An out-of-body experience (OBE), which some might also describe as a dissociative episode, is a sensation of your consciousness leaving your body. These episodes are often reported by people who’ve had a near-death experience.
People typically experience their sense of self inside their physical body. You most likely view the world around you from this vantage point. But during an OBE, you may feel as if you’re outside yourself, looking at your body from another perspective.
What really goes on during an OBE? Does your consciousness actually leave your body? Experts aren’t totally sure, but they have a few hunches.
What does an OBE feel like?
It’s hard to nail down what an OBE feels like, exactly.
According to accounts from people who’ve experienced them, they generally involve:
a feeling of floating outside your body
an altered perception of the world, such as looking down from a height
the feeling that you’re looking down at yourself from above
a sense that what’s happening is very real
OBEs typically happen without warning and usually don’t last for very long.
If you have a neurological condition, such as epilepsy, you may be more likely to experience OBEs, and they may happen more frequently. But for many people, an OBE will happen very rarely, maybe only once in a lifetime.
Some estimates suggest at least 5 percent of people have experienced the sensations associated with an OBE, though some suggest this number is higher.