You know by now that I love water, but it turns out your brain inherently does too.
That’s the premise of Wallace J. Nichols, the 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 (how’s that for a title?). The books explores our innate attraction and affection for water .
Mr. Nichols says that, “According to the U.S. Geological Survey, each person in the United States uses eighty to one hundred gallons of water every day for what we consider our ‘basic needs.’”
This need for water, along with studying the way water shapes our decision-making and emotions, led Nichols to name this connection the “Blue Mind”, a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. It is inspired by water and elements associated with water, from the color blue to the words we use to describe the sensations associated with immersion.
Here are my four top takeaways from Mr. Nichol’s findings:
1) We know instinctively that being by water makes us healthier, happier, reduces stress, and brings us peace.
2) Water can give us energy, whether it’s hydraulic power, hydration, the tonic effect of cold water splashed on the face, or the mental refreshment that comes from the gentle, rhythmic sensation of hearing waves lapping a shore. Immersion in warm water has been used for millennia to restore the body as well as the mind.
3) Like a child depends upon its mother, humans have always depended upon nature for our survival. And just as we intuitively love our mothers, we are linked to nature physically, cognitively, and emotionally.
4) The study of our love for water has significant, real-world applications—for health, travel, real estate, creativity, childhood development, urban planning, the treatment of addiction and trauma, conservation, business, politics, religion, architecture, and more.
So this summer, when you’re spending some time by the pool, the ocean, or a lake, remember that it’s not just relaxation…it’s a reconnection. Your brain will thank you for it.