things we face at work and home. Some habits like emptying the dishwasher keep our surroundings clean and healthy. Other habits are designed to reduce the amount of time we spend on essential activities and chores.

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Our life habits help us advance toward our goals, or they are a deterrent. To help us move forward, we need to put new habits in place that help us succeed. Here are four steps to creating healthy habits for life.

1. DESIGN A VISUAL TRIGGER

Our memory kicks in every time we see a reminder. These reminders don’t have to be notes, but can be symbols or items that trigger us to engage a certain habit. For instance, if I want to capture my first thoughts each morning, having a notebook prominently placed on my nightstand with a pen can trigger my new habit.

2. PRE-THINK YOUR RESPONSE

When we face a new habit, we tend to think, “I guess I have to do this stupid thing,” or, “This new habit makes the attainment of my goal much easier.” We know a thought will pop into our head when we see the notebook on the nightstand. It’s our choice to predetermine if we will see it as a good thing or a bad thing. Make sure you know that it’s a good thing before you go to sleep the night before.

3. REHEARSE YOUR REWARD

Remind yourself of your goal and what success will feel like as you position the notebook on your nightstand. Rehearsing the reward that you’ll receive after successfully capturing your morning thoughts solidifies the development of your new habit. Your feelings will make building the habit easier each day.

4. BE CONSISTENT

Consistency is critical to building new habits. If you miss or have to skip a day, get back to it the next day. We all have schedule interruptions that can derail new habits, but managing a consistent pattern will lock in your new goal-producing tool. It takes a single step each day over a long period of time to lock in your goal-achieving habit.

Building a new habit starts today, not tomorrow. Select one habit and focus on it for three months before picking a second habit. Most importantly, make sure you won the habit and you really want to put it in place. No on succeeds at putting someone else’s habit in place.

What type of new habit will help you attain your goals?

Copyright © 2022 by CJ Powers

A Journey to Change

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We all talk about living out our journey, but do we know what that means? Or, do we walk a journey that doesn’t have a defined end? Maybe we walk through that journey directionless and without purpose.

Can wandering define a journey?

I don’t think so.

A journey is defined as traveling from one place to another. We can certainly speak about an intangible journey, like a spiritual one. But a real journey must have a starting point and a place to land. A spiritual journey lands with a stronger relationship with God or significant spiritual growth in our life.

Obstacles Along the Way

Everyone on a journey encounters obstacles. Those obstacles can be both internal and external. The external blockades are often systemic of an internal battle within our soul.

I was recently in a person’s living room who had emotional ties to the objects in the room. This tie was an obstacle to the person growing and becoming successful.

The collected items were so numerous that I couldn’t find the couch to sit down on. Across the room where the TV was located, there were three 7’ walls of boxes between me and the buried digital equipment.

Instead of enjoying the comfortable couch and the large screen HGTV, the person sat in an upright dining room chair watching TV on their smartphone. The person was frustrated in their attempts to watch a show but not frustrated enough to get rid of the hoarded items.

The thing stopping this person’s progress is an internal belief system. They believe something about the items that once made them feel good. But today, they are frustrated and overwhelmed because keeping those items no longer serves them.

Unfortunately, no one can suggest that some items should be donated, sold, or trashed without detrimental ramifications. It is less painful for this person to live in a part of their home than letting go of the once-cherished items.

To help you get past your obstacles, whatever they might be, I’ll share the healthy steps I took that ensured my last journey was of value.

Select Your Single Focus

When we go on a journey, it’s essential to determine a single focus, so we aren’t overwhelmed when moving forward. This is especially true since moving forward means change—something few people enjoy.

Select one key point of growth to work on. Two won’t work. Depending on the internal and external obstacles you might face, more than one point of focus can hinder you from creating new healthy habits that support your journey.

Once you’ve selected your point of focus, determine what a 1% daily gain will look like. Yes, we’re only talking about 1%. Why? Because it is so simple to accomplish, you are guaranteed to succeed.

A few years ago, Forbes published an article about the science behind adopting habits. The report stated that there are only two reasons people fail to adopt new habits.

  • They don’t understand how to leverage the structure of habits (Trigger, Action, Reward)
  • They set themselves up for failure by doing too much too soon.

Start Small/Start Simple

The key to developing a habit is to start small. You start by doing one push-up per day instead of saying you want to do 50 push-ups a day. This allows you to become consistent and make the activity a natural part of your life.

After a couple of weeks, you can get it up to two push-ups per day. You will get to 50 push-ups per day. However, if you start with 50 push-ups per day, you’ll fail and not build the habit.

Examine Your Beliefs

Ask yourself questions to understand your beliefs.

  • What do you believe about this area of focus?
  • What do you believe about yourself in this area?
  • Why do you want to grow in this area of life?

Once you understand yourself better, determine the simplest next step you can take to move in the direction of your focus.

Seek Counsel for Knowledge and Accountability

The best counsel will come from someone who knows your heart and the direction of your life. This might include your God, spouse, and mentor. Make sure they help keep you focused on the promise you’ve made to yourself.

This is not a session filled with judgment. The goal is to have someone come alongside you that wants to see you succeed in your goals. This person might be able to inspire or motivate you to push through when things get tough.

You might even consider becoming an accountability partner with a like-minded person with similar goals. They would certainly understand the obstacles you face and empathize with you. But they will also know how important your goal is and encourage you forward despite those difficult moments we all face.

Let Go of Old Beliefs

Be honest with yourself. The old beliefs you hold to are most likely no longer serving your best interests. It’s time to face change and embrace new beliefs that will help you shine.

One day, I offered a neighborhood kid a piece of chocolate. He wouldn’t take it because he had shiny stones in his hand that he thought looked cool. He wasn’t willing to put the stones down to accept the chocolate.

I ate the chocolate as I watched him walk toward his house. He went inside, so I headed home. I heard the neighbor’s door bang open a few seconds later, and I turned around. The mother stepped outside and tossed the stones into the driveway. I saw the kid staring at me from the dining room window with tears in his eyes.

No matter what we’re handed, we can’t receive it until we let go of what does not serve our interests.

Practice New Habits for 60-Days

The key to building habits is consistency. Scientists have found that if you miss one day, your chances of building the habit drop a few percentage points. However, if you miss two days, your chances drop significantly. Missing three days is typically beyond repair.

Make sure your new habit building is super simple with little effort required. After it’s a habit, you can look for daily 1% increases. But do not do more than the trivial when creating the consistent habit; you want to be made permanent.

Let me know in the comments below what simple new habit you’ll start this week.

©2022 by CJ Powers