Coldwater immersion, also known as an ice bath, is a recovery regimen used by many professional athletes and celebrities. It’s usually done after a high-intensity workout where you submerge yourself in ice water for 10 to 15 minutes. It’s similar to taking a cold shower where it constricts blood vessels to reduce swelling and inflammation as well as stimulating the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve plays a role in the parasympathetic nervous system to help reduce stress-related symptoms. It’s no question that ice baths are beneficial, but how often you do it is what’s controversial.
Professional athletes regularly do this under supervision and from the orders of a doctor. For everyone else, however, ice baths aren’t necessary for weekly use, and can actually be dangerous for our health. When done too often and for too long, it can result in frostbite, hypothermia, and complications with heart disease. There’s also debate on whether or not ice baths can soothe sore muscles and improve performance. There hasn’t been enough research done to support these assumptions, but one study suggests that they don’t necessarily help you feel and perform better (Potier, 2013). There were no differences in performance after two groups were tested while some reported feeling intense pain from the bath. These results suggest that it’s important to know your body and to train it to slowly acclimate to colder temperatures.
While ice baths use wet cold, cryotherapy uses dry cold to reduce the skin’s temperature. This doesn’t immobilize muscles as much as an ice bath does which helps it be less painful while also having the same benefits. Cryotherapy is another form of cold therapy that requires you to visit a wellness center. It’s not something that can be done at home unlike an ice bath, but it has more advantages because it only takes 3 minutes (rather than 10-15) and is more effective because temperatures can drop down extremely lower than a regular ice bath. It also has mental health benefits and is found to reduce depression and anxiety. And this makes sense because we know that vagus nerve stimulation helps reduce stress.
Mental health professionals have also been found to recommend coldwater immersion therapy for their patients. Because it’s known to help with stress management and reduce depression and anxiety, it’s often used as a form of treatment. During cold showers and ice baths, our endorphins increase. These are the feel-good hormones in your brain that help with depression and anxiety while cortisol, the stress hormone, decreases. The vagus nerve is also being stimulated, and if done regularly, our bodies can become resilient to stress. Therapists also state that this type of therapy can help with mental fog, mental strain and other obstacles. It seems that there are many benefits in this method to help improve mental health.
When taking a bath, it’s important to follow these guidelines.
The difference between gaslighting and lying is that gaslighting is “a form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt her or himself, and ultimately lose one’s own sense of perception, identity, and self-worth” (Ni, 2017). The gaslighter is lying with the intent to use that lie to manipulate the gaslightee. They use a person’s vulnerability against them in order to make them lose their sense of self. For instance, a gaslighter could manipulate their partner by deflecting responsibility and placing the blame on them by saying something like “‘I’m sorry you think that I hurt you’” (Laderer, 2017). Lying, however, is used more to hide the truth from someone. There are different situations in which a lie could be said to someone in order to shield them from the harsh reality of said situation. For example, when a loved one lies about liking the taste of a home cooked meal to avoid making the person who made the food feel bad.
Unfortunately, when a person is constantly being lied to about something, they start to believe the lie they are being told. There have been people that I have dated that would lie to me about things I was most insecure about to manipulate me. For example, one of my ex-boyfriends kept telling me I was “crazy” and too insecure for assuming that he was talking to other girls even when I had proof that he was. After having multiple instances of him calling me “crazy” and insecure, I started to believe I was and stopped bringing up my concerns in regard to our relationship. Later on, I found out that everything I brought up while he was demeaning my character ended up being true. I was relieved to have that relationship come to an end because when the truth came out, I realized that I was not “crazy” or whatsoever. I was just being gaslighted into associating myself with all of these nasty things he would say to or about me.
Another part of the lying and exaggerating that Ni (2017) mentions is when the gaslighter gives the gaslightee false hope. This involves tactics like “reducing” the harsher punishment or promising that things will get better so that the gaslightee feels more at ease and is able to trust the gaslighter. For example, when my ex-boyfriend used to gaslight me he would always give me false hope in saying he would change his behavior just for him to forget and tell me that I never talked about the certain issue with him. He gave me false hope that things would get better between us so that I would calm down and slowly forget about the issue.
I want to preface that I only recently learned what gaslighting was, and writing about this really takes me back to when I was going through things with him. I did not know I was being gaslighted. I did not know that I was not any of the negative things he had said about me. I only saw those things about my relationship after being out of one for a little over nine months now. If you are reading this and resonate with what is being said you might be getting gaslighted without even knowing it. That is the main difference between gaslighting and lying. With gaslighting, the gaslightee has power that they cannot see because they are being heavily manipulated by the gaslighter. That is what the gaslighter strives for though; to manipulate and gain power over their partner. People lie in order to hide the harsh truth from their loved ones. No one gains anything when being lied to or while being involved with gaslighting; everyone loses. What do you think?
In case you are in need of some help regarding gaslighting:
Laderer, A., & Rosen, S. (2021, September 13). How to spot gaslighting: 6 things that gaslighters say to manipulate you. Insider. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.insider.com/gaslighting-examples.
Ni, P. (2017, July 9). Gaslighting: How it manipulates relationships. Psychology Today. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/201707/gaslighting-how-it-manipulates-relationships.
Ni, P. (2019, August 4). 8 ways gaslighters manipulate and control relationships. Psychology Today. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/201908/8-ways-gaslighters-manipulate-and-control-relationships.
What is gaslighting? The Hotline. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2021, from https://www.thehotline.org/resources/what-is-gaslighting/.
In honor of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, it’s important to discuss the effect suicide can have on different people. Secondhand suicide is an umbrella term representing both social and personal factors that can contribute to a ripple effect of suicide. Because the nature of suicide is tragic and often romanticized in books and media, suicide clusters and copycat suicides often occur. Individually, suicide can also be triggered due to the loss of a loved one and feelings of helplessness. The topic of secondhand suicide has become prevalent and is being studied by many researchers.
Secondhand suicide also refers to feelings of apathy and desire to end one’s life. People who are willing to die but won’t do it themselves hope that something else will do it for them that is out of their control such as disease, car accident, etc. This gray area is often overlooked when discussing suicide prevention. But like with suicide, these individuals may end up taking more risks because they see no value in their life. This can be just as deadly and should be acknowledged when bringing awareness. I’ve noticed that a common trend when I was a teenager and is still going on today is the “sad girl” era. Social media such as Myspace and Tumblr circulated a lot of content involving romanticized pictures and quotes of suicide. Even now with the recent news of the effects of climate change, many are joking about how they would be okay if the world ended soon. There is a sense of apathy and disassociation that is unfortunately being taken as a joke when in reality, it limits innovation and a desire to bring forth change. This must be recognized as a more serious issue.
Suicide clusters and copycat suicides have historically been triggered by shows such as “13 Reasons Why” and celebrity deaths such as Marilyn Monroe. Her death was the first ever to cause a 12% rise in suicides. In the 1970s, David Phillips coined the term “The Werther Effect” to represent the increase in suicides after a highly publicized suicide or death. Because there is a direct correlation between media coverage of suicide and contagion, results indicate that those in a “vulnerable state” should be protected from exposure to stories of suicide (Olson, 2012). However, in today’s society, this is almost virtually impossible. So it’s up to the media to practice discretion and consider suicide contagion when reporting on celebrity deaths.
According to Bridge et al. (2019), the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” was significantly associated with a 29% increase in suicide rates among children aged 10-17 during April 2017. The results suggest that the show may have elevated suicide awareness, but it also appears to have been associated with increased suicidal ideation. Suicide contagion is often fostered by stories that sensationalize and glorify depictions of suicidal behavior, present suicide as a means of accomplishing a goal such as community change or revenge, or offer potential prescriptions of “how-to” die by suicide. Responsible portrayals of suicide, mental illness, and related issues have the potential to promote awareness, reduce stigma, and refute misperceptions that suicide cannot be prevented. Unfortunately, media depictions about suicide also have the potential to do harm, often through a process in which direct or indirect exposure to suicide increases the risk of subsequent suicidal behavior.
Within communities and organizations, suicide clusters can be prevented by establishing a group or agency that can intervene after a major event or death. Their role would be to connect community members or employees with resources from mental health professionals, support groups, suicide crisis centers and hotlines, school counselors, etc. This coordinating committee should have a response plan established so that everyone can get help when they need it.
On a personal level, overwhelming grief and regret can cause someone to commit suicide. This is often seen in parents who lose children and blame themselves for their death. There is no easy way for us to grieve after a tragedy, and the hardest part about grief is that only time will heal all. Whether it takes months, years, or decades, everyone grieves in their own way. Having people you could turn to such as family, friends, and support groups can help a great deal in the healing process. Sharing stories of loss can help you understand and empathize with others. Also, practicing spiritual and religious customs and traditions can help us come to terms with the afterlife. And if possible, always try to seek out a mental health professional when having thoughts of suicide.
Other resources for suicide prevention
Bridge, J. A., Greenhouse, J. B., Ruch, D., Stevens J., Ackerman, J., Sheftall, A. H., Horowitz, J. M., Kelleher, K. J. & Campo, J. V. (2019). Association between the release of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and suicide rates in the United States: An interrupted time series analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59(2), 236-243. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2019.04.020
Olson, R. (2012). Suicide contagion and suicide clusters. Centre for Suicide Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resource/suicidecontagion/