You feel refreshed and renewed, ready to take on the world. Maybe you had a shower, a bath or spent time at the beach. One thing holds true: spending time in or near water can alter our perception – for the better.
Interestingly, Victorian doctors used to prescribe “sea air” to some patients. But how does spending time near water translate in our modern world?
In this article, we’ll explore how to step into the blue mind state to induce calm, 8 easy ways to reconnect with water, “blue mind” vs “red mind” and the current science that explores how water bodies impact our health.
The Health Benefits of Being Near Water
Poets, writers, painters and sailors have often explained the calming effects of being near the sea. The simple act of gazing out to the ocean induces a meditative state.
A study published by the University of Exeter found that sounds of the ocean can reduce stress and induce feelings of calmness. In an attempt to reconnect to the ocean from any location, a digital seashell app was produced for Mental Health Awareness Week (14 –20 May) by the Blue Health Initiative.
The Blue Health 2020 initiative is a European research organisation that analyses the effect that large bodies of water have on our health and wellbeing.
They’re currently studying how exposure to the sea impacts health, in an attempt to track down specific factors that make water so soothing.
Both green space and living close to the coast have been found to improve health and wellbeing according to an English study.
What is “Blue Mind” Science vs “Red Mind” Science?
The state of being in a blue mind is referred to as being in a state of happiness and satisfaction in the present moment.
When we are near or under water, we drift off into this state. Which is a welcome contrast to the “red mind” which is the over-stimulated, anxious, busy, and worried norm of normal modern life.
What are the Health Benefits of Seas, Rivers and Lakes?
Water covers 70% of the earth, 73% of our brain and heart are water and over 70% of our bodies are made up of water.
Water is the elixir of life; without it, there would be no life on this planet.
Humans have evolved to respond and adapt to the surrounding environment, especially nature. There’s a deep-rooted biological connection that can be felt when we are in, or near a large body of water. But can this feeling be backed up with cold, hard science?
Rivers and lakes provide easy access to water in urban areas, allowing people who are living in “red mind” zones to unplug and reconnect with nature. Sadly, 90% of young adults are addicted to technology according to one American Psychological Association Report.
Pro Tip: To counter the stress produced by living intertwined with technology, we can bathe, have a shower, swim or visit lakes, rivers, waterfalls or fountains.
Why Lakes Are Important For Health
There’s no getting around it: spending too much time indoors, and consuming endless amounts of data from your devices, dulls your mind.
Visiting lakes and spending time in nature, on the other hand, flips the switch. From a “red mind” state to a “blue mind” state.
Pro tip: You’ll feel enhanced focus and a lifted mood by visiting open green spaces and large bodies of water like lakes.
What are the Advantages of Living Near a River?
Living near a river gives you instant access to nature. If you don’t live near to a river, lake or ocean, don’t fret. Science has shown that simply staring at images of lakes, oceans or large green expanses induce a feeling of calm.
One study published by the University of Exeter, led by Michael Depledge and environmental psychologist Mat White, looked at how we respond to images of lakes and rivers.
They were building on the groundbreaking work of Roger Ulrich in exploring how green space impacts health.
Depledge explained: “Images with green space received a positive response, as Ulrich has found. But images with both green and blue got the most favourable response of all.”
Take a Mini-Vacation (in Your Own Home)
Having a bath or a shower is a great way to immerse yourself in water. Instantly relieving the worries of the day.
When showering, your senses are soothed. There are no other inputs; all you smell, feel and hear is water. This offers your body a chance to unwind and become one with the elixir of life.
You can further the health benefits by adding magnesium or Epsom salts to your bathwater.
Pro tip: To make sure the water you’re using is clean, why not install a water purifier in your shower? It’s easy to do and will take all of the nasties out of your shower water.
Let Water Be Your Teacher (Flow Like Water)
Did you know that Albert Einstein famously had his best ideas when sailing?
When his mind was calm and he was floating on the sea, Einstein was one with nature and could easily comprehend the principles of physics.
Abraham Loeb, chair of the astronomy department at Harvard University, has also confessed that his best ideas come to him when he’s in the shower.
Coincidence? Perhaps. But maybe not.
The following quote from Bruce Lee explains how flowing like water can help you live better:
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee
The Sea and Air Put Life in Perspective
Vast areas of green space, sea and air are all free resources that do not discriminate. They are available to everyone equally. They help put our life into perspective.
Somehow big problems don’t seem so troublesome after spending time by the sea or immersed in water. Encounters with the vastness of the universe promote feelings of awe and oneness with all beings.
9 Easy Ways to Reconnect with Water (The Elixir of Life)
To take advantage of the many health benefits that water can deliver, you don’t need to go far. Here are nine easy ways that you can reconnect with the magic of water today:
- Visit large water bodies like rivers, the sea, lakes or fountains
- Take a shower
- Have a bath
- Go sailing or take up water sports
- Swim in nature
- Look at images of the ocean
- Listen to sounds of the ocean
- Install a water feature in your home
- Drink 8 glasses of purified water every day
The Bottom Line
There’s no doubt about it: water is the first and best tool to boost health. Without it, there can be no life on earth. The simple act of looking out to sea, or looking at paintings of lakes, promotes a feeling of calm and serenity.
If you want to get more involved, you can take up water sports, have a bath or go for a swim in nature. If you’re looking for one thing that can shift your mental and physical health freely and easily, welcome more experiences with water into your life.
Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.
Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.
Vast areas of green space, sea and air are available to everyone. They help put our life into perspective. #Nature #Health