What is it about the water that attracts us? Why do we build swimming pools in our yard, migrate to beaches in the summer, and generally find ourselves drawn to this fundamental element? Maybe it’s because our relationship with water is an essential component to who we are as humans.
Dr. Wallace J Nichols, author of 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, has spent his life as a marine biologist studying how humans are connected to the water. He believes that bodies of water, such as oceans, lakes, rivers, and even swimming pools, are extremely beneficial to our well being.
Seems fair enough- right? Almost everyone loves the ocean… but, the closer we look, the more Nichols research becomes profound.
Society, Nichols says, promotes a state he calls “red mind”. Red mind is a state overrun by chronic anxiety and fear. In Blue Mind, Nichols explains how scientists relate this “chronic anxiety” to toxic stress. Toxic stress kills neurons, and dying neurons puts a serious damper on your creative spark. The world looks a little less wondrous, and a lot more intimidating.
But, have no fear! Nichols says that we can find the remedy through our connection with water. This is how we promote “blue mind”, a state of calmness and connectedness.
The ocean itself is a powerful presence to experience; the vastness of an endless blue horizon brings an overpowering sense of calmness to our mind. Our problems, frustrations, anxiety and distress suddenly begin to fade away. It puts our world into perspective. It makes us feel small- and although we feel small, we are connected to our planet, our people, and most importantly, ourselves.
Getting into the water can be even more beneficial; swimming, surfing, or floating in any body of water produces physiological affects that alter the way we feel and perceive the world around us. The sense of calmness one experiences by simply floating in a body of water can not only be perceived in the mind, but measured by our physical wellness. Plus, there is nothing a good surf can’t remedy.
What if you live hundreds of miles from the coast? No worries! Your connection to water can be nurtured in other ways that are equally as beneficial. Walking along a small creek, finding an epic waterfall, or fishing on a lake are all great ways to connect to the healing properties of water.
Spiritual and creative traditions have harnessed the symbolic power of water for centuries. Just envisioning the slow but steady flow of a river, or the changing tides of an ocean can produce a sense of calmness. A piece of jewelry can also serve as a reminder to harness your “blue mind”. A Charming Shark bracelet is a good way to connect with the ocean no matter where you are!
Blue mind is something we can all strive for that will better our lives, relationships, and sense of self. No matter how our day has unfolded before us, some time spent near the water is bound to bring us some clarity of mind.
Written by: AJ Letterel