Building resilience is something coaches talk about often. Without resilience we’re afraid to take chances, we avoid new experiences, and we certainly never explore our potential. We stay safely inside our comfort zone. At The Coach Place Global website there are 24 links that come up if you search the word resilience. That’s how much we value it.
Each step outside our comfort zone adds to our experiences and builds our courage. Sometimes we look at successful people and what they do, and think there’s no way we could be like that so what’s the point of trying? We promise you everyone starts with small steps. As our Founding Director, Lisa Stephenson writes, twelve years ago when her world turned upside down, she never would have imagined herself where she is now.
If you haven’t heard of Dutchman Wim Hof, The Iceman, then you’re in for a treat. He’s confounded scientists, set Guinness World Records for cold exposure, and changed the way we view the potential of our bodies. His curiosity about the effects of cold exposure has led to a world-wide phenomenon known as the Wim Hof Method (WHM).
Curious about what might happen if he jumped into a lake covered with a thin layer of ice one day, he stripped off and jumped in. His antics soon became known, and scientists began to challenge him with all sorts of dares. He’s run a marathon in the desert without water, a half-marathon above the Arctic Circle in bare feet, climbed to Mt Everest base camp in shorts, ascended Mt Kilimanjaro (also in shorts) without stopping to acclimatise to the lower oxygen levels, swam under the ice (for 66 metres!), sat in a large container of ice for just over 112 minutes, and endured injections of an endotoxin, which normally trigger flu-like responses. Wim proved that the mind could override the autonomic system of the body, something scientists had thought, until Wim, was impossible.
Is he superhuman? From another planet? He is not! To prove he wasn’t, he started to train other people and within four days they too demonstrated an ability to control their autonomic systems. Scientists now take his blood, strap sensors to him and roll him into all sorts of machines to find out what exactly his body is capable of and why, and what the impact can be for our well-being.
Why then, at The Coach Place, are we writing about Hof? Because, as is stated at his website, wimhofmethod.com, he is all about ‘showing you how to break through your perceived limits and discover new mental and physical ground.’ Although there are three pillars to the WHM, it all starts with the cold, which he insists is a method anyone can use to supercharge their inner strength.
It’s hard to believe getting uncomfortable can have such a profound impact. Here are 10 ways cold water can benefit you:
- Increase your energy
- Reduce stress levels
- Increase focus and determination
- Balance hormone levels
- Speed up metabolism
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve quality of sleep
- Influence your immune system
- Enhance creativity
- Influence recovery and repairs after exercise
We aren’t talking about turning off the hot water and suffering (shrieking?) through the cold while you wash your hair and body. Instead, Hof is all about gradual exposure and suggests starting with five seconds a day until you reach three minutes. Your body will adapt to the colder temperature (15 degrees C / 59 F is the goal, but start gently if you prefer). You know the feeling when you jump in a pool that feels shocking at first, but a few minutes later feels wonderful?
In our masterclass
with Paul Taylor we discovered that he is a fan of cold showers too (as is Lisa Stephenson!) and uses it as a chance to go deep within. He uses box breathing to make sure he doesn’t hold his breath or clench his muscles; it’s essential that we relax and breathe while exposed to the cold to enable our bodies to do what they are capable of. Your cardiovascular system will get the best workout ever, and you will feel alive and amazing.
There are many ways to step out of your comfort zone, and all of them will work to build resilience. Ask yourself when you last stepped out of your zone. What did you do? How did you feel afterwards? Today we suggest you start your wake-up with a splash of cold. Be sure to let us know how it goes!
- The Coach Place Global Team
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