The cold is your teacher

Imagine it’s a freezing day, and the water is ice cold. You decide to be brave and jump in. At first, you might panic. When you sit in ice cold water, your brain is saying “We’re dying, we’re trapped in ice”.

It’s the same when you try to hold your breath or go on a fast. People quit because the sensations are unusual. The signals you are getting are danger signals.

An ice bath has more negative psychological stigma than almost anything we do. We fear it deep down in our DNA. All of us have heard our mum say: “Don’t catch a cold, put your socks on, make sure you have your jacket.” This programming is reinforcing the DNA stuff thats already deep inside all of us.

Not today though! Try to stay calm. Your job is not to simply endure the sensation, but to let go and feel it. You are overriding the hallucination that you can’t do it.

“Stop trying to control everything and just let go.”

Tyler Durden (Fight Club)

If you have someone talking you through it explaining to you the sensations, then you can actually feel at ease in the ice bath. When you get used to the cold, just feel it without forcing yourself. When you’re ready, step out and let your body warm up naturally.

The truth is that your body will work hard to protect itself, and amazing things will happen inside you. The most obvious sensation is that you feel awake and focused on the now.

But what is the body actually doing?

When you first feel the cold, your body will make the veins and arteries smaller so that blood moves from your arms and legs to your core. This keeps your most important organs safe and warm. These changes also train your cardiovascular system to become more resilient.

Facing the cold improves your mood and can help reduce pain and inflammation. But most importantly it teaches us to handle stress and tough times better. You can learn how to override your brain.

The cold is a great teacher that helps us to become more resilient and live life with courage.

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