Why I Took The 30 Day Cold Shower Challenge (And Why You Should Too)

cold shower challenge

Last December I decided to take a cold shower (knob turned all the way cold) every day for 30 days.

Why?

Because I read about it on a blog post just like you’re doing right now.

When I first read about the challenge, I cringed at the thought of willingly taking cold showers.

Why would anyone do that? I loved hot showers, and hated cold water (or used to, at least).

When I was a kid, I would literally turn purple when I went in the ocean because I would get so cold. I usually couldn’t stay in the water for more than 10 minutes because I would start shivering and my body would go numb. I had a very low tolerance for the cold. Never in my right mind would I have willingly taken a cold shower.

But as I read more and more into this 30-day cold shower challenge, I learned that taking cold showers has a number of widely-known benefits, both physical and mental. After reading an overwhelming number of positive experiences from other people who had taken the challenge, I decided that this was something I had to do.

Day 1: My First Cold Shower

It was 8 AM and I had a long day of class ahead of me. I stumbled to the bathroom still half asleep, took a piss, and stepped into the shower. I turned the knob all the way cold and turned on the water. Standing next to the water I extended my arm to give it a feel.

It was COLD. Really cold.

A part of me said “What the hell am I doing? I don’t want to do this” and for a good while I thought about turning the knob back to the other side and enjoying a nice hot shower just like I always had. But then another part of me said, “Man the f*** up! It’s just water.”

After a few minutes of mental preparation and a short pep talk to myself, I finally stepped into the icy cold water. Head first, and then everything else.

Holyyyy tits.

Talk about an adrenaline rush. It was freezing. My body tensed up, I was breathing heavily, and I felt like I was going to die of hypothermia. I couldn’t stop thinking about how cold it was, so I rinsed off my body as fast as I could and didn’t even try to wash my hair. I think I lasted about 2 minutes.

But as soon as I turned off the water I felt a warm rush all over my body, and for some reason I just felt AMAZING. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had and I felt incredibly accomplished for doing it. I was wide awake and ready to take on the rest of my day.

Days 2-30

The next few days were just as challenging as the first, but by the second week, stepping into the cold water became less difficult. Instead of thinking about how cold the water was going to be, I learned to just dive in without hesitating. It was just another part of my day.

The water was still cold, but I learned to embrace it. It was no longer painfully uncomfortable. My body gained a tolerance for the cold and I learned to relax and control my breathing. I eventually started taking cold showers that lasted just as long as when I used to take hot showers. And even though my body had adjusted to the cold, every cold shower still had the same invigorating and energizing effects that carried into the rest of my day.

At the end of the 30 days, I no longer feared cold water. In fact, I actually looked forward to each shower, because I knew how good I would feel after.

What I Learned and Why You Should Take Cold Showers Too

There are several reasons why you should take cold showers.

A simple Google search will show you that taking cold showers is good for your health in a number of ways, including improved blood circulation, increased immune strength, increased testosterone, increased metabolism, and healthier skin and hair.

Personally, I don’t know how substantial all of these health benefits are, though I can say that I did notice a difference in my skin and hair. I normally have very dry skin and hair, but after just a week of taking cold showers both my skin and hair felt significantly less dry and a lot smoother.

But more importantly, I learned that taking cold showers is just a simple way to get into the habit of doing things that scare you — the things that usually come with the biggest reward.

By willingly putting yourself into an uncomfortable situation every day for 30 days, you condition yourself to fearlessly take on new challenges, get out of your comfort zone, and master your mind.

It’s an extremely powerful tool to help you get out of a slump and start taking action to achieve your goals.

If you want achieve anything great in your life, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Taking cold showers is an easy way to practice doing that on a daily basis. It may sound silly at first, but once you do it you’ll be surprised by how much it carries over into other areas of your life as well.

Plus, taking cold showers make you feel fucking AWESOME. And when you feel awesome, you become awesome.

If you’re up for a challenge, I highly encourage you to give it a try.

I am officially challenging you to take on the 30-Day Cold Shower Challenge.

I promise you won’t regret it.

UPDATE: I have actually decided to do this challenge AGAIN, for my second time. After finishing the challenge the first time around I continued to take cold showers every now and then, but at some point I reverted back to taking hot showers.

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of work and feeling a little worn out, so I decided it was time for round two.

I started on Friday, August 2nd and will end on Monday, September 2nd. So far the effects are just as awesome as they were the first time around. I had a spontaneously fun weekend and have already had an exceptionally productive week, and it’s only Tuesday.

If you’re still on the fence and want some more convincing, check out the blog post that first convinced me. Still unsure? Here’s another one, and another one. And if that doesn’t do it for you, check out this thread where hundreds of other people who have taken the challenge are sharing their experiences.

You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

***UPDATE: I recently wrote a MONSTER post about the many scientifically supported benefits of taking cold showers, the entire history of cold water therapy, and much more. Click here to check it out.***

Image Credit: By turydddu @ Flickr, retouched by JovanCormac ([2]) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

About Stefano

Stefano Ganddini

Hey there! I'm the creator of Collegetopia and the guy who writes all these articles. I'm here to help you live BIG, do EPIC shit, & be HAPPY. Click here to read more.

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  • Anonymous

    Hi! I stumbled on your blog and I really enjoyed it. You’re a good writer.
    This article especially got my attention. I have never heard about the cold shower but I googled it and found that several other people had done it. I’m not sure I’d be up to the challenge though =P
    Anyway, keep up the good work! =)

    PS: Sorry about the Anonymous, I like to keep my privacy on the internet…

    • Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for the comment. I understand your concern about online privacy, you should check out my post Social Media Privacy: Managing Your Online Image.
      I’m glad you enjoyed this article, you should definitely give cold showers a try! If I can do it, so can you :)

      Stefano

  • Ruiyu

    Hey Stefano! I know it’s been a while, and I hope my name and face are filed somewhere in the back of your brain, but I just happened to stumble across your blog while while on facebook, and I have to say this is very well put together! Very impressed. Keep up the good work! I’m pretty sure a lot of college students in the future will be thankful you started this!

    O and I started cold showers today. I have to say it’s a pretty hella amazing feeling afterwards. Gonna try for 30. Thanks for the post!

    • Hey Ruiyu!

      It’s definitely been a while, but of course I remember you. Thank you for the kind words, and I’m glad to hear you started the challenge! :) It’s incredible how amazing a few minutes in cold water can make you feel. And I know it’s tough at the beginning, but try to stick with it and I promise it gets easier.

      Hope all is well, let’s catch up sometime!

      Stefano

  • Jacob

    Hi,

    I read your article about a week ago and decided to accept the challenge. I thought this would be very easy for me because I used to take cold showers in India due to power outages and the water heater would not work, so basically I had no other choice. But it has been 4 years since I took my last cold shower. Couple days ago, I took my first cold shower and it was intense. I couldn’t stand still, I had to move around, but after a few minutes my body got used to it and the water hitting my skin suddenly felt warmer. I felt great after, and now every time I take a cold shower it seems easier. Reason I started doing it is because school has been stressing me out and I usually have no energy at the end of my day. I feel like the cold showers does wake me up, and give me that sense of accomplishment. I haven’t noticed any major physical differences, but that might be because I just started this challenge. Thank you for this article it was great to read and definitely motivated me to accept this challenge.

    –Jacob

    • Hi Jacob,

      I’m glad to hear you’ve accepted the challenge. It’s definitely a different story when you willingly choose to take cold showers vs. when you have no choice. The first few days are the most difficult, but as you build a tolerance for the cold it becomes much easier–less of a shock experience but still just as energizing. The power of a cold shower at the end of a long, stressful day is incredible. I like to think of it as a “restart” button.

      Stefano

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  • Chris

    I just tried day 1 of the cold shower challenge and man oh man. That was amazing (after the shower shock) but what an awesome body chemistry changer and what a way to refocus your thoughts. Are you on Instagram or Facebook?

    Thanks for challenging me and changing my mind set

    Chris

    • Chris,

      I’m glad to hear it had such a strong effect on you. I pretty much only take cold showers now and it’s amazing how much carry over it has into the rest of your life.

      You can follow my blog on Facebook here, and if you have Twitter, here.

      If you want to receive updates and blog posts straight to your inbox, be sure to sign-up for my monthly newsletter! :)

      Cheers,

      Stefano

  • Richard

    I’ve been having cold showers, every day, for the last 112 days. It invigorates me, wakes me up and gets me going in the morning. Every day I hesitate before getting in, I know it’s cold, I know it’s going to hurt but I get in anyway.

    I have read so much about people on the 30 day challenge, Is there any reason to stop?

    • Hey Richard,

      Thanks for the comment. You raise a good point. I actually take cold showers almost every day now, but as much as I love cold showers, sometimes I just need a nice hot shower to unwind and relax. Also, I have noticed that after taking cold showers for an extended period of time, it does become significantly less difficult for me. Switching between hot and cold showers every now and then refreshes my tolerance for the cold. I like experiencing that initial shock I experienced the first time I took a cold shower.

      Cheers,

      Stefano

  • Welshman in Scotland

    Just tried one. The water isn’t cold enough yet to be much of a challenge, it was not difficult. But I’ll start it on December 1st. It’s in my diary!

  • Welshman in Scotland

    On second thoughts, now I know I can do that, hot water is a waste of money! (I seem to be as clean as usual.) I’ll just continue and call it a challenge from Dec.. No, January 1st.

  • Hey, do you recommend doing this in the morning or evening?

    • Hey Joop,

      Whatever you prefer. Mornings are great because you start your day feeling amazing. You can’t go wrong with a cold shower in the morning. But sometimes if I’ve had a bad day or if I have something important to do later in the day, I’ll take a cold shower in the evening as well. There’s something about cold showers that just clears your mind and makes you feel like you’ve been given a completely clean slate. It’s almost like a “restart” button.”

      Cheers,

      Stefano

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  • Andrew

    For some reason I kept reading this as ‘cold shoulders’

    Probably not the best idea to do a 30 day cold shoulder challenge, ‘cos you’ll probably get labeled as a miserable prick by the time you’ve finished.

    Anyway, this is completely irrelevant so I’ll show myself out. Nice blog anyway.

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  • Ralph

    one question; i usually shower once every 2 days. will this still give me the benefits or do i have to take a shower every day?

    • Andy Chow

      Do you live in a third world country or something? Shower every day, dirty man.