Make your Own Heat

Or: Want to Stay Warm? Take a Cold Shower.

It’s winter, and being on the bottom of the house, my room is now chilly.

I wanted to edit a blog post for The One Week Book Blog, and my hands were chilly. This was mildly inconvenient for typing.

So I took a hot shower to warm up.

When I came back, my hands were still cold.

I tried putting on a blanket to be warmer, but my body didn’t seem to be generating heat. I didn’t want to sit naked in front of the space heater, because that was still cold.

What the hell?

I thought about it a little.

Since I just took a hot shower, my body was all nice and warm. My body got to be warm without doing anything, so it seems to have stopped trying to be warm. My room was colder than my hot shower, so I felt chilly by comparison. But I still didn’t make any heat. So I decided that maybe I should try a cold shower instead.

Taking cold showers is nice. The cold forces your body to make heat to adapt, but it continues to produce extra heat after you leave, leaving you all toasty and glowing.

If my body actually produced heat, then covers and clothing would actually keep me warm.

I tried it.

It worked.

I wonder if this generalizes to life.

If nice things just happen to you, then you don’t need to do anything to get what you want, and so you don’t. When things get worse, you complain, but you don’t do things to make it better.

If things are bad, you do things to fix them. When they get worse, you continue fixing them.

This doesn’t seem literally true. Poor people don’t on average do better in their life than rich people, and making things worse for them doesn’t help.

But maybe it works attitude wise?

Like, if you try and fix things when things are bad, and continue fixing them when they get worse, you’ll probably outperform someone who thinks that things will just get taken care of for them.

That seems true.

The Stoics liked to practice negative visualization, which basically means imagining what it would be like if you lost something you liked. If they could learn to live in that, they would be more aware of how valuable their stuff is, and what they could do to preserve it.

They did pretty well, even after things went well for them. They got to run the Roman Empire and whatnot.

So yeah. Cold showers and Negative Visualization? That which does not kill me only makes me stronger, if it teaches me to beat the shit out of the thing that’s trying to kill me.

Probably a good idea even in non-lethal contexts.


About atucker

Provisional pronouncements and (hopefully) honest mistakes. I'd like to be differently wrong about things, and helpful to the world.
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