In today’s world we find our brains and bodies experiencing a state of distress, we feel poorly and our bodies function at very low levels compared to their actual capabilities. These habituated stress signals create imbalance in the body. We can bring the body back into balance by breaking down the signals and reconditioning the autonomic nervous system through hormetic practices like cold exposure. This is when cold bathing comes to save the day, connecting us more deeply to ourselves while alleviating the stress symptoms of everyday life and helping us create long lasting healthy habits.
Connection is a key ingredient to a healthy life, and one of the most important connection is the one you have to yourself, your thoughts, feelings and actions. When you are in the ice bath, the only thing you have is to connect with yourself in order to make it through the hormetic stress being placed on the body. As you enter the ice bath, the brain reacts alerting the body with a sensation (pain/discomfort) and a small momentary conversation must be had with yourself to overcome the brains reaction and decide to stay in the cold. The inner conversation to override the pain, endure and continue is a kind of meditation. The more you practice the skill of bringing awareness of and control over the inner dialogue, overcoming the brain’s alert signals, the easier it becomes. The body is then able to make positive healthy adaptations, as well as build confidence in its ability to overcome and manage stress. Ice bathing begins to feel invigorating as the brain’s mastery to stay present and control the breathe builds over time. Your attention, confidence, and health will all benefit from this hormetic practice. Training your body and brain with ice bathing will influence the rest of your life. The whole ice bathing practice creates a real honesty with yourself that cannot be replicated and is a key to developing fortitude and practicing self love.
When our chemistry is in a state of balance we live happily and healthily, feeling better connected to ourselves and our relationships. So, start your simple solution to feeling better with one of nature’s strongest remedies- the cold..
By Joby Stanford