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The simple thing you can do that will drastically change how you approach struggle

7 October 2016 | Post A Comment

After several years of battling mental illness I have developed a need to challenge myself and I'm obsessed with proving to myself that I can do things. I also get urges to do extreme things and get a thrill out of allowing myself to feel out of control and using my mental strength to get through it. Sometimes this can be positive and gives me the strength to do something I have to do or will get me through a difficult situation I can't avoid but sometimes it isn't helpful and I've ended up doing stupid or dangerous things. My favourite way at the moment to deal with these feelings is to get a spontaneous piercing. I have a fear of needles and hate having them but theres little chance of death and no one hates me for doing it so it seems to fit the bill even though I am starting to run out of space on my ears... I need something I can do that releases the self destructive urges and challenges me without being too stupid or dangerous. A cold shower doesn't solve all my problems and it won't solve all yours but it puts me in a position of discomfort and pain where I can use my mental strength to get through and I think it could really help you too.

Do you sometimes need a reminder that you are strong, brave and can get through struggle? There are definitely some real benefits of doing a cold shower challenge that everyone could get something out of it. I've found this is something that you can do on a morning that cements these positive affirmations that we try to force on our selves with real evidence. Maybe if you can prove you can stand through a freezing cold shower for a couple of minutes without getting out, maybe you could do that thing you've been scared of doing, maybe you can fight some of your own self doubt. Before you think I am completely crazy let me explain and then feel free to think what you want.

The thought of a freezing cold shower on a morning is a pretty painful idea, it's not something you want to do and it takes a significant amount of courage and positive energy to get through. Imagine starting the day by successfully doing something you think is too difficult and discovering it's not as bad as you expected. Now imagine how much easier it would be to apply this thinking to real life situations in your day knowing that you have already proved to yourself that you are resilient, determined and strong. It is a safe way to actively change the way we approach uncomfortable or difficult situations.

The temperature and the duration of the shower could be the same but the thoughts beforehand can change the entire experience, "I don't want to do this, this is going to be horrific, I'm going to freeze to death!" Vs "I can do this, this is going to be invigorating, I'm excited to see how far I can push myself!". Once you can see how much difference your mindset can make to the outcome it suddenly becomes something you can apply to difficult real life situations.

It turns out a cold shower in itself is actually pretty good for your body too. If you need more persuasion check out these scientifically proven benefits of having a cold shower in the morning-
  • Stimulates weight loss
  • Improves immunity and circulation
  • Boosts fertility
  • Can aid recovery for depression
  • Boosts recovery after exercise 
  • Improves hair and skin
  • Reduces stress
  • Increases alertness
  • Wakes you up
  • Helps you sleep better
Now I'm pretty sure that you're the crazy one now if you don't try it! Do you think this technique could be helpful to you? Please try it and tell me about your experience, I would be so interested to hear if it also works for you.

"Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery and I promise you something great will come of it" -Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo


  1. This sounds like it'd be a bit of a shock in the morning, but I do get what you mean about pushing yourself! I always have the shower a bit cooler in summer anyway, so I might try this :) xx


  2. I have never heard of this before but I think I am definitely going to try it. I am having problems waking up lately, and staying away, so this may just what I need.

  3. I'm not sure I'd try this but I like the idea of pushing yourself and being more positive!! :)

  4. I can only agree with this. Once I've started showering cold, I also noticed- as someone who tends to sweat easily (and I'm average)- I don't actually sweat that much in the summer anymore although the change in the weather can be extreme here (Germany's got weird weather at the moment). So that's really good to me!

    hannie ;

  5. Very thought provoking and so true! I often talk to friends of a time when I pushed myself to go way outside my comfort zone and the experience terrified me, but was so incredibly releasing and empowering when I actually did it! This experience was 8 years ago but is still a pivotal moment in my life. My challenge to myself is to create more of these moments and I love the idea of taking everyday situations to build resilience in this way, rather than necessarily taking on huge scary and ambitious challenges. I will definitely be applying this to my everyday life and you can keep me accountable! Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Thank you Jon, it's amazing how one difficult experience can completely alter how you experience everything else. So pleased to hear you'll be taking this approach to everyday life, I will definitely keep you accountable and be asking you if you've done the cold shower! I'd be interested to know if you think of any other accessible ways others can push themselves on a day to day basis. Hope to see you soon x