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Cold Plunging: Fight or Flight

We all experience it. Situations where we must choose between fight or flight. Are we staying or fleeing? Once our body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated sometimes it is difficult to decide. As our body responds to perceived danger,

either physical or mental, our heartrate increase, hormones flood our system, and our body prepares for battle. It is at this point; we make the individual choice to fight or flee.

Cold Plune and Sauna
Cold Plunge/Sauna combo at Drift Floatation Center

We all experience stresses, and dealing with too much stress for too long can have a negative impact both physically and mentally. The good news is, we can train our brain to react differently to stress and pressure. Cold plunging is just one way to build mental resiliency.

Let’s face it, very few people LOVE being freezing cold. Even the most experienced cold plungers are apprehensive to step in the icy cold water each time. Once you learn to embrace the discomfort and you realize you can control your response to physical and mental stressors of the icy water, you can change how your body responds both in and out of the frigid water of the ice bath. You can’t grow if you simply stay in your comfort zone.

Tips to build resiliency while plunging.

It’s important to list

en to your own body. And it’s OK if you only make it one minute each plunge. You won’t change your body’s response to stress the first time in the ice water. Instead of focusing on the temperature of the water, focus on your breathing. Take deep, slow breaths. As you focus on breathing, you slow down your nervous system and actually calm your mind. Instead of listening to your body telling you to FLEE, you are actually choosing to FIGHT.

When you realize you have mentally hit a wall, get out. Take a break and warm up. Then plunge again. This time try to push through that wall. You may notice how relaxed you actually become. When this happens, yo may not really even fee cold. This will take practice, but after several visits you will be plunging longer and longer. You may notice the positive effects of increased norepinephrine and dopamine from your cold exposure. These are not only our “feel good” hormones, but the help reduce inflammation.

The most important thing is to take time to celebrate your accomplishment! You controlled your body’s natural response to FLEE and started training it to FIGHT when faced w

ith something uncomfortable. Over time, you can change your body’s response to life stressors both in and out of the ice bath.

Reach out to Jen and Bonnie at Drift Flotation Center to schedule your Contrast Therapy session today.

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