Attitude of Gratitude. 5 ways that gratitude can enhance your float practice.
In this month of October, the Thanksgiving holiday is so much more than just a fabulous turkey dinner. It is also an opportunity to pause and focus on the any parts of your life that you are grateful for. Gratitude is perhaps the best researched emotion out there, and it might just be the most powerful one as well.
Throughout the month of October, I am placing an extra focus on Gratitude as a bit of an experiment on how an active gratitude practice can enhance my days. I am focused on small shifts, like 5 minutes of journaling in the morning instead of checking my phone, pausing to appreciate a great moment, saying Thank You with a huge smile to perfect strangers who hold the door for me, and being thankful for what I already have in my life. I already occasionally start my floats making lists of things that I am grateful for, and I can’t wait to dive more deeply into that this month.
While googling Gratitude practice*, it quickly became obvious to me that many of the same benefits of a Gratitude Practice overlap directly with my Float practice. Here are 5 ways how a gratitude practice can enhance your float practice:
1. Enhancing physical health.
Studies have shown that grateful people experience fewer aches and pains, report feeling happier than other people, tend to take better care of their health, exercise more, and are more likely to schedule regular check- ups, suggesting that giving thanks helps people appreciate and care for their bodies. How great is that! Looking at this from another angle, research also shows that anxiety and chronic pain may be linked in a vicious cycle – being in pain causes anxiety, which brings on more physical pain. Plus, we are learning that pain may also share some biological mechanisms with anxiety and depression.
Spending a few minutes in gratitude in your float has the potential to bring you a double shot of enhanced physical well-being Floating in itself has been clinically proven to reduce pain and relieve anxiety. What would it feel like if you spent a few minutes in your float being grateful for your body and all it does for you, appreciating areas where you feel strong as well as the areas that you feel soft and fluffy?
2. Improving Psychological health.
By shifting your thoughts in a more positive direction, acts and thoughts of gratitude reduce toxic emotions such as envy, resentment, regret and frustration. Focusing on gratitude increases happiness and reduces feelings of depression. Tell me I’m wrong, but I think it is nearly impossible to feel depressed and grateful at the same time.
While you are floating, as you sink into that deeply relaxed state, your stress hormones are also reduced, and your pleasure hormones are increased. This hormonal shift is a big piece of that ‘post-float glow’ feeling. I can’t think of a better environment to clear out all the negative mind chatter that I no longer need.
3. Grateful people sleep better.
Studies have shown that people who spend just 15 minutes in a gratitude practice before bed sleep longer and have higher quality sleep. Perhaps it is a bit of positive thinking and intention setting steers your brain towards sweet dreams and better sleep as well as soothes your nervous system.
Floating also leads to better sleep. Between the Magnesium in the Epsom Salts that helps with sleep, plus the deep relaxation, we hear all the time how post-float sleeps are the absolute BEST!
Floating + Gratitude = the best sleep ever!
4. Improving Self Esteem
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
Focusing and visualizing your own success, celebrating your own accomplishments and clearing out the mind chatter are all easier to accomplish inside a float tank compared to outside. While floating, you have un-interrupted time to deeply discover what your best life looks like.
5. Increasing Mental Strength
For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.
While we are just starting to study, clinically, the impact of floating on PTSD, there is plentiful anecdotal evidence on how floating helps relieve symptoms of PTSD. Between the proven reduction in anxiety symptoms, deep relaxation, and the perfect environment to apply mindfulness techniques that a mental health professional may recommend, floating is instrumental in many peoples’ healing.
So, what are you waiting for? What do you think you could enhance, grow or let go of by including a gratitude practice with your float practice?
Let us know next time you are in, we would love to hear about it!!!
Stay salty my friends,