The sheer feeling of the cold. When you go swimming in natural waters, that’s the first thing that hits you.
Written by Nat Louis
Mental wellness is defined as ‘A state of well-being in which the individual realized their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to their community.’
Anthony Mullally, breathwork and mindfulness coach, believes that building resilience leads to a stronger state of mental well-being as we are better equipped to handle life’s stresses and struggles with a clear state of mind.
‘I help people build resilience using the body’s natural resources. The term resilience means to be able to be bent but not broken and to be able to adapt in the face of adversity.’
With a focus on using cold water as an external stimulus to evoke a stress response, Anthony uses controlled breathwork to overcome the body’s natural response to a high stress environment.
When your body is immersed in cold water, your body releases extra epinephrine (adrenaline) and other stress hormones which triggers the ‘fight or flight response’ associated with anxiety, stress and frightened emotions.
'When your brain is responding to hormonal shifts such as adrenaline, it doesn’t know whether the increase in stress a sabre-tooth tiger at the foot of your cave or you're at work and a presentation is due.’
Although, the average man or woman rarely finds themselves immersed in cold water without warning, the techniques on breathwork and self-calming taught in in Anthony’s workshops and retreats can be utilised in daily life.
By repeatedly immersing yourself in situations where your body releases adrenaline with a focus on mindful breathing, you develop techniques to address the stress response, rationalise the stimulus and tackle stressful environments with a calm and clear mind.
Anthony’s workshops and retreats are aimed to help men and women re-establish their connection with the natural world we live in. By providing people with the techniques to manage their breathing in a mindful manner in cold water, the workshops Anthony runs are allowing people to overcome situations where they may previously have succumbed to the stressful environment.