On the surface, stepping into a float tank might seem a little ridiculous for someone with anxiety to do. I mean, why would an anxious person want to be alone, in the dark, with nothing but their thoughts, encased in a float pod and losing awareness of their own body?
Half that stuff I do all the time without a float pod, and trust me it’s not all that much fun.
Jokes aside, I am really looking forward to sharing my first float experience with you guys. Just as a disclaimer, I am not a float specialist, nor can I speak to what the experience will do for you – all I can share is my own person story of how it went for me. Here it goes.
Yesterday morning my thoughts raced as I anxiously awaited my first float. Taking advice from a friend, I tried not to put too many expectations on it. But I had so many questions, and no answers, so 11 am couldn’t come fast enough.
When I arrived at FloatLife in Kensington, the space was what I expected. The foyer was calm, clean, and the owner was helpful in showing me (and the couple who arrived at the same time) the rooms and explaining all the options we had for our float.
In the room there’s a float pod, a shower, and a chair with some cleanly folded towels. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was nice. Clean without being overdone. We had the lighting options explained to us, which was controllable from inside the pod, and the music options, from which we could choose: nothing (complete and utter silence), ocean sounds, or spa music.
I opted for the spa music, and as the other guests and I found our way inside our rooms, I couldn’t wait for the wave of relaxation to hit me. I put in my wax earplugs, which are standard, showered, and then got inside the pod.
Only – it doesn’t work that way. Especially for the anxious mind. And mine runs a million miles an hour. I tried my best to silence my mind, but it would slip back to it’s normal routine: what should I make for dinner? Did I forget to bring anything with me today? What do I have going on this weekend?
After about ten minutes, I turned my blue light off to float in total darkness. Slowly afterwards, my bustling thoughts tamed. I began getting those muscle spasms you get when you fall asleep – only I was still wide awake – and I knew that my body had begun to relax.
In my mind, I was floating down a river under the stars. And I can’t quite explain the feeling, but it’s almost as if I remained half asleep and half awake for the remainder of the float. I lost the sense of my physical self and of time. I didn’t have any profound, life changing epiphanies but for a brief time, I had peace.
This is not something that a person with anxiety often experiences. Even though I don’t necessarily experience anxiety every moment of the day, it has hardwired my brain in many ways – so my mind is always busy. Having it cleared was the ultimate relaxation, for me.
I know it sounds cliche, but when the session ended and I opened the pod, I felt like I had been born again. As I rinsed off the salt in the shower I noticed that my muscles and joints felt much less sore, and that my skin looked really nice (bonus!). I felt like I had just gone to sleep for a week and woke up a new person.
I suppose that silencing your mind is something to be worked at, and I plan to keep on going back to practice more – to get good at it. Maybe initially I wasn’t sure how anxiety would play out with floating, but I’m glad I tried it, because I think for me it will really help me take some great strides in practicing self-care and the art of slowing down.
At any rate, I encourage you all to give it a try, and if you have please share your experience in the comments below!