Water is important for us in so many ways. But the best one is that it can reduce stress and bring us sustainable happiness.
It seems like there's something new to stress about every day. So much so that sometimes you just want to drop everything and go to a place where you can just gaze into the sunset and the glimmering water. You can't explain it but something about being near the water just calms you down and washes your stress away.
Well, you might actually be on to something. According to best-selling author and marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, even just being near a body of water - sea, river, ocean, lake - can boost your mental health and happiness.
“The term ‘blue mind’ describes the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on or under water,” Nichols told USA Today in 2017. “It’s the antidote to what we refer to as ‘red mind,’ which is the anxious, over-connected and over-stimulated state that defines the new normal of modern life.”
Carol Tuttle, certified energy therapist, founder of The Carol Tuttle Healing Center, and author of the book Mastering Affluence says to Elite Daily,"When we were in utero in our mother's womb, we heard the sounds that water can actually replicate. We were also held in a body of water in the womb. These primal references create a subconscious reminder of feeling safe and protected in a world that can feel very vulnerable."
Through his research, Nichols states that being near water can help us achieve “an elevated and sustained happiness.” He said this happens as water aids in “lowering stress and anxiety, increasing an overall sense of well-being and happiness, a lower heart and breathing rate, and safe, better workouts. Aquatic therapists are increasingly looking to the water to help treat and manage PTSD, addiction, anxiety disorders, autism and more.”
It can even boost your immune system, increase your white blood cells, and lengthen your life.
In a study conducted by Michael Depledge of the University of Exeter medical school in the UK and environmental psychologist Mat White, even just looking at pictures of water can bring down anxiety and stress. In the study, they showed participants photos of greenery and water. They found that the subjects preferred places with water.
“We repeated that with urban scenes, from fountains in squares to canals running through the city, and once again people hugely preferred the urban environments with more water in them,” Depledge told the Guardian. “Images with green space received a positive response... But images with both green and blue got the most favorable response of all.”
Nichols mentions that while we are awake, the benefits are numerous but that doesn't end with daylight. During the night, being around water can even help us sleep better.
“There is some research that says people may sleep better when they are adjacent to nature,” W. Christopher Winter, M.D., author of The Sleep Solution, told Conde Nast Traveler. “No wonder sleep machines always feature the sounds of rain, the ocean, or a flowing river.”
According to Tessera Brandon, seeing or living near water can help clear out your mind of the various unwanted distractions or unpleasant thoughts in there. This can result in deep, good quality sleep.
Additionally, “The shower is a proxy for the…ocean,” Nichols told the Huffington Post. “You step in the shower, and you remove a lot of the visual stimulation of your day. Auditorially, it’s the same thing—it’s a steady stream of ‘blue noise.’ You’re not hearing voices or processing ideas. You step into the shower and it’s like a mini-vacation.”
So any time you need a place to get away and relax, find somewhere near a water body. You're bound to come back feeling like all your worries have melted away. It's the best thing you can do for yourself. You deserve it.