I’ve stepped up the training this week and made my long-awaited return to the gym. It’s always the same in that the hardest thing is getting packed up and physically getting there!
Following the session, it’s off to the changing rooms for a sauna and then the customary cold shower. This is no ordinary cold shower, it is by far the most brutal man-made hydrotherapy experience bar-none, I’ve no idea how they get it so freezing cold!
It’s also a great subject for business and development analogies.
As you near the end of the sauna, thoughts begin to meander towards the idea of the shower. The imagination paints an unpleasant and uncomfortable picture of what it might be like. The thoughts develop physical sensations of agitation and even anxiety at what lies ahead. The body sends messages back to the brain that maybe this isn’t such a good idea, maybe put it off for today; maybe it’s too much trouble?
“I’ll just do 30 seconds rather than the minute I’d planned.” (self-limiting)
“I could just skip it and have a normal shower, that will be much nicer and who cares anyway?” (justification)
“I’ll do it tomorrow for twice as long, it’ll be better then.” (procrastination)
Suddenly I’m sat in the sauna and I’m really not having any fun. I can actually feel the anxiety and nervousness I experienced as I type this! The mind is an incredible tool, but can be disabling if we allow it to run riot (and this is a test case, a trivial matter)!
Having taken a deep breath and gotten my **** together I headed off to the shower quickly. As I’m sure you know it’s really not a good tactic to submerge a bit at a time. It’s definitely a case of all or nothing, get in there and get soaked FAST!
The shock and further acclimatisation are intense but generally fleeting. After having the wind taken out of your sail things begin to calm down as you start to breath and regain control of the situation. You may even start to enjoy it and feel exhilarated by the process! (feeling the fear, pushing through)
When time is up, returning to an ordinary shower is a moment of bliss. Proud and content with the accomplishment, physical senses are stimulated and lit up like a Christmas tree as the adrenaline surges. (accomplishment)
The mind reflects on the experience as difficult, but ultimately enjoyable and rewarding. Critically, thoughts move to tomorrow:
“That was actually okay; I could have gone longer, let’s do more tomorrow!” (growth)
Taking cold showers everyday promotes fat loss, improves immunity and circulation, increases emotional resistance, lowers stress and the chances of depression.
Finally, it provides an uncanny opportunity to dress rehearse that big rock or challenge you may be facing in your business. If you’re sat in the sauna contemplating the problem, be aware that you can’t sit there forever – or you’ll burn. The question is when you finally step out will you rush headlong for the cold shower experience (opportunity) or choose the luxurious hot, soapy lavation? (comfort zone)
Does anyone else practice the cold shower mantra? Does it do the business for you?