There’s nothing like a warm shower when we want to relax or even warm up on a cold winter day. The idea of subjecting ourselves to cold showers can actually seem crazy at times given how luxurious it has become to enjoy hot showers. But the truth is a cold shower can provide a lot of benefits that you may want to consider.
I’ve had many cold showers in my day, almost all by choice. It all started when I was a kid and felt that the cold had a potential to heal certain things. Although I lived in Toronto, Canada, and we had cold winters, I almost never wore a winter coat from the age of 16 up until now (I’m 30). I’ve just always felt strongly about the power of the cold and what it can do for mental strength and increasing your mind body connection on a spiritual level.
Former Navy SEAL Clint Emerson, author of “100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation,” explains why it can be healthy for you to end a shower with cold water.
Here are 5 great reasons to have cold showers regularly.
1. Improves Immunity & Circulation
Running cold water over your body at the end of a shower can improve circulation as blood is sent throughout your arteries to surround your organs. It can be viewed in the same way we run certain systems at high performance every so often to keep it maintained and well oiled. Increased blood flow can also help certain skin and heart issues as well as lower blood pressure, help clear blocked arteries and improve our immune system.
2. Improves Hair and Skin Condition
Hot water can dry out your skin and hair. Of course, it doesn’t help that there are high levels of chlorine coming out of our showers which has a drying-out effect on skin and hair as well. If you can run your shower colder or finish cold at the end, it’s a natural way to keep your skin and hair from drying out as cold water tightens cuticles and pores. This helps to prevent natural oils on the scalp and skin to be stripped away so easily. By keeping a proper oil balance you will have soft, shiny natural looking hair. This also helps to keep the skin and scalp cleaner as well.
3. Increase Alertness
Have you ever woken up early in the morning and felt tired hopping in the shower and as you feel the warm water running over your body you want to jump right back into bed? This is where cold showers can come in handy. As cold water hits your neck it causes you to do that almost slightly shocked deep breath. This increases oxygen intake and also gets the heart rate up which pumps blood through the body faster giving the body a nice natural surge of energy.
4. Eases Stress & Depression
Cold showers have also been shown to help decrease stress levels. One study found that exposure to cold helped decrease uric acid levels and increase glutathione, an antioxidant considered to be one of the most important for a healthy body. The participants swam regularly in ice-cold water during the winter months and it was found that they adapted to repeated oxidative stress.
Another study found that cold hydrotherapy (i.e. cold showers) helped to improve moods and had an anti-depressive effect with no bad side effects or creation of dependency. Subjects were tested with one to two cold showers at 38 degrees Fahrenheit that were two to three minutes long. These were followed by a five-minute gradual adaptation to make the procedure less shocking.
5. Speeds Up Muscle Soreness and Recovery
A study conducted in 2009 found that people who rested or immersed themselves in cold water after their exercise saw a decrease in onset muscle soreness caused by resistance training, cycling or running. It was found that a 24 minute bath in water with temperatures around 10 – 15 degrees celsius (50F – 59F) was most effective. Taking a cold shower after your workouts would still have a positive effect on muscle soreness as well. The longer you go the greater the benefit. Research also believe that alternating hot and cold at the end of a shower after a workout may help reduce pain and speed recovery by decreasing blood lactate concentration.
So how do you do it? Well you turn on the water cold and hop in.. sort of. There’s actually some differing ideas on exactly how to take a cold shower and one of the ways that I’ve used most is listed below from blog.iamgary.com.
- Turn the water on, set to cold. Some people will tell you to start warm and decrease the temperature slowly each time you shower, then start a little colder each day. Yes, that method will eventually result in taking a cold shower but you’re going to miss out on the heart-pounding exhilaration that you only experience fully the first couple times you take a cold shower. It doesn’t have to be ice cold, just cold.
- Feet first. Your feet will adjust to the temperature fastest so get them under the spray and work your lower body under the water as quickly as you can. By the time the water is splashing your stomach you’ll be looking for a distraction so…
- Hands second. Get your hands and arms wet, then splash water over your torso. By now your legs and front should be thoroughly wet.
- Head under! You’re going to be be breathing heavily and involuntarily so be careful not to inhale any water through your nose or mouth. You’re going to feel alright, like hey I can do this, but you’ve forgotten part of your body…
- Back last. Millions of nerve fibres are routed through your spine so getting your back wet is the hardest part. You’re going to feel a lot of sensations, almost an electrical charge crackling up and down your back. Get this wet last then finish washing and scrubbing. Good job, you’ve taken a cold shower.
Loneliness: A Health Problem That Could Be Deadlier Than Obesity, Study Says
Loneliness can reliably be linked to a significant increase in the risk of early mortality, according to a study at Brigham Young University. Head author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, notes that “substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality.”
Holt-Lunstad believes the risks associated with loneliness are already greater than such established dangers as obesity:
Several decades ago scientists who observed widespread dietary and behavior changes raised warnings about obesity and related health problems. The present obesity epidemic had been predicted. Obesity now receives constant coverage in the media and in public health policy. The current status of research on the risks of loneliness and social isolation is similar to that of research on obesity 3 decades ago… Current evidence indicates that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.
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Furthermore, she warns that “researchers have predicted that loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless action is taken.”
Why Are We So Isolated From Each Other?
From the long view, it can be said that Western civilization as a whole has fostered a gradual disintegration of our physical and social ties. With an emphasis on individual goals and an almost fanatical regard for personal achievement, the traditional institutions of family and community and their capacity to provide their members with a sense of belonging and shared purpose have become significantly fragmented.
The family unit has gone from large generations-linked mutual support systems to small and immediate units, sometimes involving single parents whose necessities make it very difficult to create a stable home environment for their children. Add to that the fact that more and more people are not even building families, and our society has more people living alone than at any other time in history. This includes the elderly, who are less likely to find a ‘fit’ living within their children’s families than ever before.
The decline of the ‘community’ is perhaps as significant as the disintegration of the family unit. In Western-style communities, people work as a collection of individual units interacting by specific functions rather than as an interrelated whole with a significant shared identity. Naturally, attempts are made today to join or build ‘communities’ all the time, but like the Meetup model, they are founded on the gathering of select people with similar interests and purposes, rather than a shared embrace of all people within a certain geographical area.
The Rise of Social Media
I believe the rise in prominence of social media has in part been fuelled by the sense of alienation we have long felt within our modern society. I don’t believe social media is the root cause of our loneliness, as some speculate, but rather a symptom of this much longer-standing social problem. Connecting via chats and web pages is just something that we have gotten into the habit of reaching for since it is so immediately accessible. But like any quick fix, it does not end up fulfilling our deeper needs, either individually or as a society.
If we see that our society has been slowly disintegrating over hundreds of years, then it becomes incumbent upon us as a society (if we can still even identify ourselves with our ‘society’) to take measures to remedy this situation. What those measures might be, though, given how things seem to be trending, is a matter of great conjecture.
On Being Alone
One approach is to first acknowledge that Western society’s emphasis on the individual is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I believe that the development of personal integrity, creativity, and autonomy is a critical step in the evolution of human consciousness. Learning how to be alone with oneself is a part of that process. In his work entitled Pensées, French philosopher Blaise Pascal observed that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
As evidenced by Eastern gurus and mystics, one can be perfectly content in isolation. This can be greatly facilitated by the practice of meditation and other such methods that give us a direct perception of our energetic connectedness not only with other people, but with all things. In this higher state, the damaging emotional impact of loneliness and social isolation are not experienced.
Our Next Step
Still, the life of the yogi remains for the few. The rest of us, it seems, have come to this planet to interact, share, and love. And we have not incarnated into this dense physical world to get better at virtual relationships. At this stage, we have perhaps gotten a bit too accustomed to social isolation for our own good.
Holt-Lunstad notes that “although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, this meta-analysis indicates that physical health is not among them.” She also cites another study that “has demonstrated higher survival rates for those who are more socially connected.” And then there is the seminal 75-Year Harvard University study, where “it was universally clear that without loving and supportive relationships, men in the study were not happy.” The message is becoming clear: we need to come together.
We are perhaps at a larger turning point in our development than most of us realize. It seems that we have reached the extreme edge of the exploration of individualism, and we are readying to move into greater balance with a collective identity. This is not a return to traditional ways, but rather a synthesis of our growth as individuals with the shared experience we are now hungering for. This synthesis signifies the next stage of our evolution.
How I Induced An Out Of Body Experience Without Substances
Can you really have an out of body experience on command? Absolutely. While this is something that will take some time to practice and get good at, there are many methods to having out of body experiences or spiritual experiences on command using only your consciousness and physical body.
There is also a purpose to these experiences; they aren’t simply to trip out (although if you wish to do that it’s up to you). These experiences can help you dissolve fears, move past trauma, expand your consciousness and much more. I personally don’t feel inspired to do anything other than explore and expand myself when I engage in experiences like this.
Many of the stories you hear of out of body experiences happen through dreams, near death experiences, from the state between sleep and awake, and when people experiment with psychedelics like magic mushrooms, DMT or ayahuasca. But we are capable of having out-of-body experiences with just our thoughts, breath and consciousness.
Why These Experiences Can Be Helpful
I say “CAN BE” helpful because they have that ability, but it doesn’t mean we always use it. We may want to explore a past trauma, and meditation or OBE’s could help us do that, but if we don’t use them for this purpose or do the work afterwards they won’t be helpful. Likewise with any substance like ayahuasca, mushrooms or DMT. They don’t do the work for you and don’t save you. You still have to do the work afterwards and it’s for this exact reason that most people who experiment with these substances or experiences still don’t make shifts in their lives because it’s still work. And it’s the work that we often aren’t willing to do that stops us from moving forward.
Your intention for wanting to have these experiences is important. Sometimes when we think about psychedelics or having out of body experiences we are seeking a trippy-like experience out of curiosity. And that’s totally fine. Curiosity can be how we explore and learn things. But while it may be fun to play a couple times, I generally say it isn’t the best motivation for wanting to have these experiences. I typically tend to encourage people to reflect on a deeper sense of exploration and growth within ourselves when it comes to exploring our consciousness, which is a big part of what we do in CE’s Explorer Lounge you can check out here.
The reason why I believe focusing on having a trippy experience is not ideal is because I have seen many people get lost in the need to just experiencing something trippy. Not only that, but it can often become an escape from the challenges we face. Which is why I feel society utilizes cannabis, alcohol, TV and food addictively.
DMT, mushrooms, Ayahuasca and so forth were initially put on this planet when we had difficult times exploring our consciousness and external tools assisted us in doing that. Today, a resurgence of these substances is taking place as people’s curiosity to explore is once again popular. After all, there is a shift in consciousness taking place.
However, I do not believe we still need these substances today in order to have these types of consciousness based experiences. While I think they can be helpful for some of us who are in difficult situations like drug addiction or have serious trauma from war or violent experiences, I feel we are all very equipped within ourselves to explore without them, and I’m personally inspired to encourage that.
Ultimately it’s not as much about any substance or experience as it is about what the end goal helps us to see – more about ourselves. They tell us to look within to find answers and move past our challenges. So many experiences in life are all pushing us to do that exact same thing, look within. Our core teaching here at Collective Evolution is change starts within. All for the reason that it’s at the core of how we will create a profound shift in our lives and on this planet. So what can we take from this?
If we know the core truth is about us looking within, why not just begin looking there right now?
How I Created my Own Out Of Body Experience
I was in California, attending Wim Hof’s retreat in Beverly Hills. It was day two and we were doing a breathing exercise that was about focusing on energy in our body and learning how to control and use it.
At the Wim Hof retreat in California.
There was a focus on utilizing it to activate our pineal gland in such a way that may or may not release a little bit of DMT in your brain, allowing us to have some form of experience that would be beyond the physical. I would like to say at this point that this is certainly not the core message of Wim’s work, nor is it something that I think the method is truly for. It’s simply something that you can use in order to obtain this result. These forms of breathing exercises are not new either, they have been used by yogi’s and “guru’s” for many years to attain different states of consciousness.
There were about 60 of us, we were in a beautiful room with 15 foot ceilings and the sun was shining in through the side windows. I was laying flat on my back on a yoga mat patiently waiting for the exercise to start. This would not be the first time I was going to have an out of body experience, but it would be the first I would attempt on command. My previous experiences came from dream-states, meditation or simply.. happening.
We began with Wim’s standard method of breathing. Heavy breaths in and out of the mouth. Stomach, chest, head, out. After about 8 minutes of this, I went into my breath holds (as part of his method) and I began to focus energy from around the base of my spine and brought it up my back, into my brain and ‘pinged’ my pineal gland with it.
As I brought the energy up into my pineal gland I felt what I had felt in the past with these types of experiences. Ringing and vibrations in my body and mind starting to increase. With my eyes closed, I began to see the room. I could feel my essence slowly leaving my body up straight into the air. It moved slowly and peacefully. It wasn’t a fast jolt or ‘uncontrollable’ in a sense, it was very light.
The pineal gland.
As I drifted upwards more and more I eventually made it to the ceiling and rested there. What happened next was what you might experience in deep meditation which is having all of your thoughts emotions set aside and you begin to feel like a massive, massive, massive presence that is so far beyond your physical body that you no longer identify with being a physical body. You begin to realize you are a vast consciousness that is pure unconditional love and pure potential.
From this state of being you have the ability to utilize your awareness to look at your life, situations, the planet or whatever it may be from a completely non-judgmental and unconditionally loving way so as to deeply understand why things happen. You gain clarity and awareness as to how you may move forward with something from this space. These experiences help us to get a glimpse at what is beyond the stories and the drama of our minds. This is VERY powerful in clearing our fears, worries, and traumas.
Back to my experience here. As I continued to feel immense at the top of the ceiling, I could see all of the bodies in the room having their own experience. I felt connected to them, the building, and everything around us. The difference between myself and everything else drifted away, and I was simply an essence or consciousness observing. This, is precisely how I know experientially that consciousness does not originate in the mind but is our existence. Mainstream science has not caught up to this understanding yet but it’s getting close, and that is very inspiring.
After what could have been 10 or so minutes, I slowly came back down into my physical body and began to integrate back into it. I opened my eyes and began to feel the desire to go outside and enjoy the sunlight. I felt slightly emotional at this point as I had gotten a glimpse of the difference between feeling fully clear outside of my body vs feeling certain emotional pains and mind stories that were in my physical body. This right here, is where the magic is. This is how we see more clearly what it is that we are being challenged by and have a reference point to compare what letting it go feels like.
When you are in meditation, you are able to re-tune into these types of higher states of consciousness and be an observer looking back at the challenges you face at any moment in your life. With detachment from them you can ask yourself how you created or co-created the experience you are having and what lesson is in it for you. How does it serve you? How can you move forward with action and so forth? You can see the greater workings and perfection that comes with these experiences to help you move beyond them.
So that’s pretty well it! Utilize and explore these experiences with clear intentions of evolving yourself and you will have the best results in not only creating these experiences but attaining more peace in your life. Have fun and keep exploring!
New Moon In Gemini: Adaptability & Confusion
We are having a New Moon in Gemini on May 22nd or 23rd, depending on where you are located in the world. This is initiating a 29.5-day Lunar cycle and a new wave of energy for the coming month, however, its themes will be strongest over the following 2 weeks. This cycle will peak with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5th/6th.
Gemini season has just begun on May 20th/21st with it’s ruler Mercury also there. As an Air sign it is socially and mentally oriented, while as a Mutable sign it is versatile, adaptable, and multi-faceted. Mutable signs are the last of each season which is a reflection of its changeable nature to help facilitate a transition from one thing to the next.
Gemini’s energy is curious, communicative, articulate, informative, agile, busy, clever, and dualistic. It has chameleon-like properties and is the sign of multiple expressions or personalities. Gemini is associated with information, learning, writing, commuting, immediate environment, neighbours/neighbourhood, siblings, close friends, and extended family. Negatively, it can be gossipy, superficial, inconsistent, scattered, two faced, unfocused, and lack emotion.
Venus is currently retrograde in Gemini and the Lunar North Node also recently entered this sign. All of this puts an exclamation mark on Gemini themes at this time. The North Node will be there until early 2022 which reflects a push towards working with Gemini energies in a positively constructive way. Much of this process is getting emphasized over this next month. You can read more about Venus retrograde here.
New Moon Trine Saturn, Sextile Chiron, & Square Mars With Uranus In The Mix
This New Moon is in a tight trine with Saturn in Aquarius and sextile with Chiron. In comparison to previous months, these upcoming weeks can have more of a stabilizing energy. This can be good for applying ourselves in a disciplined, realistic, and committed way.
The sextile to Chiron gives us a small dose of its themes. Chiron is associated with healing, wholeness, cleansing, spiritual growth, innovative ideas, and discovery. It is holistic, bridging, creative, and unorthodox. This energy will also come up May 27th-28th/29th.
The New Moon is also in a square with Mars in Pisces which is moving towards a sextile with Uranus. This in combination with all the Gemini can bring restlessness and scatteredness. It can also be competitive, impulsive, and combative. Following the New Moon period, this energy will build up in the coming weeks and peak at the upcoming Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius.
Mars is moving towards a sextile with Uranus which is strongest from May 24th-25th/26th. This is good for making changes or trying new things. We may want to apply ourselves in unique, experimental, or revolutionary ways. Pursuing some sort of independence or freedom is another way this energy can be expressed.
Mercury Conjunct Venus Retrograde, Both Square Neptune & Out Of Bounds
The ruler of Gemini, Mercury, is in a conjunction with Venus retrograde which are both in Gemini as well. This is one of the more significant periods of the Venus retrograde and can facilitate some realizations or issues that are part of the retrograde process. Thoughts or issues pertaining to relationships, values, money, art, or something aesthetic related can be prominent.
However, with both of them in a square to Neptune there can be some confusion, idealism, misunderstandings, flakiness, delusion, disappointments, or problems around boundaries. Issues pertaining to escapism or intoxication can come up and this can be a time of feeling tired and lethargic. In some cases this energy can be creatively or spiritually stimulating. This is strongest on the day of and days surrounding the New Moon.
Both Mercury and Venus are ‘Out of Bounds’. This is when planets move outside of the boundaries in which the Sun travels in, from our perspective on Earth. It is about exploring new territory as well as going outside of our usual limitations and conventional ways of doing things. This can also reflect seeing things from a different perspective and objective thinking.
Mercury, the planet of the mind, perceptions, reason, communication, commuting, and commerce has been out of bounds since May 16th until June 9th/10th. Venus, the planet of love, relationships, social life, values, money, beauty, art, and aesthetics, has been out of bounds since April 1st until June 1st.
Approaching Eclipse Season
In the two weeks after this New Moon we will have a Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5th/6th followed by a Solar Eclipse in Cancer on June 21st and another Lunar Eclipse in July. They are happening during Venus’ retrograde and post shadow, and will also overlap with an upcoming Mercury retrograde.
All of this combined shows that these coming months are a time of transitions, changes, and reorientations. Eclipses can reflect beginnings, endings, and even evolutionary developments pertaining to the sign it is in and in specific areas in each of our lives. However, their effects don’t always play out when they are occurring. They can also manifest sometime in the 6 months following and in some cases up to 6 weeks prior.
I will be writing separate articles on these eclipses, join my mailing list here to ensure that you are notified when they are published.
Making Intentions & Things To Consider
What has been coming up for you around love or regarding friendships? What are relationship dynamics showing you and in what ways do you lack clarity? How can you better communicate and harmonize how you interact with others? What are you learning about/through the information you are consuming and does it truly make sense for you? How can you better adapt to the circumstances in your life? What are your options for handling financial matters?
These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time. However, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. The exact moment it will occur is 5:39pm Universal Time on May 22nd, or the 23rd for those in the Eastern part of the world. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.
I’m doing a BIG DISCOUNT during the shutdown period with 40-50% off personal readings. Gain more astrological insight into what is going on in your life and have a better understanding of your individual potentials. Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for the discounted rate.
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