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How Floating Can Change Our Brains Incredibly, According To Science

How Floating Can Change Our Brains Incredibly, According To Science

If you’re a lover of swimming, playing, or just floating in the pool on hot summer days, know that you’re doing your body good. Maybe you have a natural intuition for what your brain and body needs.

Flotation Therapy or Sensory Deprivation Therapy

But if you really want to maximize the health benefits of doing nothing, consider flotation therapy. Also known as sensory deprivation therapy, floating is no new-fangled health phenomenon. Dr. Roderick Borrie, continuing his mentor’s research on sensory deprivation and brain washing, coined the term flotation Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) in the 1970s. Shortly after, Dr. John Lilly invented and made popular the sensory deprivation tank, which is now widely used in Europe and the United States.

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The Secret to Brain Bliss: The Theta State

What makes sensory deprivation so effective? The theta state.

The theta state is a slower brainwave, similar to the state meditators achieve during deep practice. Researchers also compare the theta state to the deep relaxation we experience just before falling asleep, in deep sleep or upon waking. Other indications that one has reached the theta state include vivid imagery. Theta brainwaves are slower than gamma, beta and alpha brainwaves, but faster than delta brainwaves.

During flotation, there’s an increase in full body circulation. Oxygen is delivered to cells with greater efficiency, and the brain is better able to function. The act of floating actually encourages the body to relax and allow its systems to function unimpeded. Known as vasodilatation, the blood vessels dilate, decreasing blood pressure. The process works to heal the body, reducing inflammation, and increasing endorphins.

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Floating works to heal the body on a number of levels. With an increase of blood flow, all major organs receive more oxygen, and are therefore able to function at a higher level. Diseases such as congestive heart failure and hypertension are alleviated.

With the secretion of endorphins, hormones made famous by their role in exercise, practitioners may experience euphoria, which can lead to pain and stress relief.

What Does A Flotation Therapy Session Look Like?

Though the act of casually floating in your own bathtub or pool has its benefits, flotation therapy is a bit more involved. It means spending a good hour or more naked in a deprivation pods. Clients seeking flotation therapy visit spas like Hope Floats in Maryland and set up an appointment just as they would for massage.

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During their session, a client will relax, suspended in skin-temperature water (about 93 degrees) with a large amount of Epsom salts. The salinity allows the body to float effortlessly. Clients are giving earplugs to block out any and all sound. The highly intentional environment puts the body in a kind of coma. That is to say, It’s during this process that the theta brainwaves increase.

Floating Pros for Professional Athletes

Scientists have also documented the positive effects of float therapy on athletic performance, especially in sports that require visual-motor coordination. Basically, float therapy encourages the brain to drop to the theta brainwave, to a resting brain state where difficult problems are synthesized. Additionally, the anti-gravity environment increases blood circulation which, in turn, speeds recovery.

The deep state of relaxation is also referred to as the ‘twilight’ state, a level of consciousness that can be likened to daydreaming. Increasing theta brainwaves has a similar, positive effect on creativity. The theory is that the brain makes up for the lack of external stimuli during floatation therapy. Clients may ‘see’ shapes and sounds during treatment.

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Studies also show that flotation therapy decreases stress hormones such as cortisol. Other benefits include reduction in arthritis, balancing of the left and right brain, regulation of sleeping patterns and detoxification.

Featured photo credit: Štefan Štefančík via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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