How is your anxiety? How is your heart? 

These questions aren’t asked frequently and therefore answered even less so. We’re not used to being asked these sorts of questions unless something has already been determined “wrong.” Our casual conversation just doesn’t have the language – no standard answers here. 

On one hand, this is refreshing. Standard socially-safe Q & A, in addition to being a bit boring, can keep us in stigmatized patterns of suppression and not being able or encouraged to put words or names to our feelings. Furthermore, we may be conditioned to not want to “burden anyone.” Ugh. On the other hand, this reveals to us it’s time to practice a new language – time to assign words to the most important parts of us and time to start using them.

Cold-water dipping is a tool and a practice that happens to address both our anxieties and our hearts. It does this immediately – not sometimes – but EACH time. It demands awareness and care (breath) for these parts of us that otherwise may go unthought about on the daily, and then of course can become breeding grounds for disease. We know this, as we are living with the facts and statistics that more than 1 in 5 adults live with mental illness in the USA, and heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the USA (for example). 

This is one big reason we should practice asking and answering these questions. We could substitute “How are you today?” with “How’s your heart today?” Just writing this makes me want to take my blood pressure, eat heart-healthy foods, and vow to answer honestly when it feels broken or full. Words hitting the air, a journal, or a friend’s ear create movement, and movement is the enemy of disease.

We know cold-water dipping offers numerous health benefits, but we may not be as aware of these layers of lessons the dip has to teach us. This is deconditioning. This is deeper awareness. This is the practice. 

If dipping is your medicine, like it is mine, you are your own healthcare provider discovering and adjusting dose, frequency and duration based on how you feel.

Please share your dipping practice with your trusted healthcare provider. Get their input. Give them yours. We need more of these conversations in order for these interactions to be helpful and empowering. And if someone shares their dipping experience with you, instead of asking them about the temperature of the water, ask them about their head and their heart. Pretty soon, maybe you’ll both be fluent.



Consider attending our Thanksgiving Day morning yoga & dip event in York, Maine!

A food and fund-raising donation-based class supporting both York Community Service and NAMI Maine – register at Rowing North Wellness.