“Self care” has recently become modern society’s newest buzzword du jour. A quick web search for the term begets over 31 million results with articles that cover everything from managing chronic medical conditions, to finding work-life balance, to putting anxious minds at ease with encouraging quotes.
Generally speaking, the agreed upon definition of self care is any deliberate, self-controlled action taken to benefit one’s own health or well-being. In an increasingly competitive society that operates around the clock, it’s no wonder so many of us are searching for ways to reconnect with our own needs.
From a psychological standpoint, the idea of self care isn’t new. Abraham Maslow created his Hierarchy of Needs in 1943, and researchers have been considering the question of self-fulfillment ever since. While Maslow’s original model has been refined over the years, the basic tenets still stand: We all strive to satisfy ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally, with the ultimate goal of living a gratifying life.
Simple enough, right?
The problem, of course, is that none of us lives in a vacuum. The demands of day-to-day life require each of us to constantly shift our attention away from our own needs. Even if we remember to steal a moment for ourselves, the way we use that time tends to be colored by social pressures – the demands of work, family, and social life can cloud our desires, making our own needs hazy.
The broader self care movement is an encouragement toward the reflection required to understand our own unique equation for happiness. It includes questions as simple as “how can I eat for better health?” and as complex as “how do I find peace of mind?”. However, the heart of the self care discussion is really about one overarching idea: How do I connect, purely, with my own mind, body, and spirit?
The simple answer: Float your way to mindfulness.
Self care has gained momentum at a time that constant social connections cause us to unintentionally dissociate from ourselves. Consider the last time you truly unplugged and spent time with yourself without interruption. Even a buzzing cell phone in the other room can pull our focus away from ourselves as we consider who is reaching out to us and what they may need.
While there are a variety of tips and tricks to solve each self care problem as we come to it, float therapy encourages the type of mindfulness that helps us tackle all of the challenges that self care aims to resolve.
Think of floating like hitting restart on your brain the same way you would on your computer. When we’ve run too many programs at once, we notice our computer responds more slowly to commands, bogged down by background noise that we forgot we had engaged. Our brains undergo the same type of stress when we try to operate on cognitive overload, making it difficult for us to discern even basic human needs. Think of the last time you accidentally skipped a meal – your brain was trying to organize so much information that you didn’t even register hunger!
By taking an hour to float on a regular basis, we allow our brain to hit restart and gain clarity. With practice, we no longer need to consult all of our mindfulness how-to books because we have already taken the time to re-engage with our mind and body through float therapy. Understanding our present needs and finding a way to satisfy them becomes increasingly simple as we become accustomed to operating without background noise.
The list of floating benefits is staggering in its breadth. Research has shown that mood, focus, creativity, sleep quality, and the ability to cope with stress all improve with regular float therapy sessions. Even behavioral psychologists recommend floating as an aid in treatment of addictions.
What do each of these outcomes have in common? Mindfulness. Simply choosing to engage in a restful, reflective practice can provide the solution to many common self care questions.
Instead of trying to sort through the life-hacks, how-tos, and endless lists of tips and tricks the next time you feel dissatisfied, schedule an appointment at your local True REST location. Let the power of deep relaxation guide your health and well-being.