Floating Your Way to a Better You
The beginning of a new year is often a time for making plans and inspiring change, but 2021 has just started and already it has a lot of expectations being placed upon it. With the pandemic, 2020 felt like a global “timeout” for a lot of people, so we’ve all had to push things off and are banking on this year being an opportunity for new beginnings.
In the spirit of pursuing positive change, here’s a collection of some lesser known benefits of floating for making changes in your life.
This one feels like cheating a little bit because it seems so obvious, but a better night’s sleep is actually one of the best ways to set yourself up for success when trying to create a new routine or build better habits. Maybe the better habit you’re trying to build is around sleep, in which case, hey – two birds, one stone!
Improving sleep is consistently one of the most reported benefits from float studies (right below reduced stress and anxiety).
IMPROVED LEARNING AND TRAINING
One of the really interesting ways floating impacts our minds is through our emotional state, which can, in turn, impact how we retain information. People experiencing negative emotions tend to have trouble remembering positive experiences and, even with neutral information, what they recall tends to be less specific.
Since floating is so good at reducing stress and anxiety, it’s probably no surprise that in clinical trials researchers found that memory recollection in people who floated was more vivid and intense compared to control groups.
Floating also helps with training skills as well. In high performing athletes who trained for precision, floating helped improve performance beyond their regular training plateau. Whether it was archery, marksmanship, or endurance, floating made it possible for them to do better more consistently.
Anyone who’s recovered from addiction can tell you that isolating yourself from whatever is triggering your impulses can be extremely helpful, even for relatively short periods of time since it removes you from whatever the motivation is to break apart the impulse to relapse.
There was some excellent research done about sensory isolation to combat addiction of nicotine, alcohol, and narcotics. The studies showed that prolonged isolation is really great at dealing with withdrawal symptoms as well, lessening their intensity and making them more manageable. It’s been so effective that there are certain recovery programs that have begun integrating floating into their treatment to help lower the risk of relapse in drug addiction.
In addition to the research, there are several personal stories that have attributed floating to helping with addiction. John Lennon, as shared in Lives of John Lennon by Albert Goldman, famously used floating to help him overcome his heroin addiction.
No matter what your New Year’s Resolution may be, floating can be a really helpful tool in getting there. And even if you’re not sure what goals you’d like to focus on in the New Year, a float tank can be a great place to think about it.