BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

I Can’t Take Cold Showers

In my search for self-improvement, I keep coming across the same piece of advice:

Take cold showers. (Also here, here and here.)

Apparently, this daily jolt offers both physical and emotional benefits, bringing your physiological system to life while also toughening you up.

And as I’ve found out, I need to toughen up.

A few months ago my water heater broke. And by the time we got the plumber out, and the initial repair didn’t hold, and a new unit was ordered, and that new unit was finally installed, I had endured about three weeks of icy showers.

It was miserable.

Actually, that’s not true. The showers themselves weren’t horrible. After the first 15–20 seconds, your body adjusts to the temperature, and the experience gets downgraded from “Terror” to “Tolerable.”

What was miserable, though, was the anticipation.

Periodically throughout my day, I’d randomly be reminded of my shower reality, and that dread you get knowing you’re going to have to do something you don’t want to do would flash from my head to toes.

Something I used to look forward to — who doesn’t enjoy a hot shower? — was now a source of stress.

Looking back, the good news is that, despite that apprehension, my bathing habits didn’t slack. I was able to get under that water each morning.

So I know I can do it.

But now that I have the choice, I can’t summon that same determination.

Every morning I stand outside the shower. And every morning, I can’t stop from turning the dial to hot.

I rationalize by telling myself that the benefits are negligible, or that I’ve already punished myself enough by getting up early to exercise.

But this idea of taking cold showers keeps showing up on my radar, which tells me it’s a message I need to listen to.

Yet in that moment, at that fork in the road, there’s nothing I want to do less.

Which, if I were to take my own advice, is why I need to do it.

*****

This originally appeared on 100 Naked Words.

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