I am lucky enough to live in Southwest Florida near the beach. This morning instead of walking around my neighborhood (my usual routine) I decided to go down to the beach and walk there. Despite the wind, it was absolutely beautiful, even if it was a chilly 66 degrees. The thing that affected me the most, however, was the peaceful, calm feeling I had from just being near the water.
Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.W. H. Auden
It turns out that science has an explanation of why we feel more relaxed by looking at water. Seeing or hearing the soothing sounds of moving water triggers a response in our brains that induces a surge of chemicals. These chemicals increase blood flow to the brain and heart, which induces relaxation.
Marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols wrote a book on the subject of water and its healing powers called 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. While this title is very long, it does describe the advantages of making sure water is part of our surroundings.
The Benefits of Being Around Water:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Increasing happiness
- Lowering our heart rate
- It Promotes a Meditative State
- Water Helps with Creativity
- It Improves Your Fitness Efforts
“Water links us to our neighbor in a way more profound and complex than any other.”John Thorson
Luckily, we do not need to live near the beach to get these advantages. If you can spend time near a lake or a pool, you will also get these rewards. Most people already know that after a bath or shower we are much more calm and relaxed.
It may not be outwardly evident, but the stressors we are all facing daily have an effect on us physically. The pandemic, quarantine, political hostility, and attacks on our democracy have all magnified this tension. Add to that any personal challenges that each of us face, and it is obvious that we need to find peace and calm every day. Water will do that for you.
If you make some time to sit in silence looking at water, you will experience the serenity. If possible, listen to a waterfall for an added benefit. Take advantage of the resource that covers almost three quarters of our planet. You won’t regret it if you do.
“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.”E.E. Cummings