One Breath: A Short Story on Floating and Anxiety

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | March 11th, 2019

When I was 18, I had my first panic attack. I had experienced anxiety before but never anything that came close to a panic attack, let alone one that would completely take over my physical body. I’ll never forget the day when it happened—how my joints locked up, how I completely lost my vision and how I could feel my chest tightening so much that my heartbeat was pulsating up into my temples. This was something I never thought I’d ever have to experience in my life, but I did—and it was scary and it was very, very real.

It took me a long time to learn how to breathe through the uncomfortable moments that anxiety inevitably brought to my doorstep. Just as I thought I had mastered it, anxiety came back again like a loyal companion. I had began to practice yoga and trained as a ballet dancer, so I thought the concept of conscious breathing had been pretty well integrated into my life. It wasn’t until I was later introduced to floatation therapy that I realized I truly had no idea how powerful of a tool the breath is.

My very first float felt incredibly freeing to my body in a way I hadn’t ever felt before. I could barely keep still I was so excited with the sensation of being weightless, but still in the back corner of my mind, I felt anxious. The tightness in my chest began and it kept going and going until my sternum popped so loudly it startled me and I jumped. After that release, all I could hear was the sound of my heart beating through the water. It was calm and I felt calm. The tightness had subsided so I took a deep breath in and exhaled out loudly. I really heard my breath for the first time and the sound frequency of it rippling across the water. I noticed that something subtle started to shift within me and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel anxious. I realized that one breath, a single breath, is really all you need to change our internal perspective and if I could change my thoughts on how I breathe and relax, I could potentially say goodbye to anxiety, for good.

Roughly 1 out of every 13 people in the world have anxiety and in recent years, that number seems only to be on the rise. There is something here, something that is really powerful and can help all walks of life face their internal challenges. There is no doubt in my mind that floating is one of the most effective ways to help people, now and into the future. 

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