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Understanding the two-types of stress and how it affects us

zenfloatco stress

When you hear the word stress, what thoughts often come to your mind? For most, I would have to guess a mixture of negative thoughts associated with the word; stress with work, stress about finances, stress about life in general. However, stress is not bad at all.  In a lot of cases, stress can actually be good.  As long as you can change your outlook on how stress affects your life and you can be mindful of why you are experiencing it, stress can be a powerful motivator in your life.  


What is stress?

Stress is your body's response to certain situations. Stress is subjective. Something that may be stressful for one person -- speaking in public, for instance -- may not be stressful for someone else. Not all stresses are "bad" either. For example, getting a new job promotion to a management position may be considered a "good" stress.


Want to Reduce Stress? Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously

I worked as a New York City public high school science teacher for eight years before doing iFloat full time. During the first two years I remember my students taught me a lot. One of the things that often happened was they would make fun of the way I talked or looked. They were all Latin American or African American and I was a liberal arts educated white guy from the suburbs of Boston. As time progressed I began to embrace their sense of humor, such as, “David you’re just too white,” or “Why do white people always do this or that?” What they were often doing was challenging me to not take myself so seriously. When I would laugh or smile at such statements they would also laugh or smile. It’s like they were saying, “We have to poke fun at the seriousness of the ethnic/racial divide in order for us to be close.” They were right. Bit by bit, I loosened up and I was more comfortable.

I had a similar experience when I was in the Peace Corps. I was a Christian living in Morocco – a country where almost everyone is10.2.14 guy laughing Muslim. The people there made fun of me for all sorts of reasons. First, they laughed at my inability to speak their language. Later, when I could speak the language, they laughed at me for not being a farmer or not being a Muslim. Bit by bit, I began to see their laughter was the way they could relate to me. Guys would often joke around with me and say, “You just need to convert, be a Muslim, be a farmer like us, and everything will be okay.” We would laugh about stuff like that. Instead of me saying, “How dare you. I was raised Catholic. Don’t you understand what that means?” I said, “These guys are funny,” and we would often hold our bellies joking about me being one of them, converting, etc. The reason it was funny was because they knew I was not going to do it. They knew I was eventually going to leave, but it was light hearted because it was their way of saying, “We like you. We want you to be one of us. But it’s okay if you’re not (even though we are still going to try).” If I had remained serious about “who I was,” I would have missed all the fun and all the unspoken attempts at them relating to me and cultivating a friendship with me.

It is when the personality we attach ourselves to gets threatened that there is an opportunity for growth. I am not just “from the suburbs,” “catholic,” or “white.” I am much more complex than any of those things. First and foremost, I have an essence like all people (whether you call it the Soul/spirit/universal essence) that flows through me and that flows through everyone. My students in New York City and my friends in Morocco were keenly aware of that essence. Through their joking they were saying, “That stuff you hold onto about ‘who you are’ is a bunch of crap. It gets in the way of you relating to us. Let it go. Be our friend. We like you.”

One of the things we cultivate at iFloat is to not take ourselves so seriously. When people spend time in a sensory isolation tank mid dark Mikethe “I’m important” script gets challenged. You’re not important in the float tank. There is no time, no phone, no meeting, almost no external stimulus to remind you of “who you are.” You could be anywhere in the float tank. In many ways, you are “nowhere.” The experience of floating is threatening to the places where we make ourselves more important than the people in our life. However, as a person clocks more time in the float tank (whether it is in a single session or over the course of many sessions), their mind begins to let go of where they are attached to disadvantageous patterns. I often observe people who come regularly to iFloat relaxing the self-imposed rules they have placed on themselves. When they toss the rules to the side, they are more fun, lively, and engaging with other people.

Northwest Floatation Center

De-stress After Work with a Float Session

De-stress After Work with a Float Session

There are many kinds of jobs in the world. From high paying to low paying, social to solitary, mentally to physically focused, they all have one thing in common: stress. 40% of workers self-report their job as “very or extremely stressful.” Another 25% of employees say they see their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. What’s more, work-related stress is associated with health problems more than any other stressor in life. Many feel work life today is much more stressful than it was a generation ago.

There are many reasons why stress is a growing problem in the workforce today. What’s more clear cut are the health effects of stress. When your body goes through a stress response, you might experience elevated heart rate, tightening of muscles, fast breathing, and elevated blood pressure. This is your body’s way of preparing you for a fight or flight response. If you’re at work, neither fight nor flight can really help you; you have to do your job, and even though your body is reacting this way, your life is not usually in any real danger.

Unfortunately, this knowledge doesn’t prevent the negative health effects of stress. Those who report chronic stress from work tend to constantly feel overwhelmed, even when they’re at home. They become easily upset and often feel lonely and depressed. Physically, they tend to experience decreased energy, digestive trouble, insomnia, frequent colds, and pain all over the body.

Stress builds on itself and is not an easy problem to solve. Understanding your stress response is irrational doesn’t change your body’s conviction in its importance. The best way to tackle stress is a physical approach, and floatation therapy can help.

Isolation Tank Plans

Can Floating Boost Your Brain Power?

Can floating in an isolation tank make you smarter?

It’s a valid question to ask. Floating is an activity that does so much good in so many other areas. Why wouldn’t increased brain power be one of the side effects of regular sessions in a floatation tank?

The answer is a simple one. You can become smarter from floating. Why? The biggest reason is that floating unlocks your natural intelligence. When you get inside the tank and shut off the outside world, you allow your mind the rare opportunity to be free.