Updated: Mar 4
Short Answer, YES!!
Personally, anxiety has always been my crutch, a constant, greeting me every morning. Something I have learned to live with, a passenger in life responsible for more than a few outbursts of anger. Through daily discipline, plant medicines such as CBD, breath-work, and cold exposure, my anxiety is now at an all-time low. Equipped with the tools to set the day right, addressing anxiety immediately upon being ambushed with life's many triggers. Incorporating daily cold water immersion should be in everyone's toolbox, it is a proven, highly effective way to mitigate anxiety and the social isolation that comes with it.
POWERFUL, NATURAL, FREE.
Cold water used correctly is a weapon against anxiety and other mental illnesses. It is freely available to every single living being. The benefits are many, and only require a small investment in time. It has been touted by numerous health professionals, elite performance athletes, and some of the world's most successful businessmen. Perhaps the most well-known practitioner and expert being Wim Hof. a Dutchman.
Wim has developed a daily regimen centered around cold immersion and breathing techniques. He is well-known for climbing a portion of Mt. Everest in nothing but shorts, displaying a measure of control over the elements and their effect on his body uncommon in today's human. An enigma to the uninitiated, Wim spends his time educating others on the healing powers of nature and its ability to strengthen body, mind, and soul while remaining chemical-free.
He runs a camp in Poland every year, where he teaches the methods developed after the passing of his wife. A sad story, she became mentally ill, distraught, and ultimately took her own life. Motivated by the pain of this loss and watching his beloved slowly deteriorate in front of his eyes, Wim poured all his energy into helping others mend their own mental and physical wounds.
Start with 5-10 minutes daily while incorporating breath-work, Take proper precaution when new to practice.
COLD WATER IMMERSION (CWI) BENEFITS
Stimulates Immune function:
When you immerse yourself in cold water, specific processes initiate automatically. Your immune system releases white blood cells, sending them into attack mode, clearing the blood of any unwanted substances. CWI stimulates your lymphatic system, a network of vessels throughout the human body responsible for clearing bacteria and cleansing one's system. It's easy to perceive how ridding yourself of these disease-causing toxins would be beneficial to your long term wellbeing.
IMPROVES OVERALL HEALTH:
Incorporating daily cold water exposure is more than physical. CWI is a highly mental practice, demanding you retake the reins, learning control the anxiety, and over time reap its rewards. One must first defeat the mind's attempts at talking you out of training. Recognizing that your mind cannot always be trusted and will take every opportunity at working against you. Inherently our minds will always seek comfort over discomfort or the unknown.
It is living in this state of contentment that kills us, robbing the best parts of life from us. Once immersed in cold water, you will begin to purify your thought process, able only to focus on the cold, the outside world, and other problems will fall way. You are in survival mode. What you are experiencing now is FOCUS.
Imagine the body's stress response to be a muscle, left unworked it will quickly wither away. Our minds are the same. To be effective, we must add healthy natural methods to "strengthen the muscle," and ward off anxiety as it comes at us. CWI over time offers its disciplined practitioners precisely that. Often within a few weeks, practitioner's notice they're reactions to stress becoming increasingly relaxed. You are now pushing the mind in the right direction, without medication. Ultimately setting yourself up for long term success, and a better life.
Focus: What we focus on dictates how we see the world. If you're in a world of shit it may be time to change the lens through which you view the world. Discard what does not work.
How many of us wake up and immediately go for the caffeine hit? Starbucks? Black Rifle Coffee? A staple for centuries, coffee when dosed correctly can increase mental alertness, memory, and more. A proven bio-hack as brought recently brought to light by Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Coffee. Cold water stimulates our natural energy reserves, increasing mental alertness by releasing the hormone norepinephrine, offering mental calm and focus.
Improved Mental State:
Have you ever felt amazing in the minutes and hours after being exposed to the cold? Personally, I have, the feeling has become addicting. Occurring due to our body releasing two hormones, noradrenalin assisting with mental alertness, and endorphins. Endorphins are the happiness hormones, identical to those released after physical exercise. They can make us feel great, are never free, and the happiness they bring must be earned daily.
CWI may offer its practitioners a heightened metabolic rate. When exposed to the elements, you are forcing the body to rewarm itself, expending extra calories in the process. It can also increase healthy fat within the body known as "brown fat". Brown fat aids in keeping our body's warm. Helping to fight unhealthy "white fat", the unwanted fat sitting on our waistlines. These are just a few of the many benefits offered by CWI practice. I strongly suggest making this a part of your daily routine, you will not regret it.
HOW DO I START?
Easy enough. Find some cold water and get your ass in it:
Start with a few minutes a day working up to ten minutes
Have a rewarming plan: light exercise or sauna.
Incorporate breath work (Wim-Hof).
Have a partner when starting out if practicing in nature.
Dunk head a few times for max benefit.
Aim for below 50 degrees and slowly work to colder temps.
Mental and physical health is about consistency in all things. When incorporating CBD, breath-work, Cold immersion, into your daily routine to address personal issues put in the work. These benefits are not without cost, have the discipline and hold yourself accountable. You do not have to be perfect, win the majority of your days and you will see change.
Do you suffer from anxiety, depression, and believe CWI would benefit you? Then I highly suggest investing the 10 minutes a day. It is far easier to battle one's anxiety with Cold Exposure & CBD than to sit idle with it. Left unaddressed it will wreak havoc on your life, relationships and may make you more susceptible to disease. MAKE THE CHANGE.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - JASON HIGGINS
"We must as country focus on what works, not what is popular, what is easy or what lines the pockets of another seeking profits from the misery of others."
Jason is a retired Navy SEAL and CIA Contractor. Born & raised in a small Maine town, he joined the navy at 17 yrs old. Having spent the majority of his life in and out of war zones, personally suffering from anxiety and PTSD upon exiting service. After years of following standard protocol of prescription medications, they only seemed to silence his issues for a time, eventually becoming unbearable. Jason decided to make drastic changes to his life and leave combat professions forever.
Embarking on a journey for answers, Jason became convinced better options were available than those he was being given. After traveling the world for years practicing ashtanga yoga, meditation, breath-work & cold exposure, he discovered plant medicines. One of which was hemp & cannabis. Through these natural options, he was able to rid himself of all anxiety medications. Jason now dedicates his time to educating veterans on the many groundbreaking options available to them outside of the VA's scope of traditional medicine.
Jason Practicing extended stretching techniques to remedy bulging discs in his spine. A welcome alternative to prescribed hormone altering medications.