Why Being Near Water Could Be the Key to Happiness, According to Research
"Blue mind" is a real phenomenon.
Even daydreaming about traveling off to a faraway island, where the sand is warm, and the water is crystal-clear blue can give people a sense of calm. So, this should make it no surprise that actually sitting next to a pristine body of water actually does come with some pretty fantastic well-being benefits.
According to best-selling author and marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, merely being close to a body of water, be it sea, river, lake, or ocean, promotes mental health and happiness. And he wrote all about it in his book, Blue Mind.
“The term ‘blue mind’ describes the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on or under water,” Nichols told USA Today in 2017. “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.”
As Nichols noted, research proves his theory that being near water can help us all achieve “an elevated and sustained happiness.”
That elevated level of happiness happens because, according to Nichols, water helps in “lowering stress and anxiety, increasing an overall sense of well-being and happiness, a lower heart and breathing rate, and safe, better workouts. Aquatic therapists are increasingly looking to the water to help treat and manage PTSD, addiction, anxiety disorders, autism and more.”
Perhaps this is why we are all willing to pay more for a house along the water, or a room with an ocean view.
Moreover, being near water can increase our creativity, including our conversational abilities. But, being near water doesn’t only help us during our waking hours. It can help us in our sleep, too.
“There is some research that says people may sleep better when they are adjacent to nature,” W. Christopher Winter, M.D., author of The Sleep Solution, told Conde Nast Traveler. “No wonder sleep machines always feature the sounds of rain, the ocean, or a flowing river.”
And this gift of Mother Nature’s to soothe us all with a simple drop of water is precisely why Nichols believes it’s so important to protect this precious gift.