Depression and Long Showers (3 connections)

In this article, we will be answering the question “Can long showers make you depressed?”. We will also discuss bath and loneliness, depression and the benefits of showering. Moreso, we will answer frequently asked questions about the subject. 

Is there a correlation between long showers and depression? 

Yes, there is. To find out more about it, we will discuss in this article the correlation between bath and loneliness. 

Bath and loneliness

Loneliness is defined as “The distress that results from discrepancies between ideal and perceived social relationships.” by the Psychology Department at the University of Chicago.

It is a common recipe that people who experience loneliness or depression may not show the same signs and symptoms. Some are better in sublimating and masking their true inner thoughts and feelings and not make depression or loneliness detectable by face validity.

Studies have shown that taking showers is a way to ward off feelings of loneliness. In a study connected in Yale University, they determined if taking a bath is associated with our emotional states. They found out that warm water serves as a warm companion that relieves us from feelings of loneliness.

“The lonelier a person is, the more showers and baths they take, the hotter the water, and the longer they stay under the water.” stated by John Bargh, Ph.D., a researcher and psychologist from the University.

Taking warm showers also indicated that we become warmer emotionally. For normal people, taking a shower is as easy as slicing a cake, but for people with depression, this can be a monumental thing to do. People with depression sometimes are needed to be reminded before they take a shower and sometimes, the task may also be a great concern for the people surrounding the person as well because of worry or missing out activities that should be done like going to family, school or work events.  

For a person experiencing loneliness or depression, doing practicing self-care habits might be failed. An example would be not changing fresh clothes everyday or twice a day, not brushing one’s teeth and skipping the nice and warm feeling of taking a shower. For others, the pounding water seem to be a physically painful experience. Showers may also bring about feelings of worthlessness or helplessness.

There is also an implication that simply holding a warm glass of drink makes a person generous and more trusting to others.  

So, if you find yourself failing to take a shower, looking at yourself in the mirror and noticing you have not been brushing your hair or forgetting to do so, have not been regularly changing fresh clothes like a normal person would, struggling to get out of bed to practice these kinds of self-care, you might be experiencing symptoms of depression.  

Personal hygiene may also be one of the many things a depressed person may avoid. Note that avoidance or failure to take a shower is not the same with ablutophobia, a specific type of phobia under anxiety disorders.

What is depression?

Depression is a psychological disorder that negatively affects the way we think, feel and behave and which causes danger, distress, dysfunctionality at home and/or in school or work and may deviate one from most people.

To be diagnosed with depression, loss of interest or depressed mood should be present within a two-week period and at least 5 of the following should also be present:

– most of day in depressed mood, nearly everyday as observed by one’s self and/or others. (note: children may show agitation)

– anhedonia or loss of interest in pleasurable activities

– drastic weight loss or weight gain

– unfocused or diminished thinking

lethargy

– feelings of unworthiness

– psychomotor agitation

– having recurring thoughts of suicide or death

– lack of sleep or excessive sleep

However, symptoms of depression is manifested differently across ages.

Children also experience depression but it is not common. Along with the signs and symptoms mentioned above, they show problems like having issues at school, not attending school, weight gain, weight loss, separation anxiety, avoiding social activities in school and outside home and loss of interest in pleasurable activities such as playing.  

Depression among children may also be triggered because of living with a parent who has depression, family-related stressors such as divorce, abuse, bullying, moving to a new house or new school, loss of a family member or pet and domestic violence.

For teenagers, mood swings are manifested in ages 12 to 18. Other signs and symptoms are feelings of worthlessness, anger, unusual irritability, excessive or lack of sleep, eating too much or too less, avoiding social activities, problems in school and/or with friends, self-harm, drug use and skipping classes.

Triggers may be similar to children’s. Additionally, pressure of blending in with others, hormonal issues, concerns on sexuality, rejection by peers and lack of sleep.

For individuals transitioning from teenage years to adulthood, changes in one’s life such as going to college, new job, may be one of the many triggers of their depression. It is important for young adults to have a support system when embarking to new chapters in life. Social support is important to every individual especially when significant changes occur in one’s life as it is found it improves the ability to cope with stressful life events.

Individuals in middle ages may manifest depression through drug use or abuse, hostility, risky behaviors, violent or abusive behaviors. Depression among this age group may also be triggered by significant changes in life and physiology like menopause or perimenopause for women, financial stress, aging parents, responsibilities here and there and even experienced of other medical conditions related to aging and stress.

For older people, depression can be caused by other medical and psychological conditions like diabetes, arthritis, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or effects of medications.

This may also include symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, trouble in sleep, sadness, inability to focus and recall, mood changes and other stressful life events such as death of a loved one. Physical pains can also be a sign of depression as well.

Causes of depression is not caused by one reason only. It can be a combination of three factors as the biopsychosocial model pertains. Some are triggered because of environmental factors, eugenics and genetic vulnerability.

If you have a loved one or know someone who may exhibit these signs and symptoms, try reaching out to be of support or just be in their company. You may also find organization or support groups so they do not feel isolated with their conditions or seek medical help from a mental health professional in your locale.

What are the benefits of showering?

·         Relieves symptoms of depression – Due to the skin’s high density of nerve receptors cold showers are considered to be somewhat a way to send electrical impulses from nerve ending to the brain leading to relief from symptoms of depression. Moreso, cold water natural helps the body to produce endorphins into the blood stream and brain that lifts our mood.

·         Increases energy – While showers do not necessarily substitute intake of food to fuel the body, it helps the body to be in the state of alertness. Shower is considered to be a mild form of electric shock therapy with icy or cold shower. This helps stimulate blood flow in the body.

·         Better sleep – It has been proven that hot or warm and cold shower promotes healthier and better sleep. Your body gets accustomed to the water’s coldness after its initial shock. Note also that it is best to start pouring water on the lower part of your body so your body can adjust well with the temperature. When you get out of a cold shower and enter a warm environment or warm house, the temperature brings relaxation to the body and allows you to have a better sleep. Warm water also relaxes the muscles and relieves stress and tension in the body.

·         Isolation – Being alone with your own self and thoughts does not necessarily bring loneliness, but also creativity. Taking a shower becomes an autonomous process that is said to switch off our conscious brain and switch it to a creative mode by turning on the subconscious. Archimedes came up with the word eureka! while taking a bath.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

FAQs: Depression and long showers 

Is there a correlation between long showers and depression?

Yes, it can. Long showers can be a form of comfort and may serve as a good company  for people who have symptoms of depression. 

Is a 30-minute shower too long?

Yes, it is. Taking a 30-minute shower is too long. It may be tempting to divulge on the warm and good feeling we get from taking long warm bath, however, it is recommended to take showers note more than 5 to 10 minutes.

Are long showers bad for you?

Yes, it is. Long showers are bad for you because it may tend to cause damage than just clean. Long periods of water exposure can cause dry hair and skin. It is said by some certified dermatologist that the shorter the time to shower, the better.

Are showers good for mental health?

Yes, is. Showers is linked to improved mental health. Symptoms of depression and anxiety is reduced when we take warm shower because our body naturally relaxes our thoughts and muscles. Because of this, the likeliness of having depressive symptoms is lowered following a shower.

Is not showering a sign of mental illness?

Yes, it is. Not showing is a sign of mental illness because of the negative effects of disturbance in our feelings, thoughts and behavior, particularly those who experience depression or have depressive symptoms. One of the major characteristics of depression is loss or lack of interest in engaging to pleasurable activities. And taking a shower should be one.

Poor self-hygiene may be one of the effects of depression. This may make a person fail to attend to taking care of themselves such as taking a bath, changing fresh clothes everyday or twice a day and brushing teeth. This may stem from the person’s apathy or lack of motivation.

Why do warm baths feel good?

Warm baths feel good because it significantly helps the circulation of the blood, helps relax the muscles especially from being sore. Placing epsom salts in warm baths is proven to help decrease joint inflammations from arthritis and/or other muscular diseases.

Do cold showers reduce depression?

Yes, it does. In a clinical trial, up to five minutes of cold showers taken two to three times per week was shown to reduce and relieves symptoms of depression. Electrical impulses are sent to your brain with cold water. Taking cold showers is like a gentle and kind electroshock therapy for people with depression.

Are cold showers good for anxiety?

Yes, it is. Regularly taking showers decreases symptoms of anxiety over time. Because of the relaxing effects and other benefits of cold showers on blood circulation and hormones.

Can taking a bath relieve stress?

Yes, it can. Taking a bath relieves stress because it reduces the levels of anxiety and stress experienced by the body and mind. Submerging in water helps reduce inflammation, pain and calms the nervous system.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “ Can long showers make you depressed?”. We also discussed bath and loneliness, depression and the benefits of showering. Moreso, we answered frequently asked questions about the subject. 

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioral therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

https://www.lifehack.org/411898/how-long-do-you-take-in-the-shower-it-might-reveal-your-loneliness

https://www.sutterhealth.org/health/mental/depression-by-age

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/hidden-habits-of-depression-and-anxiety#3.-Not-bothering-to-keep-up-good-hygiene

https://www.drench.co.uk/blog/latest-news/the-psychology-of-showering

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