I stood there staring at the shower handle, knowing what I “had” to do.
Last month, Carl Richards, author of The Behavior Gap challenged financial advisors to do something hard—to start their morning by making themselves uncomfortable. At the end of the morning shower, I was challenged to turn the water to cold for 45-60 seconds.
The benefits of a cold shower include healthier skin and hair, higher metabolism, and the cold jolt wakes me up more than consuming a cup of coffee. Turning the knob to cold is physically easy to do. Mentally, anticipating the self-administered shock is an entirely different story.
Life can be challenging, and success in life requires often doing what is difficult. In a small way, training myself to perform an act that would clearly trigger my brain’s “fight or flight” response on purpose is a way to increase mindfulness and learn to manage my emotions in a time of stress.
A month into the challenge, the daily act of making the handle turn still scares me, but it has become easier. Becoming comfortable with temporary discomfort every morning makes other discomforts throughout the day more manageable as well.
What are the things in life that cause you anxiety? What are you doing to engage with and diffuse that anxiety? Life can be hard. Making a habit of starting your day by purposefully doing something that challenges yourself just may be a key to addressing that which you have been putting off.
Let me know how it goes.