Confession: I read a lot of blogs. Mostly, they fall into two categories: lifestyle design and travel. This likely makes me look like a hippie. So shoot me.
In over your head," a blog by Julien Smith. It's the most well-written self-improvement (in an ass-kicking, and highly non-coddling way) blog ever. He's very much a "take calculated risks to live the life you want" (with posts like this one whose title I can't publish, and this one, whose title I shouldn't publish either), and challenging life assumptions like (with posts like "Why you should quit the internet" and "You cannot die"), among other topics.
One post I came across a while back had to do with cold showers (and for the life of me, I can't find it now...), saying that small, non-harmful stressors, like cold showers, can help adapt your body and mind to be more comfortable with, and more accepting of, bigger stressors. (And thus, for Julien's purposes, render you more likely to take the risks to challenge the status quo and to live the life you want to.)
After doing a little more research on the 'cold shower,' I found that in addition to the improved stress-reaction function, cold showers improve circulation, improve your mood, improve your metabolism, improve immunity, and (more obviously) increase your energy level.
It's easy to see that if you want a quick wake-up, that you should jump in a cold shower. See, when you take a cold shower, all the blood that was at your skin moves to your internal organs, nourishing them with fresh blood and increasing the rate at which old blood moves out of them. This whole process moves blood through the digestive organs to get more nutrients to warm your body. Also, according to a 1993 study by the Thrombosis Research institute in England, people who take daily cold showers have more white blood cells than people who take warm showers.
So, after all that (and much more research), I decided I'd take a two-minute cold shower after I took my warm shower. This is a suggested way to start.
Bascially, it was awesome. Okay, fine, it was awful while I was IN the shower. I fought every carnal desire to jump out and/or increase the temperature, and pretty much hated life and living and might have squirted shampoo in anyone's eye who suggested I stay any longer than two minutes.
AFTER I got out of the shower, however, it was divine. My body was warm, my energy level was up and I just felt really great...happy...thrilled that I was alive.
Plus, in the book version of James Bond, he apparently took showers much the way I just did. And he's a badass. And now I am too.
Seriously. Just do it.