What To Expect On Your First Sensory Deprivation Tank Experience
As a birthday gift, two of my mastermind members and I went ‘floating’ in a sensory deprivation tank for the first time. It was a very interesting & unique experience and I’ll definitely do it again soon. In this article, I’m going to share my experiences with my first time in a sensory deprivation tank, so that you’ll know what to expect on your first time.
What Is A Sensory Deprivation Tank?
A sensory deprivation tank (also called floatation tank) is a tank filled with water and Epsom salt, which keeps you floating. The tank is completely dark and you can’t hear anything, so it’s kind of like floating through space for a while. There are no visual, auditory or other forms of inputs. Nothing. For 90 minutes it’s just you and your thoughts floating on very salty water. Sounds cool right?
In a sensory deprivation tank, there are no distractions or inputs. There is nothing to entertain your mind. There is no social media, tv, music or other people to stimulate your brain. Nothing pulling for your attention. Nothing activating your amygdala and stress responses. So, finally, your mind can be at peace and enjoy the space of calm that you’ve given it, which allows you to access deep relaxation.
It really helps to have some experience with meditation in order to get to the deepest levels of relaxation. If you’re able to silence your thoughts and control your breath during your floatation tank session, you’ll basically go into the deepest meditation you’ve ever had.
I was amazed at how relaxed I was after my float session ended. I could literally feel that my stress levels decreased heavily. I felt completely zen and at peace. I’ve never experienced deep relaxation on such a level, despite meditating every single day.
I remember clearly how we walked through the busy and hectic city centre of my hometown Amsterdam. If you’ve ever been there, you know what I’m talking about. People are biking everywhere, tourists are walking on the roads, cars are blowing their horns — enough to activate your stress responses. But this time, I just didn’t care at all. I was completely at peace, fully present to the moment and deeply relaxed.
So, if you experience a lot of stress in life, definitely go for a float session in a sensory deprivation tank, you’ll come out a lot less stressed.
Weirdness (For The First 20–30 Minutes)
The first 20–30 minutes of your first floatation session might be a bit.. weird. It’s a totally new and unfamiliar experience and you’ll need some time to adjust to it. It’s weird to float on water and to see and hear nothing. It can actually be a bit intimidating at first, as it feels like you’re drifting through outer space.
For the first 30 minutes, I was just trying to figure out how to stay floating, how to balance my body, how I could hear nothing except my own heartbeat (which was quite creepy) and I was constantly thinking ‘what will happen next??’. This is normal. The experience is so unique that, like me, you’ll probably need 20–30 minutes before you can fully relax and experience the sensory deprivation tank as it’s meant to be.
Reflection and Deep Thinking
As there are no forms of distractions (literally zero) to stimulate your mind, the perfect environment for self-reflection and deep thinking is created. When there are no visual inputs, no sounds, nothing to play with and nothing to distract you for 60–90 minutes, you’re probably going to reflect on your life, your current endeavours, your actions, your relationships, the things you are happy and unhappy with etc. This can be very confronting and maybe even uncomfortable, but it’s highly necessary.
In today’s society, we hardly spend any time alone anymore. With social media, messaging and Netflix, we have entertainment and distractions at our fingertips. Most people simply don’t give themselves enough distraction-free time and space for self-reflection and deep thinking. They just numb their brain by feeding it more entertainment, distractions and inputs. This is exactly why so many people are overwhelmed and unhappy with their lives these days. They don’t stop to critically think about their life, their behaviour, their thoughts, their actions, their relationships, their career choice or their lifestyle choices. They live life completely on unconscious autopilot. That’s why a sensory deprivation tank is so beneficial — it could lead to your next breakthrough in life.
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” — Blaise Pascal
I remember that my first sensory deprivation session really helped with getting clarity on where I wanted to go in life and what my next set of actions should be. For my next float session, I will prepare 1 specific question that I’d like to have answered. I’ve heard many stories about how effective this strategy is.
When you are floating in ‘space’ for 90 minutes (in my case), you will get bored every now and then. At those moments, it’s funny to observe your own behaviour. I remember I started ‘playing’ a bit in the floatation tank. I pushed myself from side to side every now and then, just to get a bit of entertainment between the deeply meditative state and self-reflection. From that point on, I understood how important play is for humans. No matter if you’re a kid or an adult.
Everyone’s Float Session Is Unique
As we’re all unique human beings, your float session will also be unique. While one person might get the biggest breakthrough of his/her life in a sensory deprivation tank, another person might simply find it relaxing. Maybe one person is going crazy after 60–90 minutes of doing nothing, while another is loving it to the fullest.
In this article, I’ve simply described my personal experiences with my first sensory deprivation tank session, but everyone’s floatation session will be different and unique. It may be that you experience it completely different from how I experienced it. In that case, please let me know!
Now Do It
I’d highly recommend experiencing a sensory deprivation tank, as it will help you with stress management and it may just lead to new breakthroughs in your life. So, instead of merely reading about it, check out where the nearest sensory deprivation tank is for you and go out and do it!
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab