Water is the most precious entity to our well-being. It is the one resource that is taken for granted by the developed world, while third world countries are fighting for its very essence. We cherish it, need it and of course, take it for granted.
Us, as a society though seek it. We seek its very being. It is often recommended by health professionals to drink 8 ounce glasses of water every day. When we think about water more closely, our lives revolve around it. It is the healthiest drink to consume in its purest form and a replenishment for our bodies to revitalize.
Although, it is a clear-colored entity we often associate water with the color, blue –the color of the ocean from the reflection of the sky. We are fascinated by it; we analyze it; write about it; take pictures of it; spend our vacations near it by being near a lake or watching the waves crash against the shore. We enjoy many water sports like swimming, sailing, boating, fishing and often dream about the day where we would have our dream homes near massive lakes or overlooking the ocean. It is indeed, fascinating. It calms us, and puts us at a peaceful state of mind.
Studies are being conducted to see why the human brain really reacts positively to the presence of the ocean and water’s very presence.
William J. Nichols, a marine biologist, argues that at the end of the day we (humans) yearn and have a “blue mind”. This blue mind, as he describes it is, “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment”, when we are near an ocean, lake or other massive bodies of water. We all strive for happiness and it is no wonder why the color, blue is overwhelmingly mankind’s most favorite color according to numerous surveys conducted throughout many decades.
In Nichols’s July 2015 groundbreaking research publication – Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, he illustrates ways through scientific research in which water touches us on a deep and a neurological level. His Blue Marble Project talks about how water can heal the mind and body and help you tap into your most calm and creative state of being.
In fact, many successful entrepreneurs and the world’s greatest minds have attributed their thoughts, ideas and successes by being in a “blue” state of mind.
Here are some ways as to how water affects us:
1. Water (Ocean) is Meditative.
Nichols points to this as having a “soft fascination” where we are engaged by its gentle movement but not so much so as we are too taken aback by it. This fascination helps put the brain at a relaxed, albeit focused state of mind whereby growing research is pointing to this as reducing stress levels, anxiety, relieving depression, improving focus, sleep quality (hence why white noise of the water is encouraged to listen to, to relieve insomnia) and creating more clarity.
2. Water Simplifies Our Lives.
Think about it. In our day to day lives, our brains are constantly being overworked, overthought from our homes to our workplaces and even more complicated by how “connected” we each are these days by the technology we hold in our hands. Water simplifies our lives. How? The gentle movements of the water are still creating stimuli within our brains, but in an exceptional way. Our brains are still working and do not shut down, Nichols points out, but working in a more relaxed, unique way simplified by this massive “blue” space. Its visual effects by our eyes is enough to trigger these stimuli. Thus, why the presence of water gives us rest.
3. Water Inspires Us (For the Better).
This rationale explains why the best engagement/wedding/romance photos are taken by the water or ocean, rather. It helps us become more connected with ourselves and each other. This feeling of awe, Nichols argues, creates more empathy because when you are looking at something that is much larger than ourselves, our connection to the universe and each other is strengthened. Nichols states, “it puts you in a ‘we’ state of mind.”
4. Exercising by the Water or Ocean is Beneficial.
Our bodies and minds get a major positive health boost when exercising near water and even in nature in general. Positive neural stimuli are released when your brain is not distracted by the crowded gym, loud thumping gym equipment and even more obtrusive music playing. Stressed? Stumped? Nichols argues to find a river trail and bike/run along it or find a pool to jump in and you will feel the positive effects alone.
5. Blue Mind = Creative Mind.
Ask any successful professional or entrepreneur and they will tell you the same thing. When we are anxious, stumped, stressed, worried or burned out – immediately surround yourself with water, better yet jump in the shower, Nichols says. Maintaining a blue mind puts us in a relaxed state of mind and therefore provides a clearer mind that fosters the environment of creativity.
Nichols further goes on to state:
“The shower is a proxy for the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean…You step in the shower, and you remove a lot of the visual stimulation of your day. Auditorily, it is the same thing — it is a steady stream of ‘blue noise.’ You’re not hearing voices or processing ideas. You step into the shower and it is like a mini-vacation.”
Water, whether it being a bath, a shower, a lake and even that of the ocean and its effects are very real. The positive neurological effects it has on our brains are so important to our mental health as well as our bodies. We should always remember to take advantage of it, as much as possible.
Originally published at www.silentmind.co