By: Katie Verburg
Katie Verburg has a degree in Exercise Physiology and Holistic Health, is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, as well as a Certified Health Coach, and has been in the fitness industry for a decade. Here, she writes about the benefits of being near water.
Imagine the turquoise waters of the south, the calm and easy breeze and the cluster of boats out in the distance. We’ve all seen it before whether it be in person, in a magazine spread or on television. We can picture that paradise in our minds and often, families travel across the country to be near it for vacation time. Not only is taking a picturesque holiday ideal for many reasons, there is an important benefit that often gets overlooked: blue mind.
Scientists today are acknowledging the positive cognitive and physical effects being near water has on individuals. As it turns out, being near the water leads to an improved sense of physical health and well-being, as well as introduces a meditative state that makes individuals happier, healthier, calmer and more creative. The type of water to reap these benefits doesn’t have to be specific – it can be a river, lake, pool or the ocean.
In 2014, Wallace Nichols wrote a bestselling book titled Blue Mind, where he explains why humans are naturally drawn to blue space. Blue Mind also explains how “water is considered to be the elixir and source of life for all. It covers more than 70% of the earth’s surface, makes up nearly 70% of our bodies and constitutes over 70% of our heart and brains.” Nichols believes that simply the sight and sound of water can induce a flood of neurochemicals that promote wellness, increased blood flow to the heart, and induce relaxation.
Aside from these recent discoveries of being in, on or near the water, here are a few other scientific benefits:
Overwhelming feelings like stress are associated with red state and are often caused by overworking, increased urbanization and constant contact with technology. The opposite? Blue state. Spending time in and by the oceans, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and fountains. Even showers can counter that red state, while bringing relaxation and emotional ease to the mind.
If you’re like many and aren’t lucky enough to be close in distance to any types of water – even looking at an image of water can make help you feel calmer. Studies show that pictures with greenery also had a similar effect on individuals. Both types of images can create a positive reaction within the mind.
We now know that scientists have connected blue waters to feeling calm and content, and with that comes a sense of gratitude and peace. Almost as if people can take a step back and finally just be present with their natural surroundings of the water. Science also proves that once an individual has spent time near water, they’re more relaxed, open, and are happier as the day continues on.
If you’re someone who could use a change in his or her daily routine, try finding a calming space filled with water to step away to. Not everyone is lucky enough to live near the water, so consider purchasing a picture for the living room, a small fountain for the back patio, or listening to the soothing sounds of the rain the next time you find some quiet time for yourself.