Stress is everywhere. And it is even more stressful to hear about the fact that stress is everywhere, to read about it in magazines and to see it on TV, to deal with this plethora of options to choose from, with so many books to read so many places to travel people to meet diets to try out sports to experience faiths to believe in and when.did.this.start, cars frantically rushing the streets passing red street lights while downloading some soundtracks to keep your life running even faster the busses the smog the dirt of the city the never ending heat on your skin boiling up in the tram getting you from one job to the next, from one state of dissatisfaction to the next, from one club full of people but void of vibes to the next and it goes on and on and on and on and when.will.this.end.
There are 716 books on Amazon about life coaching.
5.064 about burnout.
20.133 about stress.
Is this the end of anxiety?
Reading 20.133 books about stress and how to fight it, can make one feel even more stressed. Let aside those typical “9 ways to reduce anxiety and be happy”, “this is the ultimate way to overcome stress and enjoy life”, “be happy and joyful in life while reducing anxiety and overcoming stress in these ultimate 9 ways” types of articles.
No. In a society where putting your iPod on shuffle means that after a couple of chill out songs ,“work work work work work” will follow, some people need something more radical than that.
Some, like travel writer and global author Pico Iyer, resort to meditation.
Floating/isolation tank aka mysterious chamber of hallucinations
Despite it having been given various names, a floating tank is actually a relatively small chamber filled with salt water at skin temperature. The salt triggers the zero gravity effect, depriving the person of his or her sense to perceive upwards and downwards.
In addition, those tanks are kept in total darkness and sterility, thusly excluding any chances of seeing, smelling or tasting. Last but not least, people are encouraged to use ear plugs in order to cut out any possible noises, too. Deciding not to put them in leads to hearing your own heartbeat as loud as a supernova explosion. Concretely, 70 times per minute on average. 6,300 times during one floating session.
The sensory deprivation activates the theta-state of the brain, which is responsible for what psychology calls the subconscious. As a result, your body begins to experience deep relaxation and mental clarity.
However, before reaching this stadium of absolute tension loss, your body desperately tries to reproduce sensual impressions in order to hold on to something in this state of nothingness. Therefore, hallucinations of any form are very common in a floating tank.
Interestingly, your body also manages to reproduce sounds in there. It is very likely that you will suddenly start to hear music in such a setting. And it is even more likely that you will here this one song that has been stuck in your head the whole week.
(By the way, entering a floating tank with a dubstep earworm: not the best idea I ever had)
Why lock yourself up in such a thing?
A floating tank both is, and is not, a trap.
On the one hand, you can easily get out any time you want to. There are no practical restrictions; On the contrary, full control of the floating experience framework is guaranteed.
On the other hand…you do not know what awaits you in the tank. Memories, traumata, thoughts buried long ago do revive in the tank’s darkness and stillness; anything, beautiful and bad and peculiar, that is drowned in everyday sounds, smells and impressions. Anything that would take about 20.133 books to read.
It is you who awaits you in the tank. Not the roles you play throughout your day, not you being a brother, a friend or a bank accountant. All the strings that attach you to your routine, your behavioral patterns, your comfort zone: they are cut off.
For 90 minutes. For 6,300 supernova explosions.
Words will never be enough to describe the inner peace you experience in there.
The bottom (line) of the tank
See, you can read those 20.133 books about stress, choose to enjoy ten minutes of absolute relaxation in a position of your comfort, escape the city by resorting to the countryside, try out some bungee jumping or you can lie in a tank filled with salt water for 90 minutes.
But your problems are all inside your head. They will always follow you.
However, chances are that in a sensory deprivation tank you will see those problems clearer than ever. And in case you do not have any dubstep earworm messing up your head, you will also most probably come up with creative ways to build your happiness.
I know people who saw magical strawberry landscapes inside of a floating tank.
I –unfortunately- have not.
But what would you see?
Photography copyrights belong to the author. Artwork by itsmi.