May 19, 2023

Finding Comfort in Discomfort

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Posted by Sharmarke Hujale

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4 min read

One of the biggest things I was “forced” to do was to learn more about my body, and how it works. To my surprise, I was very ignorant about it. And when you are struck with a disease like this. You can’t help yourself googling stuff.

And that’s precisely what I did. Almost every day. To make sense of things, you know. Even my rheumatologist could sense that I looked like a person who would google stuff. And we laughed about it.

For some reason during this journey, I was reminded of a guy called “Ice Man”. His real name is Wim Hof. But what was amazing about him is that he was just an ordinary man doing seemingly impossible challenges. And when you first come across him. You would think he is crazy. Like swimming in ice-cold water that’s the size of a football field in one single breath. Or climbing mountains just in shorts. Or running in hot weather without drinking and losing core temperature.

I was naturally curious to know more about him, and whatever he was doing. The more I got to know him. The more I was convinced to try out his methods. Because I had time, and there was no harm in it. So I had nothing to lose.

His methods are explained best in three pillars: conscious breathing, gradual exposure to cold, and the power of the mind. It’s pretty straightforward. Nothing mystical about it. The cool thing about Wim is that he is so down-to-earth, and genuinely wants to help people become healthier, stronger, and happier. That’s his mission.

My Personal Experience With the Method

Through his teaching, we are able to deeply connect with our bodies. I remember when I first tried it out. I was so bad at it. But it was okay. I held out for 1 minute in my first breathing exercise. And I got better over time. The best feeling is when you fill your lungs with air, and you get this rush of energy like never before. And just at that moment, you feel you have control of your body again. The feeling of not having control of your body sucks big time.

It was like a light switch was turned on inside of me. I started doing that at the beginning of the year. Since then, I have tried to make conscious breathing a daily practice. I have been struggling with maintaining from time to time because of the lack of energy. But when I’ve actually done it, It has had positive effects on my life.

Reduced stress and anxiety. More focus and mental clarity. Better sleep. Improved creativity and a general sense of calm and peace.

One thing that might blow your mind is that we humans breathe approx. 20,000 times a day, unconsciously. So that means the way we breathe has a huge impact on our health and well-being. It is the rhythm of life that beats in all of us.

Embracing the Cold

After trying the breathing for days. I added cold showers into my routine. To be honest, I would sometimes question why I would take cold showers every single morning. Actually, there are days, I hate it. But I would constantly battle the voice inside my head and just do it.

I did a cold shower challenge to get my body used to the cold. That’s why Wim calls it “gradual exposure”. Otherwise, you would hurt yourself in the process. And that’s not the intention. I took the beginner level where you start with hot water, and end it with cold. And the cold takes about only 15 seconds during the first week. And on the fourth last week, it becomes one 1 minute.

In that way, you are not shocking your body. You also reap the benefits from it. Like strengthening your immune system. You are exercising your blood circulatory system And you are also decreasing inflammation which generally causes many diseases that we know today.

So if you feel your mind becomes unfocused, and you feel depleted of energy. Or you want to take control of your body in general. Try the breathing exercises and expose yourself to the cold.

Here are some resources for you to check out:

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