What’s the Deal with Water?
We hear all the time that there are countless benefits associated with living and working near bodies of water, but what is the big fuss about? Clearly there is something going on if millions of people across the country are willing to pay a premium to buy a lakehouse, beach house, or house on the river, but what causes this? Is there a reason why America’s retirees flock to quiet coastal towns other than the warm weather and scenic panoramas?
Stress relief, an enhanced immune system, and the “Blue Mind” effect are just a few of the reasons that it could be beneficial to live, work, and retire near water. Today we will dive into these benefits, and how you can reap some of the benefits of working near water without having to find an office on the ocean.
Stress Relief from Being By the Water
When you go to a spa or turn on a relaxing meditation playlist, one of the most common sounds that will be included is the sounds of a babbling brook, lapping waves of the ocean on the beach, or rain falling and running down the window. The reason is because of the naturally hypnotic nature that water has on the human brain.
When your mind hears the calm and droning sound of waves repeatedly crashing on the beach, your brain naturally slows down to sync up with the rhythm of nature. When you are living and working around this natural pacer for your brain, you naturally deal with stress and anxiety better. Think about the way you feel after laying out on the beach on vacation for a week, and how much less stressful your job and day to day life feel when you get back to reality. Living and working by the beach have a similar effect, and this can even be emulated if you do not live near the ocean as well with fountains, aquariums, pools, and other water features.
Clean Air, Clean Living
Not only is the air around water naturally cleaner due to the fact that there are immense amounts of vegetation in most bodies of water pumping out large quantities of fresh oxygen into the atmosphere, but the ocean itself negatively ionizes the air around it which is potentially beneficial to your health and can help with fighting free radicals that are believed to contribute to cancer and have other negative impacts on your health.
In the grand scheme of things, sometimes it can require one to make a drastic move if they want to live by the water. Although the ocean is massive and takes up the most space, there are plenty of other options as well including rivers, creeks, springs, streams, lakes and ponds across the country. Moving away from the urban sprawl and suburbia to be nearer water has countless impacts on your health simply due to the fact that your surroundings are changing. Moving from downtown or the suburbs to the mountains of Idaho or Wyoming into a small home next to a babbling brook is going to have numerous benefits simply due to the reduction in stress, pollution, and busy-ness experienced by city-dwellers.
The serenity of being surrounded by nature, waking up to the sound of water flowing each morning, and living a simple life brings us as humans back to a simpler way of living that brings peace to our minds and bodies. That being said, it is not always the most viable option (or viable at all for most Americans), and is but a dream to one day be fulfilled in retirement or on vacations. Hence, the strong desire for vacations to tropical locales, and why so many people around the world naturally feel drawn to the world’s warm sugar sand beaches and crystal blue waters to disconnect from the stress of their busy lives.
Blue Mind Theory
Everything we have discussed up until this point builds nicely into the next fascinating subject, and that is the Blue Mind Theory. The Blue Mind Theory at its core supposes that being in, on, near, or underwater lowers the human body’s cortisol levels (the stress hormone), reduces our heart rate, and decreases our breathing rate -- putting us into an almost unintentional meditative state simply by being exposed to it.
This would explain much of what we have talked about, and is now a leading scientific theory that is being taught across the globe. If scientists are in agreeance for the most part of the benefits of being in, under, and around water but you absolutely cannot move nearer the ocean, what are some things that you can do in order to benefit from water wherever you live and work?
● Make a splash: taking a swim immerses your entire body in water and triggers your brain to release endorphins and ease stress and pain.
● Take a soak: don’t have a pool? Light some candles and lay back in your bathtub at the end of a long day and enjoy the effects it has on your mood and anxiety. Even a quick soak or shower at the end of a day can lead to improved and deeper sleep, reduced tension in the musculoskeletal system, and lower blood cortisol levels (aka, less stress hormone circulating through your system).
● Get some pet fish! Having an aquarium or aquascape (think underwater garden in a fish tank) in your work space reduces blood pressure and heart rate. The sound of the water being filtered and splashing back into the tank, the sight of colorful fish darting about, and green vegetation gently swaying back and forth in the gentle current bring peace of mind and can help you to relax if you are stressed.
If you are unable to work or live near water but still want to enjoy all of the benefits that being around it has on your health and happiness, be sure to implement some of these above tips and get yourself into a Blue Mind state. To sum it up, living and working near water has stress relieving properties, boosts your immune system through the negatively ionized and fresh air, and is known for its “Blue Mind” properties studied by scientists. Even though everyone cannot live by the water, that does not mean that everyone has to miss out on these great benefits.