Hooray for Hormesis!! or The Blessings of a New Boiler

Anyone who has ever stayed at my house knows the struggle of taking a shower here. Within two or three minutes, the hot water would turn cold, leaving the shower progressively chillier. This challenge is particularly daunting in Buffalo, where winters bring frigid temperatures. While a cold contrast shower typically involves intentionally alternating between cold and warm water, my shower imposed this regimen involuntarily, providing an unexpected dose of hormesis (which we discussed in “What Doesn’t Kill You…” HERE). Hormesis, the concept of briefly and intermittently stressing the body to strengthen and enhance its resilience, can be likened to weightlifting, intense exercise, caloric restriction, hot and cold contrast showers, or intermittent fasting, etc. (See our resource links above and below for more ideas for practicing hormesis.)

I strive to incorporate activities of hormesis into my daily routine. My most regular one is cold contrast showers (harsh Buffalo winters make them especially challenging from January through March). Furthermore, experiencing the contrast involuntarily in wintry Buffalo, adds an extra layer of discomfort. Yet, as the famous Mishna teaches, “L’fum tza’ara agra – commensurate with the painstaking effort is the reward.” In other words, challenges often lead to growth. Similarly, in Chassidic philosophy, there is the concept of “Yerida zu l’tzoreich aliya – this descent is for an ultimate ascent of a much higher order.” Challenges are viewed as opportunities for spiritual elevation and growth; regarding our body and mind as well, such brief challenges benefit us.

Recently, our boiler broke, necessitating its replacement. Surprisingly, this turned out to be quite fortuitous – a blessing in disguise. Thanks to the new boiler, we now enjoy longer-lasting hot water for showers and hotter water for dishwashing. Indeed, yay for the broken boiler! Hooray for hormesis!

With the new boiler in place, I can now happily resume my cold contrast showers. Here’s how I do it: After completing my regular shower routine, I brave the cold water for approximately 30 seconds or longer, rotating my body one quadrant at a time as I “march” in place. Once I’ve thoroughly exposed myself to the cold water, I switch back to warm water. In over a decade of living here, I’ve never been able to perform cold contrast showers in this manner. Previously, it was involuntarily decreed upon me due to my antiquated boiler’s limitations. Now, not only can I do it the right way, but I can also acclimate and soothe myself with the more ample warm water after the hormetic ordeal.

In conclusion, let’s celebrate the blessings of a new boiler and embrace the concept of hormesis. Through challenges and discomfort, we find opportunities for growth and resilience. So, hooray for hormesis and the unexpected blessings that come our way!

Download the free resource “Free or Inexpensive Activities to Stimulate HormesisHERE
Embrace the Stress; Hormesis will Bless! (RD Wallen)

We love hearing from you, please feel free to leave your comments below.

With Gratitude,

Rus Devorah

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