A long day at work can leave you stressed out and tired. You just want to relax and unwind. Probably the last thing on your mind is to take an ice-cold bath. Taking an ice-cold bath on a weekly basis, however, is well worth the effort getting used to. Scientific studies indicate that cold water immersion offers quite a few short and long term health benefits. Not only can you improve how you function physically, but you can also improve how you function mentally.
If you struggle with low energy levels in the morning, immersing your body in cold water could be the key in keeping you mentally alert throughout your work day. Cold water forces the heart to pump blood more efficiently through the arteries which supplies your entire body with the right amount of nutrients it needs. The body’s shock response from cold exposure also increases your oxygen intake. Increased blood circulation combined with increased oxygen intake increases your mental alertness since both are needed for healthy brain function.
Certain chemical signals released in the brain are linked with the regulation of emotions. But sometimes, the way in which these chemical signals are released changes. People suffering from depression can no longer function normally emotionally as they once did. As a result, they may struggle carrying out daily tasks due to ongoing feelings of sadness and a lack of concentration; and, their desire to achieve goals and to do things that they once enjoyed become less important over time.
Cold water immersion seems to be directly responsible for improving mood. As soon as the
body experiences a drop in its temperature, the skin’s cold receptors kick into high gear as a flood of electrical impulses are sent from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain. This action aids in the release of the adrenal hormone norepinephrine as well as dopamine that can naturally help lift a depressed person’s low spirits.
To put these statements in simpler terms, cold water “wakes up” the senses as the body tries to adjust and adapt to the exposure of an extreme temperature change. Taking cold baths or showers on a frequent basis can help treat depression symptoms as effectively as prescription antidepressants but without harmful side effects. Interestingly, the stimulation of the facial nerve appears to play a key role in mood improvement among depression sufferers who do not respond well to other anti-depression treatments. Another great benefit of bathing in cold water is that it can effectively reduce the mental distress caused by the physical pain associated with depression.
The pressure to excel in performance and put in longer hours has increased job-related stress among many adult Americans. It appears that job stress is the main contributor for higher rates of stroke, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, heart attack and other health issues. Additionally, the volume of an individual’s workload coupled with their personal capability and level of control over work demands will significantly affect how he or she handles stress overall.
If you feel overwhelmed by your work duties, it’s sensible to take proactive measures to counteract your stress levels before it causes chronic issues to develop in your daily life. Exposure to the cold in general gives your body a higher tolerance to stress. Even splashing cold water on your face will trigger a calming response from your brain whenever you sense you are getting close to going over the edge.
Promotes Sense of Well-Being
Cold water stimulates the part of the brain that signals pleasure and a sense of well-being. This benefit of cold water immersion can help you stay motivated to achieve work goals more efficiently. When you feel good about yourself, it reflects in your performance and your interaction with others. Having a more positive frame of mind can also help you tackle exceptionally challenging work tasks that require good problem-solving skills.
Cold water immersion can enhance your mental performance, blood circulation, and energy levels to help you live a more positive, productive life. Instead of sliding into an ice cold bath right away, you could work at your weekly cold water immersion regimen gradually. If you prefer to take a cold shower, lower the water temperature until it reaches 68 degrees Fahrenheit and stand under the stream for two to three minutes. Be mindful that lowering water temperature below 61 degrees may cause hypothermia and/or other adverse effects if you have certain health conditions.