- Julie Turner
Stress sucks. Floating can help.
Updated: Jul 19, 2020
Stress. We all have it, and it’s important to our survival, the problem is, in today’s world the type of skills required for survival have changed greatly. The system that used to help us defend and heal from an attack are now trying to help us manage 40+ hour work weeks, control road rage, and cyber bullying.
Stress initiates the sympathetic nervous system and ignites your ‘fight or flight’ response. Once triggered, adrenaline and noradrenaline increase and provides you with a temporary boost of energy to allow you to escape the source of stress or heal from it afterwards. Once the danger has subsided, your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and sends cortisol to bring adrenaline and noradrenaline back to normal levels. The problem is, when those stressors don’t subside, and you continue to go to a job/relationship/thing that is killing you, the sympathetic nervous system remains engaged, inflammation persists, and stress becomes a condition with serious implications to your health and well being. Stress makes you vulnerable to illness and your body may even lose its ability to manage stress, even after those stressors go away.
Common symptoms of stress are fatigue, muscle tension, sleep irregularities, headache, teeth grinding, feeling nervous, dizzy, or overwhelmed, irritability, anger, and change in appetite or sex drive. If you don’t take steps to calm your nervous system you can damage your heart, develop other health conditions or exacerbate existing ones.
There are many things that contribute to stress. Job pressures, money, health, relationships, media overload, and poor nutrition are everyday stressors. Events such as the death of a loved one and prolonged exposure to violence can wreak havoc. Early childhood trauma has lifelong consequences on one’s ability to regulate a normal cortisol response.
People are working more hours to make both ends meet and we have too many things to pay attention to. We’ve all been told to avoid stress, but you can’t quit your job and decide not pay your bills, so what do we do?
There are many things you can and should do to manage stress. Plan your meals, exercise, meditate, have sex, practice a hobby, make time for yourself, find laughter and avoid negative coping methods. Mindfulness practices are especially effective for managing stress. In our very biased opinion, there is no easier and efficient way to manage stress than floating.
Floating initiates your parasympathetic nervous system and brings you to a state of “rest and digest”. In the float tank there are no expectations, no distractions, no social norms or judgements. Nearly every system in your body that continually operates in your background is calmed and relaxed in the float tank.
The feeling of weightlessness is both literal and figurative.
Sometimes a stressful day can play back in your mind during your float like a movie. I take this opportunity to view the situation from various perspectives and see if I could have handled myself better. The hope is that I learn and grow from the situation and can make better decisions in the future. Once I’ve gone through this process it closes the stress cycle, I’m able to put it behind me and move forward without the stress bottled up inside or hanging over me.
A float tank is an incredibly powerful tool for reflection,
analysis, and critical thinking.
One of the most important benefits floating has to offer is the release of muscle tension. We hold stress in our bodies in weird places that you may not even recognize. Floating will help melt that stress and muscle tension away.
Floating is so simple, low risk, with no known harmful side effects. You really have nothing to lose but stress.
I have done my best to explain stress and the immune system as I understand it, but I am a novice of knowledge. If you want to dig deeper, I highly recommend M.C. Flux’ presentation "Floating and the Immune System" from the 2018 Float Conference.
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