For centuries, people have been drawn to the ocean, rivers, and lakes for relaxation, recreation, and rejuvenation. Water has a calming effect on the human mind and body, and it is a source of inspiration, creativity, and spiritual renewal. Blue Mind is a term coined by marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols to describe the beneficial effects of being near, in, on, or under water on human health and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of Blue Mind and its implications for our lives.
What is Blue Mind?
Blue Mind is a state of mind that is characterized by calmness, peacefulness, and a sense of well-being that is induced by water. It is a term that was coined by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist and author of the book "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." According to Nichols, Blue Mind is a "mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment."
Blue Mind is not just a psychological state; it is also a physiological one. Being in or near water has been shown to have a range of health benefits, including reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, improving immune function, and boosting the production of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. Water also provides a natural environment for exercise, which is essential for maintaining physical and mental health.
The Science of Blue Mind
The science of Blue Mind is still in its early stages, but there is growing evidence to support the idea that being near, in, on, or under water has a positive effect on human health and well-being. One study conducted by the University of Exeter in the UK found that people who live closer to the coast are more likely to have good mental health than those who live further inland. Another study published in the journal Health & Place found that people who live near water have lower levels of psychological distress and higher levels of life satisfaction than those who do not.
Research has also shown that exposure to blue spaces, such as oceans, lakes, and rivers, can improve cognitive function and creativity. A study conducted by the University of Utah found that people who spent time in nature, including near bodies of water, performed better on a creativity test than those who did not. Another study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that people who looked at pictures of natural scenes, including water, showed improved cognitive performance and attention span.
Read this Next: What Is Red Mind? Beware Of The Risks Of Chronic Stress & Burnout
The Benefits of Blue Mind
The benefits of Blue Mind are many and varied. Here are some of the ways that being near, in, on, or under water can improve your health and well-being:
- Reducing stress and anxiety: Water has a calming effect on the mind and body, and being near it can help to reduce stress and anxiety. The sound of water, such as waves crashing on the shore or a babbling brook, has been shown to have a therapeutic effect on the brain.
- Improving physical health: Water provides a natural environment for exercise, which is essential for maintaining physical health. Swimming, kayaking, and other water-based activities can help to improve cardiovascular health, build strength and endurance, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
- Enhancing mental health: Being in or near water can have a positive effect on mental health. Studies have shown that exposure to blue spaces can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
- Boosting creativity: Water has been shown to improve cognitive function and creativity. Whether it's the sound of waves crashing on the shore or the sight of a river flowing through a forest, being near water can stimulate the imagination and spark new ideas.
- Promoting social connection: Water-based activities such as surfing, sailing, and kayaking can be social activities that bring people together. Being part of a community of people who share a love of water can provide a sense of belonging and social support.
- Providing a sense of awe and wonder: Water is a powerful and awe-inspiring force of nature. Whether it's the vastness of the ocean or the majesty of a waterfall, being in the presence of water can elicit feelings of wonder and awe that can be transformative.
Incorporating Blue Mind into Your Life
Incorporating Blue Mind into your life can be as simple as taking a walk along the beach, going for a swim in a lake, or spending time kayaking on a river. Here are some tips for incorporating Blue Mind into your life:
- Take advantage of water-based activities: Whether it's swimming, kayaking, or simply walking along the beach, take advantage of the many water-based activities that are available.
- Spend time in nature: Spending time in nature, whether it's near water or not, has been shown to have a range of health benefits. Try to spend time in nature on a regular basis to improve your overall well-being.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is a powerful tool for reducing stress and improving well-being. Try to be present in the moment and focus on your surroundings when you are near water.
- Surround yourself with blue: Surrounding yourself with the color blue, whether it's through clothing, home decor, or other accessories, can help to promote a sense of calm and well-being.
- Create a water feature: If you don't live near water, consider creating a water feature in your backyard or home. A small fountain or aquarium can provide the soothing sound of water and help to promote a sense of calm.
- Practice flotation therapy: Floating in a small pool of epsom salt water in a pitch black environment can have a clinically significant impact on your physical and mental health.
Read this Next: The Benefits of Flotation Therapy
Blue Mind is a concept that highlights the healing power of water on human health and well-being. Whether it's the calming sound of waves crashing on the shore or the exhilaration of surfing a big wave, being near water can provide a range of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. By incorporating Blue Mind into your life, you can improve your overall well-being and find a greater sense of peace and contentment. So the next time you have the opportunity to spend time near water, take advantage of it and see how it makes you feel.
Shop our signature Healing Wave Collection to help raise awareness about the scientifically proven healing effects of the ocean.
- Nichols, W. (2014). 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. Back Bay Books.
- White, M. P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J., Wheeler, B. W., Hartig, T., Warber, S. L., ... & Depledge, M. H. (2019). Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1-11.
- Thompson Coon, J., Boddy, K., Stein, K., Whear, R., Barton, J., & Depledge, M. H. (2011). Does participating in physical activity in outdoor natural environments have a greater effect on physical and mental wellbeing than physical activity indoors? A systematic review. Environmental Science & Technology, 45(5), 1761-1772.
- Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1207-1212.
- Rupprecht, C. D., Byrne, J. A., & Ueda, Y. (2015). A meta-analysis of the impact of environmental factors on sport and physical activity participation in adults. Health & Place, 34, 91-99.
- Joye, Y., & Bolderdijk, J. W. (2015). An exploratory study into the effects of extraordinary nature on emotions, mood, and prosociality. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1577.
Back to The Blue Ocean Lifestyle Blog