Some People Say That Fear Keeps Them Safe.7 June 2022
Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words …7 June 2022
How do you know if someone does cold swims?
There’s no need – they are sure to tell you about it within the first 2 mins of meeting them.
I adapted this from a joke about vegans. No offence to vegans.
I do love sitting in cold water.
I’ve been doing my cold dips, since 2016 when I met the now famous Wim Hof. I went to Poland to try out what was then a new craze for ‘Breath of Fire’ and cold swimming. It was terrifying.
But I continued with the cold. I began to go to the lake in winter and go in the water. I didn’t swim, I just sat there. It became a sort of meditation, and I still do it.
I have always been curious about why this practice had stayed with me, while other, equally beneficial ones, have fallen away.
The answer lies in how it encourages me to experience the benefits of discomfort. But it does so in a quiet way. There is no one telling me to ‘get out of my comfort zone’.
It’s just me, the trees, and the water.
When I say ‘benefits of discomfort’, I do not mean ‘suffering.’
There is no virtue in suffering, nor is there a reward for punishment. Believing otherwise causes people more pain than almost any other concept. As a coach, I see this all the time: people who think they will feel better by feeling worse. They’ve been convinced that there is some merit, some moral goodness, in feeling like s**t.
There isn’t. It’s left over learning from childhood.
But there are big rewards for seeing discomfort for what it is, and getting used to enjoying it.
When I started with the cold, I would dread every dip.
We fear what makes us uncomfortable. Fear and discomfort are best friends and will egg each other on at every opportunity.
If you want to know what you are afraid of, notice what you avoid. If you want to know what your subconscious believes is safe, notice what you go towards. I learned this from Jon Connelly, PHD, MSW, LCSW This concept is used to great effect in Rapid Resolution Therapy (The Institute for Rapid Resolution Therapy, Inc.), which he created.
There are many physiological benefits from cold exposure, but for me, the true value of this practice is simple. By going towards what is uncomfortable, we teach our subconscious that there’s nothing to fear in discomfort.
You will surprise yourself. Subconscious is good at making generalisations, so the benefits extend to dealing with all discomfort.
Subconsciouses are not logical. They work with symbols, stories and actions. Logic and sense are not required in this realm, so it’s satisfied with this tautology,
‘If I do it, it must be safe, it’s safe, so I am doing it.’
Some people hate the idea of cold water. If that’s you, find something that works better for you. My partner is always warm, he has warm hands and warm feet. Mine are always cold. Nothing on the Earth would persuade him into a cold lake.
How about seeing discomfort for what it is? Mostly a habit mixed with fear, and we can shift that.
#personaldevelopment #wimhofmethod #comfortzone