By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
The Surprising Benefits of Embracing Challenges ~ Why a therapist takes cold showers?
What you also might be wondering is, why on earth am I writing about this? Trust me, it applies to more than just my personal shower habits :)
Apparently, cold showers are all the rage in the athletic/physical recovery space these days, and believe me, the athletic and the therapeutic spaces are often quite different. So, it was interesting to me when these worlds seemed to combine.
I was introduced to the idea of cold showers years ago, for boosting immunity from a friend. I didn’t really think much about this as I was newly 25 and, well, didn’t feel this was entirely necessary. Now, at the age of 41, I will do almost anything to help my body recover and heal from the random and chronic injuries I get. Because of this and my husband’s interest in all things related to health and wellness, I now have tried and routinely use cryotherapy, infrared sauna, and daily cold showers.
While I started doing these things to try and help my body feel better as I have somewhat chronic back and knee pain, plus frequent headaches, the results have been much more interesting than I expected.
What I have found is that, for me, there is something extremely liberating about choosing discomfort and trying to enjoy it.
Interestingly, I have never been one to enjoy any kind of discomfort. As a kid, I was very sensitive to textures (among other things), and I am still pretty sensitive to my internal experiences, physical or emotional, and at times those same external experiences (noise, lights, textures). So, it is quite surprising to those who know me that I am choosing to do something that is clearly uncomfortable.
Honestly, that has been the best part. It reminds me of how I can choose to do hard things and get through them. It reminds me of my strength, grit, and perseverance. In five minutes a day, I get to boost my mood and confidence that all situations are temporary. Plus, I listen to some of my favorite songs while I listen and try to entertain myself by singing along. It’s become my own personal “pregame pump-up song.”
Even more interesting, is that this practice has actually helped inform my work and even found its way into my clinical recommendations. Because, not only does choosing something uncomfortable help boost your confidence, but it can also help you manage anxiety and can boost your mood. I am a therapist who tends to avoid “quick fix” ideas for my clients, but this one actually seems remarkably helpful in learning to tolerate discomfort. Since avoidance of discomfort is the root of many challenges that make their way into my office, it has been a serendipitous experience.
So, while you may prefer to challenge yourself in other ways, I would recommend that you do choose challenging things as often as possible. Just to help you learn that it will be okay and that you are tougher than you think. Perhaps you will choose to do something else uncomfortable, such as learning a new activity, taking a dance class, public speaking, or talking more to other parents at school drop-off.
Whatever it is, try to remember that it is amazing that you are choosing to do something you would rather avoid. Similar to how I define bravery, as facing a fear (rather than the absence of fear), I would define choosing uncomfortable situations as a sign that you are a tough, resilient, capable person who can more than handle the things your life might throw at you other times.
At Thrive, we take a positive, client centered approach to therapy that is focused on creating a genuine connection with our clients. If you would like to talk with a Thrive Therapist about yourself, your child, or teen attending therapy via video sessions, please reach out to us by phone at 858-342-1304.
As always, thanks for reading and comments are always welcome regarding any issues around child or teen psychotherapy services in San Diego by Thrive Therapy Studio.
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