Cold Showers (Part 5) – Joy

Find Joy“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”

~ Joseph Campbell

This is the 5th and final post of this cold shower series (at least for now as I continue to discover more remarkable benefits in taking cold showers). Lately, when I have extra time such as on weekends, I have been playing around with temperatures, going back and forth from hot to cold water and from cold to hot water. Going from one extreme to the other is a great way to detoxify your body as blood rushes inwardly toward the organs with cold water (trying to conserve heat and protect our vital organs) and then blood rushes outwardly toward the skin with warm water (revitalizing skin and improving circulation). I also use a luffa to exfoliate dead skin cells and to lightly massage my body which aids in lymphatic drainage. In a previous post, I shared my goal of remaining relaxed while under the extreme pressure of cold water (yes, it is at the coldest setting in case you were wondering). After achieving this goal, I am now trying to take it one step further.

In my book ‘One Habit At A Time’, I promote the habit of high-quality breathing to induce relaxation throughout the day. This helps to lower stress significantly. In the next chapter, I promote the habit of smiling to induce inner joy which will further reduce stress. Therefore, I decided to try and see if I could get joy out of taking a cold shower. I always feel great afterwards but during the shower, it is difficult to actually enjoy it. How can you enjoy something which feels almost torturous at times? :) I knew this would be a difficult challenge, but it offered another opportunity for growth.

After a few weeks, I am truly enjoying my cold showers most of the time. It took a while before I could even enjoy one. But with a little persistence, failure began to turn into success. Day after day I would psyche myself up before each cold water blast. Talking, yelling, singing, dancing and praying…I tried everything to bring inner joy out of my being so that I could conquer this challenge. Eventually, I could draw out my inner joy simply by tuning into it and by mindfully enjoying the experience of the cold water enveloping my body.

How has this challenge benefited me? With this practice I find myself getting more enjoyment out of each day. Things which I used to find ordinary, tedious, obnoxious or dreadful are not too bad anymore. I try to squeeze as much joy out of them as possible. On the flip side, I now find the joyous occasions that much sweeter. It’s as if the inner joy just gushes out and it feels absolutely incredible.

Anyway, I hope you liked this series and I hope it motivates you to take on the cold shower challenge (30 days of cold water showers). There is a tremendous amount of growth waiting for you on the other side. If you do accept the cold shower challenge, I would love you to share your experiences with it here in the comment section below.

Have a joyous day,

Sal Crispo

Cold Showers (Part 4) – Anxiety

Toronto Lake Ice“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

~ William James

This past February in Toronto was a record-breaking month. We not only had the coldest days in years but the most consecutive days below zero degrees Celsius. Family day weekend reached a staggering minus 41 degrees Celsius (includes wind chill). As crazy as this weather was I continued to take cold showers each morning before going to work. Was it easy? Absolutely not.

We all know that feeling of waking up in the morning and being extremely comfortable and cozy under our bed sheets. Often the thought of having to take the sheets off of our warm bodies is bad or tough enough to surrender to. Now imagine thinking about taking a cold shower while lying there in your bed. I cannot express how difficult this feeling is to overcome. Why? What is this feeling?

ANXIETY!

Anxiety is a terrible state of being. You feel worried about something that is going to happen in the future. In order not to feel this inner turmoil, people will often avoid situations which provoke it. And this is another key reason why I continued to take cold showers during this extreme weather. Again, I viewed this as an opportunity to overcome a greatly debilitating emotional state. By putting myself in a position to feel anxiousness often, I began to learn from it…understand it…embrace it…and finally, to conquer it.

I learned that anxiety occurs even when there is no real danger eminent.

I understand now that certain thoughts about a future situation trigger my anxiety.

Knowing that my thoughts have the power to change my inner state of being, I can embrace my anxiousness with loving and compassionate thoughts.

And finally, I know I can conquer anxiety by changing my thoughts about any future situation.

Whether it’s stage fright, an important exam or an interview for your dream job, you must be able to overcome this troublesome state of being if you want to succeed in life. Take control of your thoughts and only envision the best or your ideal outcome. To do otherwise is not only a waste of time but it will stir up feelings of anxiousness and cause you to freeze in moments where you need to shine. What’s ironic is that I used this cold shower experience, along with this freezing weather, to unfreeze me from my anxiety. You can too!

Always envision greatness,

Sal Crispo

Cold Showers – Comfort Zone

Cold Shower 1“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

~ Neale Donald Walsch

This past summer I took on a challenge which I avoided for a long time – the 30 day cold shower challenge. Yes, I know it sounds crazy but there are many great benefits for overcoming this challenge. For this reason, I feel impelled to share my experience here with you today and in a series of posts in the coming weeks. Before I begin, let me tell you why I avoided it for so long.

FEAR!

I was simply terrified to do it. I began to examine this fear:

Will I drown? No.

Will I get hurt? No.

Then what am I actually afraid of? Being pushed outside of my comfort zone.

Taking a nice warm shower is relaxing and soothing. Anyone can step into a warm shower and easily begin to enjoy it. Why? Because it is naturally very comforting. On the flipside, I’m sure you’ve experienced what happens when someone in your home turns on the hot water elsewhere while you’re showering. The cold water invades your comfortable shower and you instantly turn into a violent creature (fight or flight response). You begin yelling all obscenities at the top of your lungs in order for them to shut the water off. :)

At first, the thought of cold showers brought up these exact feelings. I do not want to be in a state of fight or flight when I am showering. I want to be relaxed and comfortable. However, the price of comfort is often mediocrity and stagnation. Real growth occurs when we courageously travel beyond our believed limitations. To endeavour toward something which is greater than our current state of being is braveness at its best.

The time has come. I step into the shower and I am face to face with my fear. I have my hand on the shower handle. A storm of thoughts rush through my mind like a hurricane: What the hell are you doing? This is ridiculous. Don’t do this. Just take a nice warm shower and forget this challenge. So on and so on. These are the thoughts which prevent us from breaking through our comfort zones. Whether it’s in the areas of our relationships, business, work, health, social events and/or ambitions, etc., these limiting thoughts are our barriers to expansion.

I could not believe how loud these limiting thoughts were getting. The inner dialogue of my mind (the fear-based part), which is often subtle in its influence, had reached all new heights.

And here lies our greatest opportunity!

The opportunity to silence the critics in our mind – our greatest enemy.

So for the first time in my life, I turned the shower handle to cold water and…I screeched, shouted and cursed…I jumped, shook and squirmed…but I DID IT. I felt things I had never felt before but most of all, I felt ALIVE!

Next week I will share more about my 30 day cold shower experience and how it has help me live more fully.

Keep pushing your limits,

Sal Crispo

Always, Always Nurture

Nurture“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”

~ Lao Tzu

 
This is the 3rd and final post of this series – 2015 resolutions. In the first and second post, I expressed two concepts to help you achieve your resolutions. To summarize, resolutions require a lot of time and effort therefore, do not focus on instantaneous results but focus on planting high-quality seeds (decisions) every day. Furthermore, high quality decisions are often very unpopular decisions so be prepared to overcome any negative influences which may try to deter you from achieving your resolution. Now I will give you the third concept and that is to always nurture your decisions with accurate thinking and affirmative action.

I give a detailed explanation of accurate thinking and affirmative action in my book, One Habit At A Time. They are 2 of the 9 habits I teach in the book and they are the ultimate nurtures of goals, resolutions and dreams.

Thoughts are either creative or destructive so you must ensure that they are in line with your purpose. If you decide to lose weight, earn more money or find romantic love and at the same time, your dominant thoughts are that you cannot achieve these things then you are destined for failure. Therefore, you have to be mindful of your thinking processes and belief structures. Making unpopular decisions will often stir up many negative thoughts and emotions you have buried inside you.

For some of you the following may sting a little but almost always – YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY.

Don’t believe me?

Try this exercise. I want you to get up, look at yourself in the mirror and state something which you believe would be out of reach for you to achieve such as:

“In 1 year… I will earn 10 times my current income or I will be featured in a fitness magazine or I will find an incredible person that will love me for who I really am, etc.”

The more personally outrageous the claim, the more inner garbage will surface. This is your enemy. The garbage is what keeps you from moving forward and achieving seemingly unreachable successes. Until you begin to clean up these toxic thoughts and belief structures, your pursuits will be hindered. You must think you can, with your entire being, before you can accomplish any extraordinary feat.

If you do not think or believe you can achieve your resolution then naturally, your actions toward your resolve will be weak. Affirmative action is the opposite. You know you can and will achieve your resolution so all your actions become powerful and nurture your resolution – even the mistakes or setbacks. Why? Mistakes become part of the growing processes and all setbacks are only temporary for those who believe they can. With affirmative action, you always have your sights set on nurturing your resolution and when the opportunity to acts arises, you act accordingly. For instance, if your resolution is to be fitter, you would take the stairs instead of the escalators when the opportunity presents itself. Most of the time, it’s that simple.

If you have not made a resolution for this year then I encourage to make one now. It’s not too late. Are you still not sure what to do? Based on the exercise we did earlier, what extraordinary feat brings up the most fear and doubt in you? Maybe you could start there?

I wish you all an incredible journey of growth and success!

Keep nurturing your endeavours,

Sal Crispo

Unpopular Decisions

ToughDecisionsAhead“Sometimes, in order to follow our moral compass and/or our hearts, we have to make unpopular decisions or stand up for what we believe in.”

~ Tabatha Coffey

 
I hope you are all still striving toward achieving your resolutions. Remember, as I mentioned in my previous post, this is a long endeavour so do not focus on immediate results but on the quality of the seeds you plant each day. The seeds we plant are the decisions we make. The better our daily decisions are, the greater the return will be in the future. This is not a theory but a Universal law.

Resolutions demand different and better decisions. For example; if your resolution is to be a healthier version of your current self then your decisions from now on must be different and better than the choices you have made up until this point. I am not going to sugar coat the prior statement and tell you that it is going to be easy. These new and improved decisions require a great deal of will-power and effort, especially in the beginning stages. Why? Well one of the main reasons is that the best decisions are frequently not the most popular.

If you want to rise above the status quo then you will have to make a lot of unpopular decisions. It means making different choices than most of the people around you will make. They know and are comfortable with the old you so your new decisions can make them feel uncomfortable. They will question and challenge your resolve. You may be laughed at and ridiculed. They may try to discourage you in varies ways. Be prepared for this response. Do not let them influence you negatively. Stand strong in your resolve and carry on with your new decisions. Whether others accept this new you is their decision not yours. The people who truly love you will stand with you in your evolution. They will support you in your endeavours any way they can.

Can you completely stand behind your good decisions and stand up to your mother…your father…your spouse…your friends or anyone else who tries to influence you otherwise?

In order to succeed, you must!

Keep moving forward,

Sal Crispo

Time for Change and Growth in 2015!

New Year 2015“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

The beginning of the year is a great time for inspiration and for change. Deep down we all have the desire to shine brighter, to express ourselves more fully and to make the most of ourselves. For this reason, most of us decide to challenge ourselves with resolutions. Resolutions offer the opportunity for growth. They help us to expand our comfort zones and our so called “limits”.

Each year I set a resolution. Yes only one and that’s because, to me, a resolution is different than a goal. I see goals as something smaller. A goal can be reached in a day, a week or a month but a resolution will often take much longer as more effort and time for growth are required. For the past several years, I set a resolution which was more challenging than the previous year and I successfully accomplished every single one of them. However, 2014 was different. How? Well, I decided to take my challenge to an outrageous level. And guess what?

I didn’t accomplish my 2014 resolution yet.

Does this mean I failed? Should I give up? Of course not. I have planted all the right seeds to make my 2014 resolution materialize. Yes the harvest has yet to appear but as long as I continue to plant and nurture the seeds of growth, I will inevitably reap the rewards. Furthermore, the amount of inner growth I have gained in 2014, the intangible harvest so to speak, is worth just as much (if not more than) the tangible rewards I look forward to receiving. Please keep this in mind with your own personal resolutions.

Resolutions are not just about achieving something great. They help us grow and become a greater version of ourselves. In other words, don’t just think about the weight you want to lose or the money you wish to earn, think about the person you will become as you strive for and achieve your resolution. How will you feel? How will you act? How will you treat yourself and others? How bright will your inner light shine? How passionately will you live your life?

Maybe you can start living this way now? :)

Wishing you all a joyous, peaceful, healthy and successful 2015!

Sal Crispo

Self-responsibility

CarlJungQuoteLast night I had an interesting dream. I was walking through some sort of party and I came across a guy who looked at me strangely, almost as if he knew me. So I smiled at him and said “hello”. He smiled back and reached out to shake my hand. I shook his hand and noticed that he could hardly stay up on his feet. He was extremely drunk. I asked him if he needed some help and he said, “yes, can you wait for me until my friend gets back?” He was afraid of passing out. “Of course I will”, I replied. Continue reading

Avoid This Habit at All Cost!

NapoleonHillQuote

Every endeavour you embark on will bring challenges. Do you want to improve your health…your business…your relationships? No matter what your goals are, you will need to welcome and embrace all the challenges which lie ahead. Sometimes these challenges take days, weeks or even months to overcome. Sometimes these challenges will knock you down onto your knees or completely off your feet. However, it’s up to you to get back up and keep pushing forward.

But how? Continue reading

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Murray WimbledonI woke up this morning and eagerly anticipated watching the Wimbledon Men’s final. It is always a tremendous achievement to get to the final but to win it is an entirely different feat. Last year, Andy Murray was left in tears as Roger Federer snatched the trophy from him in the final. This year however, Murray showed what true grit and perseverance can bring – ecstasy and success. He defeated the number 1 player in the world, Novak Djokovic, and became the first British player to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. If at first you do not succeed, try and try again. Congratulations Andy! Continue reading