The Mental Health Benefits of Cold Showers

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As winter sets in it’s easy to bemoan the colder weather. However, we at SLV.Global are always keen to big up the brrrrr factor, as it’s been proven to improve mental health. Did you know that spending just a few minutes under a cold shower each day can massively increase your mental resilience and boost your mood? This is especially good news for our SLV.Sri Lanka volunteers who live like locals whilst on placement, which means cold showers all around!

Sri Lanka is a tropical island and as a result can be incredibly steamy, especially during the Summer. This means a nice cold shower can help volunteers cool down after a long day at projects, or wake up refreshed and get ready for the day. Aside from the obvious temperature regulation benefits, cold water, be it a shower or swimming, has been shown to increase positive mental health.

Researchers at the University of Osaka have shown that cold water helps reduce cortisol, the hormone involved in increasing stress levels. The reason for this is that contact with cold water triggers the sympathetic nervous system, which increases blood flow to the brain, and beta-endorphin and noradrenaline in the blood stream.

Cold shower therapy is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy that has various health benefits including treating mental health concerns, improving blood circulation and skin toning. Basically, it turns out that cold showers are the best thing since sliced bread - and have been around for much longer too!

Wim Hoff, a Dutchman also known as ‘The Iceman’ came up with a breathing technique to help you meditate and calm your mind before taking a cold shower. Mr Hoff can meditate for hours in ice baths, and regularly hikes up snowy mountains. Honestly, cold showers in Sri Lanka will never be as cold as a wintery peak, but you can test out this method at home too and use this breathing technique along with it! Mr Hoff would take a three minute cold shower followed by 10 minutes of breathing exercises and his routine helped him feel more energetic and positive about life.

The showers and waters in Sri Lanka are mild compared to an icy ocean or snowy mountain, but can help refresh the mind after a long day at projects or put you in the right frame of mind to tackle the day. We’re big fans of a Sri Lankan shower to cool down and chill out, and we highly recommend you give a chill shower a try too.

Aurora Trentin