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Cold comfort: can a splash in icy water make you happier?

It's free, it's available to all, but is there evidence to support the mental health benefits of cold water immersion? Suzanne Harrington investigates

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Research shows that cold water can also help boost your mood by activating the sympathetic nervous system, increasing the availability of endorphins

Research shows that cold water can also help boost your mood by activating the sympathetic nervous system, increasing the availability of endorphins

Getty Images/Cavan Images RF

Research shows that cold water can also help boost your mood by activating the sympathetic nervous system, increasing the availability of endorphins

'How can you go from feeling lethargic to euphoric, almost instantly, without the use of drugs, or spending money? Simple. Dunk yourself in cold water, and do it as regularly as possible. Ireland is surrounded by it, and it flows out of our taps - yet as a mental health resource, the benefits of cold water immersion are largely overlooked.

There are two possible reasons for this - firstly, despite tons of anecdotal evidence that cold water immersion has a positive impact on our mental well-being, there is little scientific research to back this up (the focus has largely been on the physical benefits).

And secondly, it's bloody freezing.