Habits are the key to success. Whatever it is we want to succeed at (more vitality, better relationships, our sacred livelihood), often means we are letting go of an old habit and replacing it with a more positive habit that supports fulfillment. Fulfillment VS. Pleasure is another conversation, however the common denominator being that you are seeking lasting progress, inner peace, and higher performance over the fleeting pleasures that do not always align to a higher purpose and often inhibit growth. It is these fleeting pleasures and comforts that will try to hijack the new habit for success we are instilling. And to inhibit growth is counter to life. We are here to grow and evolve.
It is human to want to grow and make an impact. If you are reading this, you are probably interested in becoming a better person and seeing what you are capable of. Even though success may look different for each person, our brains and nervous system are cut from the same evolutionary thread and work very similarly. For example, every time you overcome a difficulty, your nervous system has a built in ability to wire and fire such that it is more willing to unfurl itself from protective mechanisms that inhibit our abilities, and instead release untapped potential, allowing you to think, speak, and perform at a higher level for whatever the next challenge that shows up is.
Cold water plunges require our thoughts and body to face fear and discomfort, the very things that keep us in the safety zone of the status quo. With practice and conscientiousness, we become graceful, confident, and flowing where we were once paralyzed, fearful, and unwilling. You see, it does not actually matter what the challenge is, it this the experience of overcoming your negative thoughts of can't do and won't do that sharpen and hone the appropriate tools inherent within you for overcoming difficulty. What was once difficult, uncomfortable and inconceivable is now your baseline-thanks to adaptability. At this point you are called forth to face more discomfort. Luckily, cold water will always be cold and uncomfortable, thus great training ground for mastering the mind and the body.
I encourage you to do this: Think of the life you want to live and the challenges you will have to overcome. Go to a river in the spring, fall or winter and choose to go in for the sake of the life you want to live. Saying yes is the hardest part, once you've said yes, you only have one choice, go in! Now focus on deep breathing, try to stay calm and keep your mind clear. Eventually, lengthen the time you are in, commit yourself to more calmness and better recovery time.
Let me know how it goes.
Purpose, performance, physiology.