Yet again, another influencer for ice has emerged from the depths of research: Joel Runyon. A man who is average in many ways but, one day decided to change the way he lives his life by following one simple rule: take daily cold showers. After he changed his unusual habit, he managed to subconsciously change his mental habits too. And hopefully, once you’ve read this, you’ve been convinced that it can do the same for you.
Joel Runyon is the founder of the company: Impossible X. A company that has developed multiple brands under the ‘impossible’ umbrella. He has his own ‘Impossible’ podcast where he reveals what it takes to develop mental toughness and fitness. Which is recommend if you seek athletic self-improvement. Joel Runyon began ultra-running for charity after he started taking cold showers. And has since then joined the ‘7 continents marathon club’ which you’ve guessed it, is running a marathon on every continent. Even so, he is only 1 in 5 people to have run an ULTRA marathon… on every continent (which is running for more than 50km). He managed to do this by changing one simple perspective: taking daily cold showers.
His story begins, in a meeting of an acquaintance: Nick Reese. Nick is a successful online entrepreneur who gave Joel some hope for useful advice. Joel explained to him that he had recently quit his job for a better one. One with more pay and opportunities for his future career. Joel revealed that his plan was to make enough money so he could quit and start his own business. So Nick asked, “Well, why haven’t you started your own business already?” The thing is Joel didn’t feel like he had the time, didn’t have the knowledge, and didn’t know the right people. All valid reasons he felt for not being able to start his business… yet. Joel’s problem wasn’t that he didn’t know what to do, he just simply wasn’t doing them. Nick then gave the best advice Joel could’ve gotten at that point in time.
“Take a cold shower for 30 days straight and you’ll have it all sorted out.”
– Joel Runyon
Joel discovered that what was actually stopping him from accomplishing what he wanted, was being uncomfortable in trying to accomplish what he actually wanted.
So for 30 days, he took cold showers. His first time, he instinctively put the tap to hot first. Because it was the default choice. And, in him, all these excuses started to rise about why taking a cold shower right now would be a terrible idea.
“This is not going to be fun, this is going to be really really cold, why are you doing this?”
– Joel Runyon
He did it anyway. And he did it for 30 days straight. And then he continued doing it for 2 years straight. Every time he was faced with an uncomfortable situation he would take a cold shower. When he accepted the idea of being uncomfortable, he somehow gave himself the spirit to being uncomfortable in many other situations in his life. What he realized, was that as he jumped into the cold water, his excuses for not taking a cold shower, ended up being the same exact excuses he made about not being able to start his business.
Now the reason it will work for you is that everybody takes showers. And the assumption is that at least 90% of us take warm showers. Like stated before, the default is easy and it’s what most people do. But you don’t have to. And it’s definitely not the only option. If you choose to. Like Joel’s excuses we all have things we wish to accomplish but have really valid reasons we simply shouldn’t. Joel argues that with your excuses you can really only do one of two things:
- They can convince you that you’re right. And that those excuses are legit. And they’re gonna keep you from taking a cold shower.
- Or you could choose to ignore them regardless, and you’re gonna take a cold shower.
So the advice would be to take a cold shower, and see what kind of person you could potentially become. Like Joel did and in 30 days turned his life around to become the successful ultra-athlete and entrepreneur he is today.
The science behind cold showers is quite straight-forward. Research has shown that cold showers can:
- Lower levels of depression, in some cases more effective than antidepressants.
- Strengthen your immune system by increasing white blood cells in your body.
- And it was even found that the men in the study, showed an increase in the level of testosterone production.
- But as explained in the story above, the most important gain from taking cold showers is to train yourself to step out of your comfort zone.
So how to start?
In truth, everyone has their own ways of taking showers. However, it is found that if you let your excuses take over from the start, that you will simply stop trying to test yourself. You don’t have to start right now if you don’t want to, but the choice is always yours. But if you are unsure of whether you can succeed in this new task, here are some tips:
- Don’t rush into your first cold shower. Take the time to train yourself. And simply start by alternating the heat from warm to slightly colder.
- Measure to see where your limits lie. Once you’ve found your optimal cold-spot, try to push it a tiny bit the next day. Keep a marking on where you left off the shower before and then increase the limit (or decrease in this case).
- Play with the heat. If you find yourself to have difficulties beginning, try making a game out of it at first. Go from warm to cold, to warm and back (always make sure you do this consistently).
This simple answer. Is just do it. Commit yourself to the uncomfortable situation. And plan do so consistently. The mental effects don’t take place immediately, that’s the hard part. It takes hundreds of cold showers to get over the initial anxiety, but the same can be said for anything else in life. If you commit to a 30 days shower schedule, you set yourself up for the ultimate litmus test. And if it isn’t for you or it isn’t working, well that’s fair enough. At least you gave it a try. But if try it, and it changes your life… well, then what do you really have to lose? Make this your ultimate litmus test, prove to yourself that you can be superhuman if you wanted to. The reality of it all is we can all be. Not necessarily a Wim Hof, Iceman-superhuman. But your own kind. Challenge yourself to your own anxieties and step out of the comfort zone we all admittedly live in. Take 30 days and maybe you’ll see. Like Joel said,