Need To Cool Down This Summer?

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The soothing sounds of running water. The warm humidity relaxes and rejuvenates your tired muscles. You have entered a true tropical paradise…

But are you in Costa Rica? No. You are receiving the benefits of a spa escape without spending thousands on airfare and lodging.

You can create a spa escape in your very own home.

Taking some time to reset this summer is simple. Try a shower meditation. Seriously, why not? Shower meditation is super easy and can deliver super results. After all, it has been documented time and time again that and meditation changes lives, boosting health, happiness, and even productivity (1). 

Here are three common reasons why people tell me they don't meditate.

#1. "I don't have time."
You don't have to be sitting yogi style on a mountain somewhere to meditate. You can meditate almost anywhere. You can meditate in your car, on the hiking trail, or yes...in the shower. Especially in the shower, this is a guaranteed time in your day when you won't be interrupted (well, at least most of the time).

#2. "I suck at it."
It is extremely common for the mind to wander during meditation...that is the point! Meditation is not a competitive sport, there really isn't a wrong or right way to do it. It is about retraining your brain, over time, to be mindful of present moment sensations instead of losing chunks of time to your imagination.

#3. "I'm just not into that stuff...that is for hippies and vagabonds."
Meditation is now a tool used by people from all walks of life from the spiritual to the skeptical. (If you are particularly skeptical, the book Waking Up by Sam Harris offers a neuroscientific perspective on meditation.)

So, are you up for it? Do you dare to cool down this summer both figuratively and literally?

Here are the easy-to-follow steps for a refreshingly kick-booty shower meditation.

1.    Adjust the water temperature to what feels comfortable for you. (If you are trying the cold method as mentioned below, set the shower to a warm temperature first to allow your body to adjust).
2.    Clean yourself, (this one goes without saying).
3.    Make sure you are completely under the shower head, with the water running over your head and down your body.
4.    Take a deep breath. (Shut your eyes if you really want to get wild.)
5.    Then, just tune in. Listen to the sound of the water.
6.    Now, visualize the water wiping away your worries and stresses. Imagine your problems going down the drain.
7.    Breathe a sigh of relief and end your practice with a smile.



That's it. You can do this for 3 minutes, 5 minutes, or even 10 minutes or more. Set an alarm on your phone if you find yourself losing track of time. Another option is to listen to a short guided meditation if you feel like you still don't know how to meditate (believe me, you are not alone in this!).

BONUS: Jazz your experience up with essential oils. Use Sweet Orange to uplift, Lavender to soothe, Sweet Almond for skin rejuvenation or if you don't mind the smell, Frankincense for spiritual grounding -- if you are into that kind of thing! Essential oils provide a host of health benefits such as relieving chronic stress and anxiety, stabilizing moods, and reducing pain and inflammation (2).

TRIPLE BONUS MOVE (Just as awesome as those secret tracks that used to come on your CDs back in the 90s!): You can even get really saucy with this practice and implement a bit of contrast therapy ...where you alternate between hot and cold water...or if you dare, keep it cold.

Hydrotherapy, using water to promote healing and wellbeing, has been shown to reduce pain, muscle soreness, inflammation, as well as improve circulation and boost the immune system (3).

Cold water therapy in particular is also effective in improving mental health outcomes, where brief cold showers (two 8 minute showers a day in this study) were shown to be effective in alleviating symptoms of depression and improving one's mood in general (4).

Now, if you are anything like me, the notion of a cold shower may stir up a little resistance. If you are anything like my fiancé, a Scandinavian man, the notion of a cold shower is delightful. (The Finnish people sometimes even jump into ice holes after being in the sauna, which shows how much this culture believes in hydrotherapy).

Whatever your preferences are, shower meditation and incorporating bursts of cold temperatures around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) can help you combat stress, depression, illness, and...quite frankly...it's just refreshing. One thing we can all agree on is that cold water certainly provides an awakening effect and increases our sense of energy and alertness. We don't need to consult any research studies to know this one is true.

**Note: Cold water therapy is not for everyone, so if you have very high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, Raynaud’s disease, or another condition you are concerned about, speak with you doctor first (5).

At the end of the day, what do you have to lose by trying a shower meditation? It the perfect way to cool off physically and mentally this summer.