For anybody who thinks cold plunges are stupid—like I once did
Most days, I’m a body-based therapist in Tampa Bay. Today, though, I’ve got my business-consultant hat on. Specifically, I want to share with you how cold plunges can improve two business skills.
- Dealing with conflict
To get there, I have to tell you a couple of things about how your brain and body work first.
Some Brain-and-Body Basics
Long story short, there are two general states your body can be in:
Most of us are dealing with a “status-quo” range of energy levels as we go through our daily routines. Depending on how predictable your life is and how high-strung you might be (no judgment here!), your energy will tend to fluctuate within a range represented by these two states.
Whenever you’re faced with conflict, the status-quo energy level in your body will rise to an energetically-activated state. This is true whether you’re simply thinking about addressing the conflict, or actually taking steps to deal with the problem.
Your brain’s job is to supply you with the right amount of energy for the next moment life throws at you, whether that’s a physical confrontation or a battle of wits.
Whenever you start thinking about a conflict you need to address, your brain begins changing the chemistry of your body to prepare for that situation. If you continue avoiding the conflict, you’re either unwilling to—or unpracticed at—tolerating the discomfort of that internal energy surge.
What does that have to do with the cold plunge?
It turns out that the body responds to the prospect of a cold plunge in exactly the same way that it responds to a prospective conflict. 🤯🤯🤯
As you consider immersing yourself in the cold water, your brain starts supplying your body with the chemicals it’ll need to deal with that stressor (i.e. the cold). Here, (as always, actually) a stressor is nothing more or less than a situation causing your brain to send extra energy into your body so you can move, learn, change, or grow.
A conflict is a stressor.
A cold plunge is a stressor.
A sprint is a stressor.
Learning something new is a stressor.
When you build up the ability to willingly sit in 40-degree water every single day, you’ve also built up the ability to approach and enter stressful situations.
I don’t have to tell you that stressful situations never feel good, no matter how many times you face them.
Just like dealing with a conflict that you really don’t want to approach.
Just like that cold plunge.
These scenarios are uncomfortable every. single. time.
Think of cold plunging as a really excellent bioenergetic exercise, building your capacity to approach and enter energetically charged situations that you very much don’t want to deal with.
So! There you are. In the cold.
You’re fully submerged in an elevated-stress situation. If you stay in the water for several minutes, you’ll directly and dramatically increase your ability to tolerate high-stress scenarios.
Your energy level is rising while your brain tries to regulate your core temperature.
This is also exactly what happens when you’re in the middle of a task and another task pops into your mind. Your brain is supplying you with more energy so you can go take care of that next task.
Some of us don’t have a lot of practice staying focused as our brain adds to our energy level—which can feel very uncomfortable. If that sounds familiar, you might also relate to this pattern: Running from one task to the next, only looking back later in the day to see that you never finished the first task.
But when you practice sitting in the cold, you practice tolerating the discomfort of rising bodily energy levels without losing your focus. Sitting in the cold adds to your capacity to focus under stress. Call it a triumph of mind over matter.
You decide when you’re going to get out of the water.
Maybe you choose a point far beyond your comfort zone.
Slowly but surely, you’ll gain the ability to stay in that icy f*!king water until you’re shivering—and beyond.
Friends, that’s when you become the kind of person who can finish a task before moving on to the next thing.
That’s when you look in the mirror and see someone with enviable powers of focus.
That’s when you realize you’re the kind of business person you’ve admired for years.
But if there’s something deeper going on, this won’t work for you at all.
Maybe you don’t actually want to be doing what you’re doing.
Maybe your conscious goals aren’t what’s really motivating your behaviors.
Maybe something unexpected is secretly holding you back.
If you suspect that’s the case, contact me. Together, we’ll unwind whatever that something is.
The information contained in this post is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with your preferred healthcare professional before taking any related action.