Today, I'd like to share a journey that has refreshed and invigorated me. It's all about cold showers, inflammation, and how they might help us make better decisions. But first, let me open up about my struggles and what led me down this path.
I suffer from rosacea. It sucks! The inflammation can flare up within a day or week, sometimes taking a year to go away. I also experience joint pain – arthritis runs in my family. As a result, my hands often hurt. A massage therapist friend recommended that I ice them daily in a cold pot of water. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to build that habit yet.
Depression is another challenge I face. I'm on medication to manage it, but low moments still come and go. Sometimes, I can't help but judge myself, wondering why I can't put on a smile or change my attitude. During one of these moments, a friend gave me a book that revealed a fascinating possibility.
The book, Wintering by Katherine May, is beautiful. It's about slowing down and loving yourself through life's ups and downs. I discovered Edward Bullmore within its pages. He's a Cambridge neuroscientist who thinks that depression may be from inflammation in the brain.
Given my rosacea and joint pain, this idea struck a chord with me. It made me wonder: How is my mood changed if I have inflammation in my brain? Does a flare-up take a year to go away like my face? Furthermore, how does that affect my decision-making?
I decided to try cold water therapy and haven't looked back.
Almost every day, I take a cold shower. After my shower, I drop the temperature and start with the water hitting my back. Next, I aim to relax and practice triangle breathing (I learned from James Nestor's book Breath). Finally, I put my head under until I experience a brain freeze.
My post-shower routine involves letting my body warm itself back up by itself. My wife often teases me as I stand there wet, cold, and brushing my teeth. It might look ridiculous, but the change has been undeniable.
My thinking feels more precise, my focus more powerful, and my state of mind more upbeat. I've also experimented with cold plunges. They are fun too! It might be due to a decline in inflammation. But, it might be the thrill of doing something challenging. It's hard to tell, but I'm satisfied.
Another breadcrumb came from the documentary My Octopus Teacher. The main character, Craig Foster, is burnt out and starts swimming in the freezing ocean daily. The story centers around his relationship with an octopus. It was so beautiful it brought me to tears. But, while watching, I couldn't help but wonder if the cold water changed him too. Was it also helping him manage his depression? It's an intriguing thought.
So, what does this have to do with tech startups? As founders and executives, our decision-making skills are vital. If cold showers can help us manage inflammation and think better, it's worth a shot. As research progresses, future articles may link better decision-making to cold showers. How cool would that be?
I encourage you to explore the idea of cold water therapy and see if it works for you. It might make you a better decision-maker!