How Washing My Hands in Cold Water Helped Me Find Greater Simplicity

Are you seeking greater simplicity in your life? Begin by asking these 3  questions:

• What can I LET GO of?
• Where do I want to say ‘NO’ in my life?
• What HABIT can I change?


1. LET GO… Into Humanness

Holding on to old habits, worn out schedules, old tired thoughts and feelings, can be draining. Feeling a bit dragged down myself, this summer I was able to let go of how I thought I should be, which was to work much harder and get more stuff done!

Instead, sensing the beauty of the season around me, I followed my nose and the voice of inner wisdom, and allowed myself to flow, finding enjoyment in being a human BEING: sleeping in a bit, practicing more yoga and yoga nidra, gardening, and gazing at flowers and stars in the night sky… mmm… it brought me back to myself again!

How does your being want to unfold in this moment? Listening to the inner voice, instead of the planned schedule all the time (even for 5 minutes at a time) can bring you back to the simplicity of being a human being, instead of a ‘human doing’. I found the result helped me to feel more playful and child-like, harkening back to a more spacious time.



2. Say ‘No’

Good boundaries go a long way in retaining your energy for what you want it for, instead of leaking it out  to waste your precious time. Get clear about what’s actually important and what’s not. Ask yourself the question: ‘Do I really NEED to do this?’ Clearing open space for what is truly important simplifies life.

One area of the day to create boundaries is could be ‘recreation time’. E.g. TV, surfing the internet, etc. What if you meditated, lit a candle, breathed deep, or looked at the clouds, instead? How would that make you feel? How would that change how you felt by the end of each day?


3. Change a Habit

What old habit are you ready to change?

I recently vowed to ALWAYS WASH MY HANDS IN COLD WATER instead of warm/hot. It has become one of my daily ‘practices’ and it helped me to discover how the web of connection with the world around me could be affected by my simple choices and following through on one’s actions.

The habit or unconscious activity you change could be any number of things. Begin to observe in your daily life something that would be easy and simple to change so that you will be able to stick with it for greatest effectiveness and change within yourself and the world.

Here are highlights of my discoveries from changing my old habit:

Reduces Inflammation. I remembered when I practiced massage therapy 4 days/week washing hands in cold was recommended and proven to reduce inflammation for aching and overworked hands, and is good for the joints and soft tissue health. It also feels refreshing!

Realization of Privilege. I realized how fortunate I am, to be able to turn a knob and warm-hot water would come out any moment I want it to, and how I overlooked this kind of privilege in my life. I thought of my own ancestors, early Canadian Settlers who lived in dug-out hills of the frigid Alberta winters and what effort and resources it took to heat water, and just what warm water would have meant to them. And also thoughts of how most of the world does not have clean water, hot water, or running water. I feel gratitude for the life I lead.

Cold Water Cleans! 2017 Rutgers University in New Brunswick, Canada, showed that washing hands in cold water was just as effective at removing germs as washing using warm water. The key thing that determines hand washing effectiveness isn’t the temperature of the water but the length of time spent washing (at least 20 seconds) and ensuring that the whole surface of the hands is covered with soap.

Big Effect on Environment. I wanted to simplify by shrinking my environmental footprint on Earth. We each wash our hands about 2555/year! That can add up on energy heating water, also the amount of water that’s wasted waiting for the tap to run warm.

  • Approximately 800 billion hand washes are performed by US citizens yearly resulting in more than 6 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions annually. (Approximately the same amount of emissions as two coal-fired power plants – or the entire country of El Salvador for a single year).
  • Cuts energy costs and increases efficiency.
  • Saves animals and environments animals live in.




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