If there is one thing that all of us recognize about our lives, it’s the fact that they tend to be filled with far too many things. Some of those things that we fill our lives with may be interesting and enjoyable but all too often, it has to do with some type of pressure that just seems to weigh us down. Sometimes, we just need to get away from it all and as it turns out, getting away from it all may not be as difficult as you thought.
Have you ever spent some time around water and realized just how good it made you feel? There seems to be something pleasant and peaceful about being near water, both for your mind and your body. As it turns out, those feelings that we have are actually backed up by scientists. In 2010, they did some studies and showed that people loved being around water. They will pay more to see the water from a hotel room and if they are taking a vacation around the water, they tended to have a much better time.
This leads to some questions. Does it have to be a natural body of water or can it be a man-made pool? Is any type of water suitable for relaxing?
The Journal of Environmental Psychology published the results of the study. It seems that both natural and built-in scenes associated with water can give somebody a pleasant and positive experience. They also offer “higher perceived restorativeness than those without water.”
People who took advantage of an artificial environment tended to enjoy it just as much as a natural space.
Preferences were researched by those conducting the study. They would show people pictures containing water and ask questions about how attractive it was. They also wanted to know if they would be willing to pay for a hotel room with a view of the water and the perceptions of how they felt after they looked at the pictures.
A theory known as ‘blue mind’ was enhanced with this research. Wallace J Nichols is a marine biologist who wrote a book by that name. He said that living near water promotes happiness and good mental health.
Nichols also claims that when we are around water, we tend to be in a ‘meditative state’. It’s a great way to counteract the overstimulation we face every day.
“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.”
The book also suggests that there are many reasons why people spend more on homes located near the water or that they go on vacation at places that are near the water.
According to Nicholas:
“Research has shown that being near, in, on or under water can provide a long list of benefits for our mind and body, including lowering stress and anxiety, increasing an overall sense of well-being and happiness, a lower heart and breathing rate, and safe, better workouts.”
For those who would like additional proof, it may even help with the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder or couples therapy.
“Aquatic therapists are increasingly looking to the water to help treat and manage PTSD, addiction, anxiety disorders, autism and more. We’ve found that being near water boosts creativity, can enhance the quality of conversations and provides a backdrop to important parts of living — like play, romance, and grieving. All of this depends on these waters being safe, clean and healthy, of course.”
Most of us also recognize that being at a waterpark with a lot of screaming kids and stress isn’t the same as spending an evening looking out over a peaceful lake.
Nichols isn’t suggesting that you spend all of your money to go to an ocean resort. He just feels that spending more time around the water can be beneficial.
“I just want it to be common knowledge that sitting by the water quietly is really good for you. And I want parents and teachers to teach our young people that … and tell them if you are having a bad day, get to the water and you will feel much better.”
You don’t even have to pay for a vacation. Just go to a body of water near you.
This may even save you money because you don’t have to go to an expensive spa. Just grab a good book and head for the beach. You might also try disconnecting from your phone on occasion.
As Nicholas explained, “Blue mind is not achieved while you are on Instagram … ever. It’s impossible.”