Construction detours have made your 30-minute commute nearly an hour. Your computer freezes just as you are about to hit submit on that month-end report. The gym changed its hours and now you can’t get in your workout.
The day’s challenges and stress feel out of your control, and it can feel like a challenge to cope with your feelings. You find yourself feeling irritable, tired, anxious, depressed. Sure, you might not want to feel that way but with so much going on, it feels like your mental well-being takes a backseat.
But the best way to support your mental health might not be trying to control your feelings. According to Dr. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and professor, one of the keys to improving your mental health is in the physical. Behaviors are concrete. By developing healthy daily habits and steady behavioral patterns, you can change your approach to mental health.
Among the daily behaviors that can help you prioritize your mental well-being is cold water immersion. Plunging into cold water releases endorphins and activates your body's natural stress response system. Not only that, but cold water immersion can improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and even promote better sleep. It's like hitting the reset button for your mind.
A Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub by Master Spas allows you to make cold water immersion a part of your daily routine. You no longer have to go to the convenience store to buy a 100-pound bag of ice or go to a gym or spa with a plunge. You can fit a quick session into your morning or evening routine — allowing you to reduce stress, not add to it.
The connection between mental and physical health
We often think about our mental health being separate from our physical health. But the connection between mental and physical health is undeniable.
Just look at the effects of stress and factors we can’t control. Stress is a common mental health concern. When you experience stress, your body responds. Your heart rate increases, your blood pressure spikes, and the body releases cortisol. Chronic stress increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, weakens the immune system, and contributes to other health issues.
On the flip side, you can incorporate daily habits like physical activity to influence your mental well-being. Regular exercise is not only beneficial for your body but has been shown to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Adequate nutrition and sleep are critical for maintaining stable moods and cognitive function.
But the relationship between our mental and physical health goes deeper. It goes to the brain.
Sure, the body releases cortisol when we are stressed. This hormone affects everything from your metabolism to your blood pressure. However, the brain-body connection includes the neurotransmitters.
Serotonin is often associated with mood. When you have a serotonin imbalance, you can experience symptoms of depression. However, serotonin also affects your digestion, sleep, and cardiovascular health.
In addition, when you exercise (aka take care of your physical health), your body releases endorphins. These "feel-good" chemicals can improve your mood, change how you perceive pain, and improve mental well-being.
Benefits of cold water immersion for mental health
Understanding the interconnectedness of mental and physical health opens the door to a holistic approach to well-being.
Cold water therapy, whether it’s cold showers, ice baths, or winter swimming, has gained popularity for people who want to feel better physically and mentally. The practice involves immersing your body in cold water, anywhere between 40 degrees and 59 degrees, for a few minutes at a time.
Plunging into cold water can help you reduce inflammation, recover from a tough workout, and reduce stress. The cold water also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering the release of hormones that benefit your mental health.
Incorporating cold water therapy and a Chilly GOAT Cold Tub into a wellness routine can provide myriad benefits for your mental health. Chilly GOAT models have a temperature range of 40 degrees to 104 degrees. The powerful 2.1-horsepower chiller keeps the water at your preferred temperature, and the UV water care system ensures clean, clear water.
Activating the relaxation response
Think about how your body feels when you plunge into the cold ocean or a chilly swimming pool. Your heart rate quickens, your breath catches,. This sensation isn't just a jolt; it triggers what scientists call the "dive reflex." This reflex helps your body adapt and handle the cold water. Your heart rate will slow down and blood will be directed to your brain and heart. More than that, your brain will begin to send survival messages through the vagus nerve.
The messages: Slow down, relax, and stop stressing.
While this is all intended to help you survive in a winter swimming-like experience, the effect can help you calm down.
Cold water immersion has been shown to have mood-boosting effects. The release of endorphins during cold water exposure can help alleviate symptoms of depression and enhance overall mental well-being. Many people report feeling a sense of euphoria and increased positivity after a cold tub session.
Stress relief and resilience
Each day you encounter challenges that are outside of your control. When you are stressed or overwhelmed, you can struggle to adapt or cope.
But the physical act of cold water immersion, especially when you make it a consistent practice, can help you become more resilient. It teaches you to stay calm under pressure, avoid the negative consequences of stress, and support your mental health.
How does immersing yourself in cold water help you relieve stress and become resilient? Well, getting into cold water stresses you out — your body, at least.
By regularly subjecting yourself to this stress (and being in control of it), your body learns to adapt. Over time, you will find that you are able to better regulate your stress response — in the Chilly GOAT Cold Tub but also in other areas of your life. You become less reactive and more resilient to various stressors.
Improved focus and mental clarity
When you get into your cold tub, the blood vessels (arteries and veins) near the surface of the skin constrict or narrow. Constricting blood vessels help to reduce blood flow to the skin's surface and extremities, conserving heat and maintaining core body temperature.
But when you get out of the cold water, your blood vessels will dilate. Blood will begin to flow, delivering valuable oxygen and nutrients to the brain. This increased circulation can enhance cognitive function, increase mental clarity, and sharpen focus.
Sessions in a Chilly GOAT can be used as a way to prepare mentally and improve concentration before demanding tasks or important events.
Increased energy and alertness
It’s natural to feel tired. But if you are struggling with low energy or chronic fatigue, it’s harder to deal with, well, life. You may find it harder to manage stress, handle setbacks, or adapt to changing circumstances. You might find it difficult to concentrate, make decisions, or think clearly. And these feelings can take its toll on your mental well-being.
But cold water immersion can help you fight fatigue and get back to feeling like you.
Cold water immersion stimulates the release of noradrenaline, a hormone that promotes wakefulness and alertness. Hopping in your cold tub can provide a natural energy boost and help combat feelings of fatigue and low energy levels.
Achieving a good night's sleep is crucial for mental health and overall well-being. Cold water immersion before bedtime has been found to promote better sleep quality. The cooling effect of cold water lowers your core body temperature, which can help you fall asleep faster and experience deeper, more restorative sleep. Incorporating a cold plunge into your evening routine can create a calming and relaxing environment conducive to a rejuvenating night of sleep.
Promoting physical recovery
Cold water immersion is commonly used by athletes and individuals engaged in intense physical training. The cold temperature helps reduce inflammation, muscle soreness, and swelling, aiding in post-exercise recovery. Physical well-being and mental health are closely interconnected, and by promoting physical recovery, cold tubs indirectly contribute to mental well-being as well.
In the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, it is easy to focus on physical exercise, nutrition, and stress management techniques. However, one powerful tool that is gaining recognition for its mental health benefits is cold water immersion. Cold plunge tubs, like the Chilly GOAT, have become increasingly popular among athletes, wellness enthusiasts, and even ordinary individuals seeking to improve their mental well-being. The practice of cold water immersion offers an array of mental benefits that can positively transform your daily routine.
Investing in your mental health
Do you want to enjoy the benefits of cold water therapy without buying bag after bag of ice? Having a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub allows you to realize the impact of cold water. Enjoy clean, clear, cold water on demand. You can click here to find out more about the benefits of incorporating a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT cold tub into your routine.