Flotation Tank: A Quick & Easy Way To Beat Stress

JREI first heard about the flotation tank (also known as the isolation or sensory deprivation tank) from being a regular listener of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. As someone looking for ways to better manage stress both from life and the gym, and is always looking for new experiences, I decided to give it a try.

Little known fact: I’m afraid of water AND the dark AND am unreasonably worried about accidentally drowning in the bath tub or a small rain puddle, so I was extremely hesitant about this experience – to this day I haven’t successfully floated in any other body of water.

Thankfully the staff was knowledgeable and friendly enough to answer my questions, one of which was if I would be the first person in the history of the world to go bye bye in the tank, and if so could they make up a way cooler, heroic story to tell my mom, preferably one where I died saving a bus filled with orphaned puppies from a deranged serial killer.

I was shown to the tank and given the preliminaries – session length, what to do in case I panicked or needed help, putting wax inside my ears to prevent water from getting in, etc. Once I was left on my own, I did the only thing that made sense: get nekkid.

Stick with me here. I’m not being creepy.

You can enter the tank in a bathing suit or swimming trunks, but the main benefit is the sensation of nothingness, so if you do that then the feeling of material pressing against or clinging to your skin might take away from the flotation experience, so butt nekkid is the way to go, people.

From there I opened the hatch, descending into darkness, closing the door behind me.

And then there was nothing.

flotation-tank

As a 6 foot tall gentleman of considerable thickness, the inside was spacious enough to allow me to move my body around the tank without feeling too constricted. It did however take awhile for me to stop tensing my body up, preparing for inevitable moment when science failed me and I started to sink. Then came the business of finding the most comfortable resting position: do I go beachside hands-behind-my-head style, or do I cross my arms like I’m a vampire in a coffin waiting for sunset?

My first time was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. No sensation of feeling anything against my skin, no sound and no light; the closest thing that I can liken it to would be meditating while floating on your back through outer space if suddenly all the lights in the universe turned off.

With this physical stimulus gone, the only thing that remained was mental chatter, and there was a ton of it. I thought about what I was going to eat for dinner, if I accidentally forgot to lock my apartment door, if there was anyway that I could become a taste tester for Cinnabon, and if there were any creepy infrared cameras spying on my less-than-presentable dangler.

For the first 10 to 15 minutes, it felt like I was sitting in a room filled with a bunch of people who were having 20 different conversations at the same time and all I wanted to do was tell them to shut their silly faces.

I breathed into my stomach and out my nose at a slow and controlled pace. Once I did, the thoughts started to subside as I focused less on them and more on my breath. After a few minutes of this, I began to experience the most relaxed sense of prolonged peace that I can ever recall having.

Time felt like it was slowing down and speeding up simultaneously; the more relaxed I was, sinking into the experience and letting go of any expectations that I had, the faster time seemed to go. I watched thoughts flow in and out of my head. If one came in that I was particularly interesting to me, I held on to it for a bit and once it was no longer useful to do so I let it go, sending it on it’s merry way.

After what seemed like just a few minutes in this state, I was stirred by a knock on the tank door – my hour was up.

The rest of my day was extremely relaxed. Situations that would’ve annoyed the hell out of me just rolled off my back, and this feeling of “ahhhhhhhhhhh” carried well into the rest of my week.

Each experience is profoundly different. Some sessions I used to surrender and let go of as many thoughts as possible, and others I used as uninterrupted problem solving time for any particular issue I was having.

Even if you just do it once a month, you can’t put a price on an hour of uninterrupted solitude – no voices, no text alerts, no email swooshes or people looking for you to do something for them.

Since making it a regular part of my life, I can’t speak highly enough of this experience. If you’re the type of person who is easily overwhelmed, is filled with anxiety or can’t seem to pull yourself out of “GO GO GO!” mode, you owe yourself to give this a try.

Float Questions

What are the benefits?

To name a few:

  • Quick reduction in stress levels
  • Decrease in stress related pains & anxiety
  • Can help with depression
  • Better sleep
  • Enhanced creativity via shift in brainwave activity
  • Make your skin feel like magic

Where can I find a flotation tank?

There are hundreds of locations worldwide. Here are a few sites you can use to find one in your area.

http://www.floatation.com/wheretofloat.html

http://www.where-to-float.com/

http://floatationlocations.com/where-to-float/

Will I drown?

Nope. Thanks to 800+ lbs of Epsom salt in about 9 inches of water, it’s impossible to drown due to the density of water. The only way I can think of is if you fall asleep and mysteriously flop over onto your stomach…so don’t do that.

Will I run out of air?

Nay. Fresh air is constantly being circulated through the tank. If you feel claustrophobic, you can always get out at any time.

Rog, you got naked. Is it clean in there, or do you now have Ebola?

Quiet, you! You’re required to shower before entering the tank, and the tank is cleaned after each session through a variety of methods to ensure that those nasty microbes don’t live to see the light of day.

How long should I float?

A typical session lasts anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes. You choose the length, and can get out when needed.

Any last words of advice?

Avoid caffeine or other stimulants a few hours before you float, otherwise it can impact your ability to relax. Make sure that you don’t have any open cuts, because this salt is not a game and you will pay dearly for it.

Also, if your eye itches, DO NOT SCRATCH IT!

Audio Lovin

Photo by: Spiros Politis

I’ve done a slew of podcasts over the last few months, so instead of the normal weekly writing I wanted to give your eyes a break and make sweet, sweet audio lovin to your ears.

Full Disclosure Fitness

http://fulldisclosurefitness.com/fdf-episode-061-rog-law-of-rog-law-fitness/

The FitCast

Part 1: http://thefitcast.com/episode-304-roglaws-rules-of-fit-living-part-i

Part 2: http://thefitcast.com/episode-305-roglaws-rules-of-fit-living-part-ii

Fit Smart

This is the podcast that I record with my partner in crime JC Deen.

Our internet home: http://fitsmartcrew.com/

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-fitsmart-podcast/id506717061?mt=2

Muscle For Life

http://www.muscleforlife.com/rog-law-fitness-interview/

The Damian Brown Show

http://www.damianbrown.com/podcast-episode-1-lifes-too-short-not-to-be-awesome

The Kryptonite Report

http://www.kryptonitereport.com/episode-23-with-rog-law-sexification/

The Joe Rogan Experience

The episode in all its glory.

Training Music Bonus

I’ve been known to go to the gym every now and then, and when I do I like to make sure that my ears are thoroughly assaulted by the finest of tunes. Here’s my personal playlist that gets me through my sessions.

The Art of War

Please know that if Beyonce pops up in the middle of a heavy set of squats and you crumble to the ground, questioning everything that you know and love about me, I regret nothing.

Man Wastes Life So You Don’t Have To

I don’t know about you, but I’m very familiar with the occassional sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me I don’t have any idea what the hell is going on and that I’m just a series of unfortunate events away from going broke and being forced to breed Alpacas while moonlighting as a carny to make ends meet…or at the very least that I’m spending too much time assing around and not doing the things that make feel alive.

Adorable, but ain't nobody got time for that.

Adorable, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

Maybe you haven’t descended into the depths of Alpaca farming that I have, but I’m sure you can relate.

Most of us more or less wrangle this feeling at some point and start to navigate our lives in the direction that we want to go in, making the necessary adjustments along the way. But then there are those that don’t, who let the momentum of the life that they’re living carry them away without any resistance, despite their inner voice telling them to keep fighting the good fighting.

Below is one of those stories via Reddit user JohnJerryson.

A Cautionary Tale

Hi, I my name’s John. I’ve been lurking for a while, but I’ve finally made an account to post this. I need to get my life off my chest. About me. I’m a 46 year old banker and I have been living my whole life the opposite of how I wanted.

All my dreams, my passion, gone. In a steady 9-7 job. 6 days a week. For 26 years. I repeatedly chose the safe path for everything, which eventually changed who I was.

Today I found out my wife has been cheating on me for the last 10 years. My son feels nothing for me. I realised I missed my father’s funeral FOR NOTHING. I didn’t complete my novel, travelling the world, helping the homeless. All these things I thought I knew to be a certainty about myself when i was in my late teens and early twenties. If my younger self had met me today, I would have punched myself in the face. I’ll get to how those dreams were crushed soon.

Let’s start with a description of me when I was 20. It seemed only yesterday when I was sure I was going to change the world. People loved me, and I loved people. I was innovative, creative, spontaneous, risk-taking and great with people. I had two dreams. The first, was writing a utopic/dystopic book.

The second, was travelling the world and helping the poor and homeless. I had been dating my wife for four years by then. Young love. She loved my spontaneity, my energy, my ability to make people laugh and feel loved.

I knew my book was going to change the world. I would show the perspective of the ‘bad’ and the ‘twisted’, showing my viewers that everybody thinks differently, that people never think what the do is wrong. I was 70 pages through when i was 20. I am still 70 pages in, at 46.

By 20, I had backpacking around New Zealand and the Phillipines. I planned to do all of Asia, then Europe, then America (I live in Australia by the way). To date, I have only been to New Zealand and the Phillipines.

Now, we get to where it all went wrong. My biggest regrets. I was 20. I was the only child. I needed to be stable. I needed to take that graduate job, which would dictate my whole life.

To devote my entire life in a 9-7 job. What was I thinking? How could I live, when the job was my life? After coming home, I would eat dinner, prepare my work for the following day, and sleep at 10pm, to wake up at 6am the following day. God, I can’t remember the last time I’ve made love to my wife.

Yesterday, my wife admitted to cheating on me for the last 10 years. 10 years. That seems like a long time, but i can’t comprehend it. It doesn’t even hurt. She says it’s because I’ve changed. I’m not the person I was. What have I been doing in the last 10 years? Outside of work, I really can’t say anything. Not being a proper husband. Not being ME.

Who am I? What happened to me? I didn’t even ask for a divorce, or yell at her, or cry. I felt NOTHING. Now I can feel a tear as I write this. But not because my wife has been cheating on me, but because I am now realising I have been dying inside.

What happened to that fun-loving, risk-taking, energetic person that was me, hungering to change the world? I remember being asked on a date by the most popular girl in the school, but declining her for my now-wife. God, I was really popular with the girls in high school. In university/college too. But i stayed loyal. I didn’t explore. I studied everyday.

Remember all that backpacking and book-writing I told you about? That was all in the first few years of college. I worked part-time and splurged all that I had earned. Now, I save every penny. I don’t remember a time I spend anything on anything fun. On anything for myself. What do I even want now?

My father passed ten years ago. I remember getting calls from mom, telling me he was getting sicker and sicker. I was getting busier and busier, on the verge of a big promotion. I kept putting my visit off, hoping in my mind he would hold on. He died, and I got my promotion. I haven’t seen him in 15 years.

When he died, I told myself it didn’t matter what I didn’t see him. Being an atheist, I rationalized that being dead, it wouldn’t matter anyway. WHAT WAS I THINKING? Rationalizing everything, making excuses to put things off. Excuses. Procrastination. It all leads to one thing, nothing. I rationalized that financial security was the most important thing.

I now know, that it definitely is not. I regret doing nothing with my energy, when I had it. My passions. My youth. I regret letting my job take over my life. I regret being an awful husband, a money-making machine.

I regret not finishing my novel, not travelling the world. Not being emotionally there for my son. Being a damn emotionless wallet.

If you’re reading this, and you have a whole life ahead of you, please. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t leave your dreams for later. Relish in your energy, your passions. Don’t stay on the internet with all your spare time (unless your passion needs it).

Please, do something with your life while your young. DO NOT settle down at 20. DO NOT forget your friends, your family. Yourself. Do NOT waste your life. Your ambitions. Like I did mine. Do not be like me.

Courtesy of Colin Wright

Courtesy of Colin Wright

This is your life and no one else is responsible for what you do with it. If there’s something that you want to do but have been putting off for any number of reasons, make some progress towards it, no matter how small,  NOW.

Join a gym, send that e-mail you’ve been talking about doing, take an exercise class, buy a recipe book and cook a meal even if it ends up tasting like a toxic shoe. Do anything you can to throw a wrench in the mechanical cog of momentum.

If you don’t, no one else will.

How To Take Charge Of Your Motivation

Photo By Lee Scott

From world leaders to authors and movie stars, we all have these moments of blah. Motivation can be a fickle and elusive force, leaving us wondering if we really want the things that we set out to achieve.

One moment you’re on top of the world, moving towards your goals, cutting through tasks with ninja-like speed and accuracy, and then the next you’re derailed, unmotivated and left wondering how it all fell apart so quickly.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. You have the necessary tools to harness this seemingly magical force, using it to your advantage whenever the situation demands, and it all starts with reconnecting with the ball of awesome that is you.

What’s Your Story?

Photo credit: Myung Jung Kim/PA Wire

Bruce Wayne became Batman after the death of his parents.

Peter Parker became Spiderman after that whole radioactive spider biting him thing went down.

Bruce Lee’s training and philosophy changed dramatically due to the outcome of a fight he had with a rival martial artist.

On a less heroic note, we both come from vastly different backgrounds. JC was an athlete growing up and was introduced to strength training early on. Rog, on the other hand, grew up a gamer and didn’t pick up a barbell until he was in his 20s.

We’re all a bundle of unique stories. Use it to your advantage.

Psychologically they’re an amazing tool for creating lasting change because you have a pool of experiences to draw from – everything up until this very moment is at your disposal. It represents the switch, that moment when your life begins to shift in a fundamental way away from both where you came from and where you are towards where you want to be.

This is just the beginning, however. The real ingredient behind getting your motivational engine started and keeping it running amidst the occasional stats and stops is connecting your story to a powerful why.

Unabashedly Choose Your Goal

CYOA

Want to find a simple, no-fuss way to manage your diet and training yet well-meaning people keep piling complication upon complication on you?

What if you just want to look great naked yet are constantly talked into trying methods that aren’t bringing you any closer to inspiring shock and awe when you jumped out of that birthday cake in your birthday suit?

Your goal is yours and yours alone – don’t let anyone hijack it.

It doesn’t have to appeal to the sensibilities of anyone else but yourself. In the end you’re going to be the one making the necessary sacrifices and doing the work needed to get there, so making sure that you’re physically and emotionally invested first is key

Write It Down

Pencil

Scribble it on a napkin, put it in a word document or carve it into a tree if you’re feeling a bit old school. The mission here is to write it down, getting it out of your head and bringing it into the real world.

When you own your goal like this, you set the stage of success in two important ways.

First, it forces you to make a decision. By putting pen to pad (or fingers to keyboard), you’ve said in a tangible way that this is what you want. Doing this not only makes your goal more real, but it also serves as a beacon, directing your internal GPS towards Awesomeville. You can’t hit what you can’t see.

You don’t need to know exactly how you’ll get there yet. Right now this is enough to get you going.

Secondly, it narrows your vision. Choices become a lot easier to make. What you do either leads you closer towards your goal or it doesn’t. By knowing what to say yes to, you also identify what you need to say no to as well.

Instead of getting distracted and led astray by every shiny thing along the way, you’re able to stay focused on the things that will bring you the most value and results for your time invested. In the great words of the sage and philosopher Mr. T, you cut out all the unnecessary jibba-jabba.

Pass The “Vanilla Ice” Test

Ice

In the mid 90s, rapper Vanilla Ice was allegedly held upside down over a balcony by a record executive who threatened to drop him unless he came up with a few million dollars. True or not, this actually has a lot to do finding your own motivation.

And if you don’t know who Vanilla Ice is, I’m not sure if I feel sad for your soul, or jealous that I’ll never again be as pure and innocent as you are right now.

When it comes to our goals, we often have what’s considered a base reason. We want to get in shape, be strong, lose some weight, feel good, be healthy or a host of other generic answers.

Many times our analysis of what we want goes no further than this, and because of it we set our chances of success incredibly low right from the start.

Put yourself in Ice’s shoes. Imagine someone holding you over a balcony ready to drop unless you told them why you want to achieve your goals, do you think you’d give them some of the baseline answers from above?

If so think again, because it’s a long way down.

Friedrich Nietzsche said that he who has a strong enough why can bear any how. This is critical as you’ll undoubtedly encounter resistance and setbacks along the way to achieving anything worthwhile. If your why isn’t built on a solid foundation of personal meaning on an emotional level, it becomes far easier to abandon your goal whenever difficulties arise.

Your why will serve as the kindle for your fire during times of doubt.

Do you want to feel more confident & comfortable in your own skin?

Do you want to be able to play with your children as much as their little hearts desire?

Do you want to stay healthy so as not to end up like a loved one who died far too soon due to not taking care of themselves?

Do you want to feel more attractive to and have more sex with your partner?

We can’t answer this question for you – it’s up to you to fill in the blank. As long as your reasons are true to yourself and get you absolutely excited about pursuing your goal, resonating with something deep inside of yourself, you’ve passed the test.

Action Precedes Motivation

We’re going to touch more on this in the habit module, but wanted to leave you with this idea. When was the last time you felt motivated?

When was the last time you had that aha moment or spark to get going only to have it fade away within a day or two. It feels extremely easy to act when we are motivated, but it’s fairly difficult to act when we’re not.

So how do we combat this? It’s worth stating that you’re never going to be completely moitvated all the time. If you are, we’d like some of your secret sauce. The main thing that separates those who could stuff done, and those who don’t are the ones who don’t rely on motivation to act.

So, even if you don’t feel like doing something, it’s better to act out of knowing what you want your outcome to look like, rather than waiting for more motivation.

Use Past Mistakes To Fuel Future Success

If this is your first foray into pursuing a fitness or health goal, we envy you – you’re about to learn a ton about yourself in the process.

If you’ve been around the block a few times and still haven’t achieved what you’re looking for, chances are you’ve encountered the same personal road blocks over and over again.

Instead of viewing mistakes as failures that offer you nothing, change your perspective and see them for what they are – ways that simply didn’t work. By knowing what don’t work, it frees you up to learn from them and focus on finding ways that do.

You can also reach out to people who’ve accomplished what you’re looking to do and ask them what pitfalls they encountered along the way. It may seem intimidating at first, but odds are they’ll be more than willing to help someone who is in a position they were themselves once in.

When you’re in uncharted goal territory, it helps to have a partial road map pieced together from both your personal experiences and those of others who’ve been successful.

As you get better at bouncing back better and wiser from your setbacks, jumping into the fray once again, the process becomes more enjoyable. Refine your course as necessary and let the process itself, not the reward you seek, become its own reward.

With this mindset firmly in place, it’s not a matter of if you’ll reach your goal, but when.

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

The Great Comparison Hoax

Comparison

Death by a thousand cuts.

Luckily I don’t mean a literal death, since that’s the least anabolic activity of all time and would surely negatively impact your gains. The death I’m speaking of is more sinister, capable of covering your otherwise great life with a general malaise that seems unshakable.

Most of us know objectively that to compare ourselves to others is an exercise in futility. We’re emotional creatures, and logic and rational thinking get drop kicked right out of the window when it comes to our wants and desires.

When it comes to how we look, how strong we are, how fast we’re progressing and everything in between, our emotions can push our rational minds out of the driver’s seat, take the wheel, and drive us straight towards Crazyville.

Like sticking a fork into an electrical socket, or taking a 3 hour nap while you’re cooking a steak in an oven (I’m not alone in the last one…right?), comparing ourselves to others is more often than not a horrible idea that no good can come from.

Much like a moth drawn to the flame, we just can’t help ourselves. None of us are truly immune to it.

Our Behind-The-Scenes VS Their Highlight Reel

Grass

We’re with ourselves 24/7, and as a result we know more about us than any outside observer would; our motivations, goals and hot button issues. When we go into comparison mode, our brain wrangles up those demons and throws them right back into our faces, completely unfiltered.

The problem is that we aren’t comparing our demons to someone else’s – we’re pitting them against only what we can see on the surface, and given that people typically put their best foot forward in the public, this is rarely an accurate portrait of the situation.

Imagine yourself doing all that you can to get results in the gym. You’re logging your workouts, keeping track of your calories and nutrients, making time to prepare your meals when you would love nothing more than to ease up on the reigns just a little bit.

Then one day you see someone working out there with a physique that you would sell your first born child for, casually strolling through their session. And here’s what kicks you right in the junk: they’re eating a candy bar post workout.

All of a sudden, your inner comparison beast busts loose.

Why do they look like that and I don’t? They clearly don’t work as hard as I do. I train hard ERRYday. #BeastMode #NoDaysOff #AnotherRidiculousHashtagHere.

 I take my nutrition way more seriously and here they are eating a candy bar, looking like they just walked off the set of a photo shoot.

But you don’t know the full story. You don’t know what they sacrificed to get there, or anything about them. All you have to go off is this brief snapshot in time, and it’s easy for the comparing mind to take that and create a vivid picture that’s far from reality.

Getting caught in this trap can cause you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t do. I’m talking constant program hopping, ridiculous diets, setting unrealistic time frames for yourself, and setting out on a never-ending quest searching for “the secret”.

Our worst vs their best. Our inside vs their outside. It’s always a losing battle.

Welcome To The Black Hole Of Suck

this-is-going-to-suck

The appetite of a black hole is insatiable, feeding off of everything around it. When it comes to comparisons, this is the exact scenario that we find ourselves in – and it will drain your life dry if you let it.

In this mode, nothing is ever enough. You constantly feel inferior.

You’re never strong, because someone else is stronger.

You never feel truly feel comfortable in your skin, because someone is always leaner, has bigger biceps or more ab definition.

You aren’t making progress fast enough, because someone is always achieving more in a shorter amount of time.

Comparison feeds off of these types of thoughts., and it never ends.

I once dated a woman whose ex boyfriend was a UFC fighter. After a quick Google search to find out who he was, I went from being completely happy with my development and progress to feeling like Captain America pre-Soldier Serum.

Here I am, a guy who works out 3x a week, loves to eat ice cream by the pint, enjoys a good marathon video game session and more often than not falls asleep to a YouTube video because I stayed up way too late clicking my way through the internet rabbit hole, comparing myself to an Olympic champion with ungodly genetics who trains more hours in a week than I do in a single month and makes a living training to punch a hole through the soul of other elite athletes in front of thousands of people.

If I were looking for a recipe to help make myself feel like hot diggity dog shit, I hit the nail right on the head.

By constantly sucking in all of this outside stimuli without any filter, letting it bombard our inner world, all we do is diminish our own accomplishments, taking the wind out of our sails for no good reason.

The Only Way To Slay The Comparison Beast

Conan_swing_sword

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

The act of comparing may never really go away, but you can turn the tide in your favor.

When you notice in the moment that you’re falling victim to this mindset, stop immediately before the thoughts build any momentum.

Take a deep breath and relax. By doing this, you go from being reactionary to proactive, creating space to decide what you’re going to do next with the information you have.

This may sound woo woo as all hell, but give it a try. Your breath (that thing that keeps you alive) is intimately connected to controlling how you feel in any given moment.

Is your training partner progressing faster than you? Great – there’s something that you can learn from them. Maybe you won’t have the same results as them for a host of reasons, but if nothing else it shows you a vision of what is possible, and you can bring that energy and excitement to your workouts.

There will always be someone better than you out there, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. All that you can focus on and truly control is the effort that you bring to the task.

You’re the only person that you need to compare yourself to, and only to check-in and make sure that you’re improving at a rate that’s acceptable for you and your goals.

When this is the focus, what others are doing becomes irrelevant.

Let me be clear. I’m not saying that you can’t look at what others are doing and using that as fuel to push yourself forward.

Sometimes seeing others making progress towards their goals can be a healthy gut check for you, allowing you to reconnect and give yourself an honest assessment as to if you’re playing it safe or if you have more to give.

For others it does more harm than good. It’s like fire: you can use it to warm up your house or burn it to the ground. The devil is in the details, and it will take time to learn when to push forward and when to be kinder to yourself and pull back a bit.

Instead letting the accomplishments of others feel like a slight towards you, use them to build yourself up. Choose to be inspired by what others are doing, no longer making yourself the victim of outside forces, and tap into a constantly renewable source of motivation and energy – yourself.