in partnership
Spending an hour in a sensory deprivation tank can be an extremely relaxing way to spend an afternoon. (Image: Urban Float)

Feeling Stressed? Try floating

When I lived in Los Angeles I (begrudgingly) grew accustomed to spending at least 30 minutes in my car to travel three miles. Just recently I visited my former city for the first time in nearly four years and realized how grateful I am that I live in Seattle and my morning commute is only a few steps to my desk. I can meet friends for dinner or be downtown for a meeting in roughly 10 minutes. I'm happy to be home.
After returning from our trip, I decided that I needed to find a way to decompress from two-hour treks to dinner and long, sweltering lines at Disneyland. How about a one-hour float in a dark, silent pod? Yes. Where do I sign up?
The answer to that question is closer than you might think. Urban Float is a mind-altering oasis right in Fremont. It was my first time to try floating (in a pod, anyway) and the friendly staff explained the process and helped ease my fears about getting trapped inside the float pod, never to be heard from again.
When you're inside the tank, you have the option of music throughout your float or music to ease you in and out of the experience with silence in between. You have a choice of lighting too - blue light, a spectrum of colors, or total darkness. I went back and forth between blue light and complete darkness until I could stop my brain from venturing into creepy Silence of the Lambs territory, and finally settled into complete light-free silence.
Although I suffer from a mild to moderate case of what Elizabeth Gilbert calls "monkey mind," there was a brief moment just over halfway through my 60-minute treatment when I experienced perfect serenity. All of the Mickey Mouse ears and horn-honking traffic floated away. My brain was reset, and I was back to thinking about fonts again.
Like any sort of stress-relieving exercise or practice, the more times you do it, the better you'll benefit from it. I definitely want to try it again. Urban Float is located in Seattle at 3420 Fremont Ave North. A second location is scheduled to open on the Eastside in Kirkland on October 1st.